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6 major financial institutions join alliance to shift away from coal

Six financial institutions strengthened their commitment to ending coal power financing by signing on to the Powering Past Coal Alliance during Ceres' 2020 Investor Summit on Climate Risk.

With the addition of Aberdeen Standard Investments Inc., Desjardins Group, Legal & General Group PLC, RobecoSAM AG, Swiss Re AG and the Church of England Pension Board, the alliance now has 104 members. By signing on to the Powering Past Coal Finance Principles, the signatories, including banks, investors and insurers, pledged to encourage other entities in the business of finance or power generation to phase out the use of coal.

Financial institutions are increasingly pledging to back away from coal producers and those that use coal to produce power. Still, the alliance said there is a significant amount of private and public investment flowing into coal plants around the world.

"This latest boost to the membership of the PPCA sends a strong signal that momentum for the clean energy transition is strong, even in the face of a global pandemic," the group said in a June 2 news release. "As the world recovers from its impact, financial institutions can play an important role in ensuring that stimulus funding accelerates the coal-to-clean transition."

The Powering Past Coal Alliance also rolled out a new task force charged with promoting the shift of finance from coal to cleaner forms of energy in public debate and ensuring financial markets and policymakers are informed about phase-out plans and coal financing flows. The organization, launched by the United Kingdom and Canadian governments in 2017, said it aims to double financial institutions among its membership numbers before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021.

The group encourages members to commit to phasing out coal by 2030 in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and the European Union and by 2050 in the rest of the world.

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