Frequently Asked Questions

 

How often will the database be updated?

We will update the GCEL annually. Future updates will presumably be published in Q3 or Q4.

Where do you get your data from?

Our research mainly relies on data provided by the companies themselves. We extract most of the information we need from companies’ reporting documents, investor presentations and websites. Additionally, we use information published by government agencies and stock exchanges.

When a company’s reporting is not detailed enough, for example in regard to its investment plans, we also make inquiries to local NGOs, which are following the activities of these companies on the ground. For power expansion data, we use Global Energy Monitor’s “Global Coal Plant Tracker” and supplement it with our own research.

Is metallurgical coal included?

When companies provide the necessary information, metallurgical coal is excluded from a company’s annual coal production volume and respective business activities are excluded from the CSR calculation/estimation. Metallurgical coal expansion projects are not listed on the GCEL.

 

How can I get the GCEL with financial identifiers (e.g. ISIN-codes)?

 

To receive the GCEL with identifiers, please send your request to coalexit@urgewald.org

 

What is the difference between the CPDL and the GCEL?

The CPDL (Coal Plant Developers List) is an excerpt of the GCEL, and only contains information related to coal power expansion projects, whereas the GCEL contains information on all companies, which meet at least one of our criteria. If you wish to receive the list of coal plant developers as a stand-alone database, please send your request to coalexit@urgewald.org

 

Who is using the GCEL?

Our database is mainly used by banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset management companies, which are interested in assessing coal-related risks and taking steps towards effective coal divestment. However, the GCEL is also accessed by NGOs, journalists, researchers and consultants as well as by coal companies themselves.

To find out what users think about our database, please click here.

 

 

 

Will the GCEL thresholds change in the future?

From 2017 to 2019, we used relative thresholds of 30% and absolute thresholds of 20 million tons and 10 GW to determine which companies were listed on the GCEL. In view of the deepening climate crisis and the 2018 IPPC report, which maintains that coal-fired power production must be reduced by 78% by 2030, the departure from coal, however, needs to be speeded up. We therefore applied tighter thresholds to compile the 2020 GCEL and will lower them further in the future.

How does divestment work? And does it have an impact?

Coal divestment essentially means selling the shares and bonds of companies, which engage in coal-related business activities. The major impact stems from the exclusion of coal companies from future investments as well as their exclusion from loans, underwriting and other financial services. The impact of such decisions, however, critically depends on the reach of the applied exclusion criteria. The GCEL enables NGOs to precisely identify what a financial institution’s policy does and does not do in terms of preventing coal investments, and to challenge “pretend” policies that do not lead to real changes. The GCEL is thus an important tool for accelerating a coal exit by the finance industry.

Banks and asset managers have had a lot of time to pursue engagement strategies and convince coal companies to shift their business to more environmentally and socially acceptable sectors. For the most part, this approach has failed dramatically. However, we have experienced first hand that even the announcement of a divestment decision can have tremendous signaling effects with regard to single companies or coal sectors in entire countries. Increasing divestment efforts by the financial sector send a crucial wake-up call to coal companies all over the world.

Our divestment approach is in no way extreme or radical as we only list companies, which constitute an essential part of the global coal sector, rely heavily on coal with regard to their overall business model or display coal-related expansion plans. If it is well designed and implemented, divestment hampers debt financing for these companies, increases their capital costs and makes coal projects even less competitive and thus more unlikely to be carried out.

It should be mentioned that with regard to utilities listed on the GCEL, we are not against providing targeted project financing of renewables to facilitate the energy transition as long as it can be ensured that these funds will not be used for other purposes. However, when it comes to bond purchases or corporate loans, a targeted deployment of funds cannot be guaranteed.

 

Why does Urgewald sometimes report different CSPPs compared to other data providers?

We try to stick to companies' reporting with regard to generation and capacity numbers. However, if a utility decides to include electricity from Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in its generation or capacity data, we identify how much of its electricity output or capacity is contracted through PPAs and subtract it from the reported generation or capacity data. We do this to portray an accurate picture of the company’s owned generation and owned capacity, which would otherwise be distorted since PPAs are often used to contract carbon-free capacity from other power producers. We also include electricity that is produced by plants used predominantly for heating.Our CSPP numbers are calculated to accurately reflect a utility's reliance on coal.

One should also bear in mind that a company, which obtains significant amounts of renewable capacity through PPAs, generates much less profit from selling this PPA electricity compared to the power generated by its own assets. Naturally, the CSR incorporates all electricity sold by a utility, since it is revenue based. Thus, it does not depict a utility’s reliance on coal as well as the CSPP numbers Urgewald provides.

 

What kind of information is available after registering? 

After you have registered on coalexit.org, you will be able to download the entire GCEL in Excel format (.xlsx). If you are logged in, you will also be able to view not only a selection, but all companies on the GCEL in the online database. To receive the GCEL for investors, which includes common financial identifiers, please send your request to coalexit@urgewald.org after registering.

 

Do you offer webinars? 

We also offer training webinars on the GCEL. If you are interested, please send your request to coalexit@urgewald.org.

 

To whom can I address my feedback?

Please email your feedback to coalexit@urgewald.org

 

Support our Research

Coalexit.org is a platform free of charge. However, it is based on a years-long and extremely costly research. Please help Urgewald with your donation.