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The Union welcomes today’s announcement from BNP Paribas that it is ending all business with firms whose principal activity is linked to tobacco – including producers, wholesalers and traders whose core revenues are from tobacco.

“We applaud BNP Paribas for this bold action. It is a clear demonstration of its commitment to economic development, and affirms the fact that protecting and promoting health is inseparable from promoting economic well-being – of individuals, families, and ultimately nations,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union.

“Global tobacco control has reached a crossroads. After 10 years of the WHO FCTC more than 180 countries are now legally bound to reducing tobacco use. As the tobacco industry’s opposition becomes increasingly fierce it is heartening for governments to see the growing support and integrity of powerful financial firms. If we are to meet global commitments on sustainable development, all sectors must play their part. We are delighted that the financial sector is significantly building momentum towards these goals.”

Citing support for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its primary purpose to “protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” the statement from BNP Paribas identified the importance of measures to reduce both supply and demand of tobacco in order to reach this goal.

“The WHO has called on the international community regarding the effects of tobacco in terms of health. We have reaffirmed our ambition to finance economic development while having a positive impact on all our stakeholders, contributing to build a better future,” said Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas.

BNP Paribas was amongst the 53 leading finance firms that earlier this year affirmed their support for international efforts to reduce tobacco use under the WHO FCTC. Signing the world’s first Investor Statement on Tobacco on 31 May, World No Tobacco Day, BNP Paribas urged governments to strengthen tobacco control measures and protect and promote the health and economic well-being of citizens.

Dr Bronwyn King, Chief Executive Officer of Tobacco Free Portfolios said: “We are delighted by BNP Paribas’ announcement and we call on all leaders in the finance sector to stand alongside BNP Paribas in solidarity with health and government sectors across the globe.”

Dr King will be presenting at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, March 2018. The session, Money Talks! Unleashing the Power of Global Finance Leaders and Eminent Philanthropists in Comprehensive Tobacco Control, will discuss the impact of the unprecedented recent moves by the finance sector to support international tobacco control.

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