ABN Amro says goodbye to tobacco industry citing bank's "principles"
ABN Amro is no longer accepting new customers from the tobacco industry and will no longer be investing in the sector, the bank announced on Wednesday. "The core business of the tobacco industry is not compatible with the core principles of the bank", ABN Amro said in a statement, Trouw reports.
ABN Amro is the first Dutch bank to close its doors to the tobacco industry. "We will respect the current contracts, but we are not entering into new contracts from now on and we will not extend or expand existing contracts", a spokesperson for the bank said to Trouw. According to ABN Amro, smoking is the most avoidable cause of illness and death. Around 20 thousand people in the Netherlands die from the effects of smoking every year.
The bank also signed a cooperation agreement with Dutch heart foundation Hartstichting, which is campaigning for a reduction in tobacco consumption on behalf of people with cardiovascular disease. The foundation is moving half of its assets, about 35 million euros, to the bank.
Floris Italianer, director of the Hartstichting, hopes that other financial institutions will follow ABN Amro's example. "We started making our own suppliers smoke-free two years ago. Companies that work for us may not have a relationship with the tobacco industry. ABN Amro has shown true involvement. There is great support for the measure at the bank. We hope that this is a signal for other banks and investment funds", she said, according to the newspaper.
"We share the Hartstichting's ambition to reduce the number of deaths and serious diseases through smoking", Kees van Dijkhuizen, CEO of ABN Amro, said.
Earlier on Wednesday the Dutch government announced a stricter anti-smoking policy. From 2020 supermarkets will no longer be allowed to display cigarettes and tobacco products. From 2022 other retailers, like kiosks, gas stations and drug stores, will also fall under the display ban. Cigarette vending machines will also be banned from bars and restaurants.