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Candriam to divest coal, tobacco and chemical weapons companies

Candriam Investors Group is set to exclude investments in thermal coal, tobacco, and chemical, biological and white phosphorus weapons companies from its €113 billion ($131 billion) active, smart beta, indexed and alternative strategies by Dec. 31, a spokesman said.

The divestment relates to all of its assets under management invested in funds, indexed products and segregated mandates, a spokesman confirmed. However, "clients of segregated mandates can still refuse. (They) are being informed of the new policy, which we expect them to follow, unless they are faced with some legal or regulatory constraints" on divestment, he said.

One-third of Candriam's assets are invested in segregated mandates.

The exclusion of thermal coal is based on if companies have a direct and indirect exposure level of at least 10%, the firm said. Candriam will ban all companies launching new coal-based projects, while the exclusion of tobacco will target both producers and suppliers.

"Excluding coal and tobacco from our mainstream investments is part of our commitment and shows our ambition of being a sustainability leader. Coal is the most polluting energy source and the first stranded asset in an energy transition pathway, while the harmful effects of tobacco are increasingly exposed. We recognize the important role asset managers play in tackling major global issues such as health and climate," said Naim Abou-Jaoude, CEO of Candriam and chairman of New York Life Investment Management, in a news release. Candriam is an affiliate of New York Life Investment Management.