Norwegian firm Storebrand Asset Management said it is divesting some of the world’s largest fossil fuel firms including Exxon, Chevron, Rio Tinto, BASF, shedding $47m (€39.5m) of shareholdings in a blacklisting involving a total of 27 firms.

The $91bn division of the Storebrand financial group said it was adopting a “new enhanced climate policy” to speed up its work against climate change, citing firms’ climate lobbying practices as reason for more than half of the exclusions, with involvement in coal and tar sands extraction being the reason for the others.

Jan Erik Saugestad, Storebrand Asset Management chief executiveofficer, said: “The Exxons and Chevrons of the world are holding us back.”

Describing the fossil fuel portfolio purge as an initial move, he warned it did “not mean that BP, Shell, Equinor and other oil and gas majors can rest easy and continue with business as usual, even though they are performing relatively better than US oil majors.”

Saugestad said the world needed to move away from the use of oil and gas, without simply deflecting attention to carbon offsetting, capture and storage, adding that fossil fuel alternatives such as wind and solar power were really available.

Storebrand said its new climate policy involved the exclusion of companies that lobbied against the Paris Agreement and those that derived over 5% of revenues from coal or oil sands, as well as increasing capital flows into low-carbon, climate-resilient companies.   

“We expect that our peers will adopt new policies like this as part of a logical progression in global fossil fuel divestment,” said Saugestad.

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