AXA Goes Tobacco Free
Excerpt from AXA Press Release:
AXA Group divests tobacco industry assets
- Smoking poses the biggest threat to public health in the world today
- Role of health insurers is changing: healthcare, in the future, won’t be just about cure, it will be about prevention
- As a responsible health insurer and investor, the AXA Group has decided to divest its tobacco industry assets, currently valued at approximately 1.8 billion euros
The incidence of long term non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory illnesses, is sharply rising and are currently responsible for 68% (1) of all deaths worldwide. For cancer alone, unhealthy lifestyle choices contribute to nearly 50% of cases (1).
In parallel with the rise of NCDs, AXA’s role as a health insurer is changing: prevention is becoming more important, with increased use of technology.
Tobacco consumption is the major cause of long term non-communicable diseases. Today, tobacco kills 6 million people per year, a figure that is expected to rise to 8 million by 2030, mostly in developing countries (2). Unless urgent action is taken to reverse this trend, tobacco will kill one billion people worldwide during the 21st century (2). Its cost, estimated at 2.1 trillion euros per year (3), equals the combined expenses of war and terrorism. The damage to health from tobacco products is more costly to society than that caused by alcohol or obesity.
In this context and as a responsible health insurer, the AXA Group has decided to divest its tobacco industry assets, currently valued at approximately 1.8 billion euros, as follows:
- AXA will sell its equity holdings in tobacco companies immediately, the current estimated value of which is approximately 0.2 billion euros,
- AXA will stop all new investments in tobacco industry corporate bonds and run off its existing tobacco industry bond holdings, currently valued at approximately 1.6 billion euros.