Fossil Fuel Investment Report
Over 6,500 institutional investors are holding bonds and shares in coal, oil and gas companies worth a total of US$ 3.07 trillion.Download our Briefing
The two biggest fossil investors, Vanguard and BlackRock, account for 17% of all institutional investments in fossil fuel companies.
Vanguard’s CEO, Tim Buckley, has made abundantly clear that he has no intention of putting restrictions on investments in climate-destructive business models. Consequently, Vanguard dropped out of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative in December 2022.
BlackRock is a member of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and claims to be a sustainability leader, but its fossil portfolio barely differs from Vanguard’s. Despite the fact that BlackRock adopted a first coal policy in 2020, it remains the world’s largest investor in companies developing new coal plants, mines or coal infrastructure.
50% of the total institutional investments in fossil fuel companies are held by just 23 investors, out of which 18 are US-based. Among these are global investment managers like State Street and Capital Group, holding companies like Berkshire Hathaway, pension providers such as TIAA, and asset management arms of banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The 5 non-US institutions among the world’s top 23 fossil investors are the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the public pension and investment funds of Japan, South Korea, Norway and Saudi Arabia. All of these are public entities, with a long-term mandate to secure the prosperity of their nation’s citizens.
The collective investments of US investors are making the USA the biggest investor country in fossil fuels. The world’s largest asset managers Vanguard and Blackrock alone are responsible for 27% of US investments. US is the biggest oil and gas producer globally, and it is also the world’s dominant capital market. Fossil fuel companies from all over the globe raise capital here for their expansion plans.
In Europe, the United Kingdom accounts for fossil fuel investments of almost US$ 100 billion. The largest UK investor in fossil fuels is the insurer Legal & General (US$ 18 billion). 2nd in the European country ranking is Norway (US$ 59 billion), thanks to its Government Pension Fund, whose fossil investments of US$ 41 billion make it Europe’s single largest institutional investor in fossil fuels. 3rd in the European country ranking is Switzerland (US$ 58 billion), whose largest fossil investor UBS already held fossil shares and bonds worth US$ 21 billion before it took over Crédit Suisse. Fourth in line is France (US$ 46 billion), with its huge asset manager Amundi. Owned by Crédit Agricole, it holds fossil shares and bonds in value of US$ 21 billion. Germany (US$ 46 billion) holds 5th place in Europe. Its largest fossil investor is Deutsche Bank with its asset manager DWS, which holds US$ 16 billion in coal, oil and gas companies.
Canada is the 3rd largest source of institutional investments in the fossil fuel industry and its largest fossil investor is the insurance provider Sun Life Financial. 4th in the worldwide ranking is Japan. Its Government Pension Investment Fund is the country’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies. The coal companies in its portfolio account for over 30% of the world’s annual thermal coal production.
16 investors are the top bond- and shareholders of the coal industry, as defined by the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL).
15 investors are the top bond- and shareholders in oil and gas producers, listed on the Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL).