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BNP Paribas’ funds arm has ditched tobacco investments

BNP Paribas Asset Management has decided to ditch tobacco investments across all of its actively managed vehicles.

The ban, which was already in place across BNP's sustainable funds, will join the exclusions of "controversial weapons" and asbestos. The investment management business, part of major bank BNP Paribas, had €569bn in assets under management at the end of last year.

All tobacco-exposed investments should be ousted from BNP's vehicles by the end of 2018, the firm said.

Read more: Norway's massive sovereign wealth fund sells out of BAE Systems and eight other companies in an ethics push

"We recognise the important role that long term capital plays in tackling major global issues and with an increasing number of asset owners, insurers and pension funds excluding tobacco from their investments, we are taking into account growing international concerns about the risks posed by tobacco," said Frederic Janbon, chief executive of BNP Paribas Asset Management.

BNP will join firms such as Axa and Calpers which have also excluded tobacco from their investment portfolios.

Data from the World Health Organisation last year found that 7m people per year were dying of tobacco-related causes. As well as these public health concerns, BNP cited human rights abuses and the economic cost associated with tobacco – estimated to be more than $1 trillion per year – as reasons for eliminating the addictive substance from its funds.

Read more: Why divesting from tobacco stocks is pointless virtue signalling

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