Money talks: unleashing the power of the finance sector in global tobacco control

At a symposium chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, the crucial role of the finance sector was discussed, highlighting that while the finance sector had lagged behind other sectors, a new movement to support tobacco control has recently taken hold.

The session explored the leadership role some global finance firms have taken, in divesting of their tobacco holdings, implementing tobacco-free investment policies and ending all commercial relationships with tobacco companies. It

Dr Bronwyn King, a radiation oncologist and founder of Tobacco Free Portfolios spoke about her collaborative work with finance industry executives, which has seen >40% of Australian pension funds implementing tobacco free investment mandates, with ~$2.5 billion tobacco stocks divested. She spoke about how her organisation achieved these results by uniting leaders from all sectors to address the global tobacco epidemic. Dr King said “I have never met a finance person who wants their child to smoke. That feels like a good place to start.”

Denis Duverne, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AXA spoke about their role as leaders of change in financing global tobacco control. He spoke of being so inspired by his meeting with Dr Bronwyn King that AXA stopped investing and lending to tobacco manufacturers just three months after the meeting.

Pranay Lal, Technical Advisor on Tobacco Control for the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), spoke about the policy and practice of the United Nations and its agencies, and their relationship with tobacco industry.

HRH Princess Dina concluded, highlighting that the finance sector is evolving into a powerful ally for the tobacco control community. She said that a new generation of philanthropic supporters of tobacco control were emerging, and called for this important work to continue.


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