The French insurance group, Axa, has announced a decision that is bound to attract attention: the insurer has decided to withdraw from the tobacco sector, withdrawing its investments in companies operating in this sector. This decision takes the form of the sale of securities (shares and bonds) linked to the tobacco sector, for a total value of nearly €2 billion
Axa positions itself in relation to tobacco
Axa, a French group specialising in insurance, decided to take a clear position on tobacco, making a decision that would not go unnoticed. The insurer will thus sell all its tobacco-related assets for a value of nearly €2 billion. It should be noted that this is a new initiative that has been praised by many associations supporting tobacco control and sustainable investment.
Thomas Buberl, who will lead the group from September 2016, stressed that investments in this category are no longer relevant. Moreover, insofar as Axa ensures health, among other things, this positioning is quite understandable. In any case, Axa is the very first operator in its category to position itself in this way, openly withdrawing from the tobacco sector.
In concrete terms, all of the shares that Axa owns in companies operating in the tobacco sector will be sold. At the same time, the group will stop all investment in bonds issued by these same types of companies while reducing those it already holds.
An insurance group that is mobilizing
Not only does Axa proclaim its positions on various burning issues (notably smoking), but it also ensures that it mobilizes and acts accordingly. The insurer then aims to contribute to prevention while providing concrete support for the authorities’ efforts to combat tobacco use, a real scourge for society. Axa’s managers do not fail to highlight the costs that will be generated by this initiative. Nevertheless, the human aspect prevails. It should be noted that this is not the first time that Axa has taken a decision taking into account the human dimension. Indeed, the insurer had already recently announced its intention to withdraw all its investments in the coal sector, for an amount of nearly half a billion euros. Finally, the group has also made a commitment to triple its “green” investments over the next 5 years (by 2020).
Axa sets an example?
The decision taken by Axa can only be welcomed. Today, the question arises as to whether other insurers will follow suit and act in their turn. In any case, the news was a real bomb and attracted the interest of many entities. In any case, the actors in the fight against tobacco use and cancer are delighted. To be continued..
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