Media Release: Worlds’ largest private-sector coal miner dumped by Norway’s largest pension fund

Media Release, December 2, 2014, Greenpeace Australia Pacific 

December 2, 2014, Sydney: Norway’s largest pension fund manager, KLP, announced it will dump investments in 27 coal companies overnight, including shares in Peabody Energy Corp – the world’s largest private-sector coal company with extensive coal-mining interests in Australia. KLP are divesting due to concerns about climate change.

​KLP described their decision as “the first step in an effort to purge our investments of coal … The next step now is to press companies to move in a more climate-friendly direction and reduce their carbon emissions. Companies with substantial coal-based operations which prove unwilling or unable to change, will run the risk of being excluded,” said Jeanett Bergan, Head of Responsible Investments at KLP.

“KLP’s new investment rules send a clear message to coal companies around the world,” said Senior Climate Campaigner, Nic Clyde. “The age of coal is coming to an end. Smart investors won’t waste their money on the doomed coal industry because it’s clear the future is in clean, renewable energy.”

“KLP now excludes companies which derive 50 per cent or more of their revenues from coal-based business activities, instead investing NOK 500 million (approximately AUD $84M) in renewable energy. This will exclude some of the worst performers on the ASX, including Whitehaven Coal, Cockatoo Coal, Yancoal and New Hope Group.”

The decision is another blow for the Australian coal industry, already struggling with record low coal prices and new investment policies by Australian super funds that similarly exclude coal.

KLP joined a growing list of investors heeding the call of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said recently: “I have been urging companies like pension funds or insurance companies to reduce their investments in coal and a fossil-fuel based economy to move to renewable sources of energy.”

“Tony Abbott needs a long cold shower if he thinks the future is in coal. Norway’s biggest pension fund is dumping coal while Prime Minister Abbott is betting the house on it,” said Nic Clyde.

“We should be diversifying Australia’s economy and pumping money into new, clean industries. We need to increase the Renewable Energy Target and stop throwing good money after bad by subsidising the coal industry.”

KLP has already divested from controversial pure-play coal miner Whitehaven Coal (WHC).

“KLP’s new policy means they won’t ever buy back into Whitehaven Coal” said Mr Clyde. “This decision to exit is already looking pretty clever, given Whitehaven Coal shares are down 15% in the last month alone, down 22% in the last year and down 70% in the last five years.”

Peabody’s share price – down more than 80% over the last four years – mirrors ASX-listed pure-play coal companies like Whitehaven.