Urgewald Team 2022_neu

We are Urgewald

About Urgewald

Urgewald was the driving force behind one of the biggest coal divestments to date. In 2015, Norway’s Government Pension Fund adopted a coal phase-out commitment that led it to divest US$ 6 billion from the coal industry. At the time, the Pension Fund was among the top 10 investors in the global coal industry. Its divestment triggered a domino effect in the finance industry. Between 2015 and 2017, Norway’s Pension Fund and the insurance giants Allianz and AXA collectively divested coal assets worth US$ 26 billion.

What made this possible? In 2014, we began researching the coal investments of the Norwegian Pension Fund and initiated a campaign together with NGO partners from Norway. We also invited NGOs from around the globe to participate in our campaign. These countries included Russia, Columbia, Australia, the US, India, China, Vietnam, South Africa, and the Philippines. These NGOs sent reports and pictures of how coal mines and power plants were polluting their country and destroying people’s lives. We concentrated our campaign in Oslo, the capital of Norway. During rallies, parliamentary hearings, interviews, and discussions we used their pictures and testimonials together with our research to convince the Fund to divest from coal. This coal divestment became the news topic number 1 in Norway.

After winning this campaign, we realized how powerful our research was. We decided more investors and banks needed our research on coal to formulate strong divestment policies. This is how the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) was born. In December 2017, Urgewald published the first GCEL and set a new standard for the definition of coal companies. 

Investors and NGOs that were already using GCEL, began asking us to develop a similar tool for oil and gas. So, we took our next big step in November 2021 and launched the Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL). Each fall, we update GCEL and GOGEL to document the changes in production, company structures, ownership, etc. 

Today, GCEL and GOGEL are widely recognized as the most comprehensive public databases on coal, oil, and gas companies. They also provide the basis for research on the financiers and investors behind the fossil fuel industry. Our financial research is published on our Investing in Climate Chaos website and in the joint NGO report Banking on Climate Chaos.

two women holding a laptop showing the GCEL website

NGO Partners

Urgewald works with a global network of NGOs. These NGOs use GCEL as a resource and also inform banks and investors about this coal divestment tool. 47 NGOs from 23 countries are partners of GCELMany of these NGOs have worked on coal and energy issues for decades. Their expertise helps fill in the blanks where company information is scarce. Reclaim Finance, one of our closest NGO partners, publishes the Coal Policy Tool. Their tool uses GCEL criteria as a baseline to rank the coal policies of financial institutions.