Pulling out of the tobacco industry to protect current and future generations
"Pulling out of an industry that’s damaging to the health of the people of the world is another way of ‘Working every day in the interest of our customers and society’. That’s why Crédit Agricole S.A., along with its subsidiaries Amundi and Crédit Agricole Assurances, has signed the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge. Signing this pledge means we will no longer be investing in tobacco and are standing with all those committed to combating this scourge. Beyond our role as an economic agent, this is about acting in accordance with our human values: no parent wants their children to become smokers.”
Philippe Brassac, Chief Executive Officer, Crédit Agricole S.A.
Since the Second World War, smoking has killed 62 million people globally; according to research cited by the World Health Organization (WHO), it could kill another 100 million over the next 20 years. The scale of the smoking pandemic is unparalleled in history, with teenagers and young adults constituting the tobacco industry’s primary target audience. According to the WHO, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death.
It also contributes to poverty by diverting spending from essential items like food and housing to tobacco. Lastly, tobacco also has drastic consequences for the environment. On its own it contains around a hundred harmful substances that contaminate our water, air and soil. In addition to the damage caused by deforestation, carbon dioxide emissions and soil acidification, cigarette butts constitute the leading source of marine pollution.
It is therefore urgent that we protect current and future generations from the catastrophic health, social, environmental and economic consequences of this global scourge.
What is Tobacco-Free?
The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge (TFPP) is an initiative spearheaded by Tobacco Free Portfolios (TFP), an international NGO that aims to eradicate tobacco worldwide by encouraging investors from all countries to divest their assets in the tobacco industry.
Launched just 18 months ago, the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge already has 137 signatories made up of top-tier financial organisations spread across 22 countries with combined assets under management in excess of $10 trillion.
Pulling out of tobacco is in keeping with the Group’s transition approach
The Crédit Agricole S.A. group’s policy is aligned with the WHO’s recommendation to gradually pull out of the tobacco industry.
This commitment does not cover upstream or downstream activities: tobacco growers, tobacconists and other distributors of tobacco products fall outside the scope of the commitment, which is specifically defined as “companies that make finished tobacco products, regardless of the proportion of their total business such products represent”.
A number of Crédit Agricole S.A. subsidiaries are already on track:
• Crédit Agricole Assurances has had a policy of excluding investments in tobacco companies since early 2018.
• Amundi has a highly restrictive policy. Since October 2018, Amundi has been capping tobacco companies’ ESG ratings at E, on a scale from A to G (where companies rated G are excluded). This cap seriously penalises investment in such companies, which must be offset by investing in much more virtuous companies. Amundi’s policy applies to the whole of the tobacco sector including suppliers, cigarette manufacturers and retailers. Amundi recently decided to go one step further by excluding cigarette manufacturers from its actively managed open-ended funds.
• Crédit Agricole CIB has committed to stop financing cigarette manufacturers within the next three years.
The scale of the human and economic tragedy for which tobacco is responsible is considerable, but it is also preventable. The decision to pull out of this industry is a natural one for the Group, in keeping with its raison d’être.