Man, sitting on the edge of a giant coal mine and looking into the mine

About Us

photo: Ecodefense (Russia)

Urgewald’s Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) is a powerful information tool and has played an influential role in shaping new policies by financial institutions on coal.

The value of the GCEL is that it makes all companies operating along the thermal coal value chain visible to the financial sector. It clearly identifies which companies are still developing new coal assets and offers reliable and transparent data with which financial institutions can phase out coal-based business from their portfolios.

Over 600 financial institutions are now registered users of the GCEL, but the database has also become an important tool for civil society organizations, media, researchers and even regulatory bodies. In 2020, the French financial regulatory authorities AMF and ACPR used the Global Coal Exit List to calculate the exposure of French financial institutions to the coal industry. The GCEL has thus opened up new space for a dialogue on the policies needed to hasten financial actors’ exit from the coal industry. As of November 2020, institutions with over US$ 16 trillion assets under management are already using one or more of the three GCEL criteria to screen coal companies out of their portfolios.

What Makes the GCEL unique?

  • The GCEL includes the entire thermal coal value chain in its data sets. Whilst many other data providers limit their coal share of revenue calculations to sales of coal or sales of coal-based electricity, the GCEL also assesses the coal-related revenue streams of coal transport & logistics companies, coal plant manufacturers, providers of EPC services to the coal industry, coal-to-gas producers etc. Our approach provides a much more accurate picture of companies’ dependence on coal-related business and therefore also of the resulting financial risks for investors. 

  • The GCEL is publicly available and not hidden behind a pay wall. It can be reviewed by companies as well as by civil society organizations, journalists and academics. Our database is completely transparent and this makes it more accountable and less mistake-prone as companies have the possibility to point out errors.

  • The GCEL is a forward-looking coal divestment tool. It identifies which companies are expanding their coal mining activities, developing new coal power plants or building other coal-related infrastructure, such as coal export terminals or coal railway lines. 

  • Unlike most commercial coal databases, the GCEL also provides data on many private companies that is otherwise hard to access. This information is especially relevant for banks and insurers.


Urgewald is a German environment and human rights NGO, whose goal is to establish strong environmental and social standards for the international finance industry. It was founded in 1992 to monitor the activities of European banks and companies abroad and to provide advocacy services to communities, whose environment and livelihoods are threatened by controversial investment projects. A special trademark of Urgewald’s work is the combination of in-depth research, media outreach and public campaigning. Urgewald has over 25 years of experience in working on the finance and energy sector. In 2015, it played a key role in moving two of the world’s largest investors - the Norwegian Government Pension Fund and the German insurance company Allianz to divest from the coal industry. These are up to now the world’s two largest coal divestment actions. These two successes inspired Urgewald to begin compiling the Global Coal Exit List. The database was first launched in 2017 and is updated each year. In 2021 Urgewald launched an additional project: the Global Oil & Gas Exit List.


In cases where company information is scarce, Urgewald relies on a global network of NGO partners to help fill in the blanks. Many of these organizations have been working on coal and energy issues for decades. One of our key partners is Global Energy Monitor. Its “Global Coal Plant Tracker” lists all coal power stations in planning or in various stages of development worldwide and is an important information source for the GCEL. All in all, 40 NGOs from 18 countries around the world are official partners of the GCEL project.


Collaborating Organizations

global energy monitor logo bank track logo rainforestnetwork logo Les Amis de la Terre logo recommon logo APMDD logo fundagja logo Jac8es logo Life after Coal logo UCCBlogo the sunrise projectpower for people coalitionclimate action network europeLogo 350 Logo KFEM Logo Change VN Logo Environics India WALHI Logo INSAF Logo AURIGAceed350.org_ghana Green IDhttps://ecodefense.ru Ambiental Logo PMCJ logo growthwatch Logo Zambia Climate Change Network Logo Black Rocks Big Problem Logo SFOC Logo Reclaim FinanceLogo Facing Finance Logo The Prakarsa Logo Fair Finance Logo BWGEDlogo of Action AidLogo of African Climate Reality Project



Thanks to Donors

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