Samsung financial units pledge to halt coal investments

Samsung financial units pledge to halt coal investments

Investors welcome move as conglomerate’s other subsidiaries vow to exit from fossil fuels

Samsung Group’s financial units have pledged to stop all investment in new coal projects, including via bonds or insurance underwriting, bowing to growing pressure to reduce their exposure to fossil fuels.

The assurance came in response to criticism of Samsung, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, for its hefty investments in fossil fuel projects.

Research suggested that Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, South Korea’s largest property and life insurers respectively, financed $14bn of such projects over the past decade and had about Won2.5tn ($2.2bn) in outstanding investments in coal projects.

The two companies said they had refrained from direct financing of new coal projects since June 2018. 

But on Thursday, the companies said they would no longer invest in corporate bonds aimed at building coal-fired power plants or underwrite insurance policies for such projects.