Nykredit ends fossil fuel lending
As a financial mutual, the largest lender and one of the largest investors in Denmark – Nykredit now takes a tougher stance on companies involved in the exploration, extraction or production of fossil fuels.
“We are on track towards a future where energy comes mainly from solar, wind and other green sources. The world is moving away from fossil fuels. Nykredit is committed to helping drive this transition, all the while protecting our loan book and our customers’ investments from the inherent changes. This is why we are now – both as a lender and investor – adopting a tougher line with companies involved in the production of fossil fuels”, says Jens Theil, Head of Nykredit's Group Sustainability Programme.
Last year, we set a number of ambitious climate goals committing Nykredit’s lending and investments to a net zero 2050 Paris-aligned pathway. Our new Fossil Fuels Policy plays a natural role in meeting these ambitions.
Ending fossil fuel lending
For many years, Nykredit has been reluctant to finance fossil fuel activities, and therefore our lending to this sector is very limited. Our new policy is now clearly ending our financing of this type of activity.
“We acknowledge that oil, gas and coal will be in use for many years to come but that these energy sources will be phased out in the long run. Therefore, as a lender with a long-term focus, we do not wish to expand our exposure to fossil fuel activities, and Nykredit will be saying no thanks to new loans”, says Jens Theil.
Specifically, this means that Nykredit will not offer new loans to companies involved in the exploration, extraction or production of fossil fuels unless it involves separated green activities.
“Green energy is the future. We are hoping that conventional oil and gas companies will play a positive role and invest massively in solar, wind and biogas sources etc, and we want to support their transition. Indeed, as specified in our policy, we may offer funding to oil or gas companies provided that the activities we finance are green. Such green activities must, however, be separated from the rest of the company and therefore also from any fossil fuel production.”
Companies excluded from investments
As an investor Nykredit has for several years, alongside multiple other investors, engaged with oil, gas and coal companies in Nykredit’s portfolio to encourage them to work towards a sustainable future. Against this background, we have previously divested companies with significant earnings exposure to coal, unconventional oil and gas (tar sand etc) as well as Arctic drilling. Based on new data available to us, we can also identify companies which expand and develop new oil or gas fields in contravention of the IEA’s scenarios. Regretfully, these new data show that largely all energy companies are involved in this type of projects.
“As a consequence of that we will in future exclude companies that expand their activities in contravention of the IEA’s 2050 scenarios. This means that we are expanding our exclusion list by 483 companies operating within the oil, gas or coal industries. We have previously invested in 61 of them, and these investments will now be sold off by the end of the year. We consider this a natural and necessary next step as an investor in the energy sector. This is not necessarily our final steps”, says Jens Theil who continues:
“We are left with 14 oil and gas companies which are not where they should be but which still hold a good potential for transformation. We continue our active ownership engagement with these companies and monitor them on a special observation list. We will regularly consider whether they are making progress.”
The observation list now includes 22 companies, as it also includes eight energy companies that produce electricity from coal.
Nykredit will continue to offer a suite of sustainable Nordic Swan Ecolabelled funds to customers wishing to make 100% fossil fuel free investments.
Read Nykredit's Fossil Fuels Policy
Our Fossil Fuels Policy addresses companies involved in the exploration, extraction or production of fossil fuels (upstream).
This includes certain service providers. It also includes infrastructure used only for fossil fuels (midstream).
The same applies to energy production from fossil fuels.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) sets the framework for our commitment.
In 2021, the IEA published a widely recognised report which sets the course for transition of the global energy sector into renewable energy sources.
The IEA acknowledges that fossil fuels are a necessary part of global energy production for many years to come, but also states that there is no need to establish new coal mines or oil and gas fields anywhere in the world.
On the contrary, we need massive investments in the extraction of renewable energy. Nykredit’s Fossil Fuels Policy has been based on these conclusions – not least on the investment side where we now screen companies for expansions in contravention of the IEA’s conclusions.