Financial institutions from around the world along with global pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations and university endowments have launched the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge, to encourage adoption of tobacco-free policies across lending, investment and insurance industries.
The ultimate aim is to reduce the millions of deaths due to tobacco-related illnesses, which number 7 million a year worldwide and are forecast to reach a total 1 billion this century, according to a press release.
One hundred twenty companies and institutions endorse the pledge including Natixis, BNP Paribas, AXA, Trilogy Global Advisors, ABN-AMRO, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the Irish Sovereign Investment Fund and the Bank of New Zealand.
In addition to encouraging adoption of tobacco-free policies in financial sectors, signatories to the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge commit to:
- Collaborate to raise awareness of the issue of lending to, investing in and insuring tobacco companies
- Encourage the alignment of lending, investment and insurance policies with the aims of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Consider forming or supporting partnerships within or across sectors to promote tobacco control initiatives.
- Help guide a widespread transition toward tobacco-free finance by supporting activities that build knowledge and understanding of tobacco-free finance
- Encourage more organizations to become signatories to or supporters of the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge.
Signatories and supporters also pledge to gather again in two years with an expanded global network.
In conjunction with the launch of the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge, MSCI, a leading provider of indexes and portfolio construction and risk management tools and services, introduced a suite of global stock indexes that exclude tobacco-related investments.