French insurer AXA plans to stop investing in the tobacco industry, citing the impact of smoking on public health, and said it plans to sell its 1.8 billion euros ($2.02 billion) of assets in the sector.
AXA said it would divest its 200 million euros of equity holdings in tobacco companies immediately. It also plans to stop all new investments in tobacco industry corporate bonds and run off its existing holdings worth about 1.6 billion euros.
“With this divestment from tobacco, we are doing our share to support the efforts of governments around the world,” incoming AXA Chief Executive Thomas Buberl said in a statement.
“This decision has a cost for us, but the case for divestment is clear: the human cost of tobacco is tragic; its economic cost is huge.”