The research includes data on the institutional investors which hold bonds and shares of the selected companies (see Company Scope further below).
The research is focused on institutional investors. Institutional investors are companies or organisations that buy, sell and manage stocks and bonds on behalf of clients or members, such as commercial banks, hedge funds, and pension funds. Non-financial corporate, government and individual shareholders, as well as development banks, are not included in the scope of this research.
Investments have been aggregated on group level. Hence, for example asset manager Amundi, from France, is aggregated with its parent bank Crédit Agricole.
Asset managers’ third-party investments are included in the scope of this research.
The research focuses on two types of securities: shares and bonds.
Shares are units of equity ownership in a company. They can be traded by shareholders on stock exchanges. Issuing shares on the stock exchange gives a company the opportunity to increase its equity by attracting a large number of new shareholders or increase the equity from its existing shareholders.
When working with shareholding data, it is important to keep in mind that shares can be bought and sold on the stock exchange from one moment to the next. Financial databases keep track of shareholdings through snapshots, or filings. This means that when a particular shareholding is recorded in the financial database, the actual holding, or a portion of it, might have been sold, or more shares purchased. Share prices may also vary from one moment to the next.
Coverage of shareholding data can be considered almost complete.
A bond is essentially a small piece of a large loan that can be bought and traded separately. Bondholders are therefore creditors of a company. The buyer of each bond is entitled to repayment after a certain number of years, and to a certain interest during each of these years. Like shares, bonds can be traded on the stock exchange. The main difference between owning shares and bonds is that owners of a bond are not co-owners of the issuing company.
Bonds which are categorized as green bonds according to the database Refinitiv are excluded from analysis. Green bonds should finance projects that contribute positively to the environment or the climate. However, it should be noted that the ‘green finance’ label is highly contested, especially when it comes to companies also involved in the fossil fuel industry.
Bondholding coverage is not as good as shareholding coverage as some investors don’t (need to) disclose their portfolio and/or it is not covered by the databases used. Coverage is estimated to be between 20-30%.
Financial data is drawn from the databases Refinitiv and EMAXX. The number and values of bonds and shares held by individual financial institutions are reported here. For a selection of pension funds, data was collected from the pension fund disclosure. The selection was made based on the relative size of the fund, as well as availability of data.
Data is at the most recent filing date (January 2023). This includes filing dates from as early as 2020 that have not been updated/adjusted by the investor and/or the financial database. This may be due to differences in regulatory requirements, for example, and may also indicate that there is no change in position, i.e., the number of shares held has not changed. Please note that investments might have changed since the data was retrieved.
If the value of an investment is unknown (e.g., some pension funds may only report which companies they invest in but not how much they invest in these), the investment value is shown as “-” or “n.d.”.
The scope of the financial research included all companies which appear on Urgewald’s Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) and all upstream companies of the Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL). The GCEL and GOGEL are updated annually. This finance research is based on the 2022 version of the GCEL and GOGEL. Only deals for subsidiaries or parent companies of the firms listed on the GCEL / GOGEL are in the scope of the financial analysis.
Companies on the GCEL represent 90% of the world’s thermal coal production and the world’s coal-fired capacity. GCEL offers statistics on over 1000 parent companies and over 1800 subsidiaries operating along the thermal coal value chain (coal exploration, processing, trading, transport & logistics, equipment manufacturing, mining, power production, etc.). It does not cover coal used for cement or steel production. Metrics used in our company profiles are based on company reportings and NGO information and mainly refer to 2021. You can read the detailed GCEL methodology here.
Of the 1064 companies on GCEL 2022, over 300 appear in our financial data. Together, the companies for which financial data was found are responsible for 60-70% of installed coal power capacity (in MW), coal production (in million metric tons) and coal power expansion plans (in MW).
Oil and Gas Companies
The GOGEL lists over 900 oil and gas companies operating in the upstream and/or midstream sector. The database covers 95% of oil & gas production, 97% of short-term upstream expansion, and 94% of capital expenditure on oil & gas exploration. You can read more about the GOGEL data here. For this financial research, only upstream companies (i.e., those active in exploration and oil and gas production) were included in the company scope.
Of the 685 upstream companies listed on the GOGEL 2022, over 250 appear in our financial data. The companies for which financial data was found represent over 70% of hydrocarbon production (in million barrels of oil equivalent, mmboe), short-term expansion (in mmboe), as well as exploration capital expenditure (in million USD).
Reasons why financial data is not available for all companies are manifold, e.g., national companies are not publicly traded, hence there is no shareholding data. Some ownership forms may dominate in certain sectors and are more prominent in some countries.
We acknowledge that shares in some Russian companies are currently not tradeable and investors might have written off respective holdings. This might be the case for Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Norilsk Nickel, Novatek, Rosneft, Severstal, Surgutneftegas, Tatneft, or others.
Note that some companies appear both on the GCEL and the GOGEL. This has some implications for the financial data:
• Where different parts of the same company are listed on both GCEL and GOGEL (e.g., GCEL lists the parent company but GOGEL only a specific subsidiary or vice versa), the financing is listed under the name of the higher. The matching is done based on the GCEL/GOGEL IDs.
• Where financing could be attributed to a subsidiary only listed on GCEL or only on GOGEL, the financing is attributed only to that list, even on aggregate parent level. This is why a company which is listed on both GCEL and GOGEL will have different investment values if data is disaggregated by GCEL/GOGEL.
• Hence, if data is presented separately for GCEL / GOGEL companies, the investment values cannot be tallied up as this would double-count some deals.
Six companies on the GCEL have credible coal exit plans and five were taken out of the scope of this research: EDP Espana, Synergy, NiSource, Platte River PA, and BHP Billiton. Origin Energy stays in scope for its gas business.
Since publications, various corrections to the data were made. The most recent update was made on 8 August 2023.
The regional distribution is based on the “Standard country or area codes for statistical use (M49)” list issued by UN Statistics Division with some minor amendments. The African continent is further broken down based on the regional definition of the African Union.
Who conducted this research?
The financial research was conducted by Profundo, a not-for-profit research institute based in the Netherlands. The compilation and the analysis of the data were done by urgewald. Financing of fossil fuel companies can be found in the report Banking on Climate Chaos, released by a coalition of NGOs, led by Rainforest Action Network and co-published by urgewald. Further analysis of listed financial institutions’ coal and oil & gas policies can be found in the Coal Policy Tool and the Oil and Gas Policy Tracker by the NGO Reclaim Finance.
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