Nippon Life Insurance Co. plans to become the first leading Japanese financial institution to reject investments and loans into new coal-fired power generation projects at home and abroad, a company source said July 12.

The decision, made by Japan’s largest life insurance company, may have a domino effect across the financial industry.

“It was difficult," said a Nippon Life executive. "But we, as a life insurance company, which is supposed to offer society a huge public benefit, decided not to do that.”

Coal-fired power generation is one of the primary causes of global warming.

After the Paris Agreement against global warming took effect in 2016, many financial and other institutions in the United States and European countries ended their investments and loans to coal-fired power projects.

That came in response to heightened public criticism against investments toward businesses that could lead to the environmental deterioration of the Earth.

If such criticism increased and coal-fired power plants could not be operated, Nippon Life would be at high risk of losing a return on their investments.

As for Japanese companies, three mega-banks intend to set stricter standards when deciding on investments toward coal-fired power generation. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co. announced in May that it would not invest in construction of coal-fired power plants overseas.

The Japanese government, however, considers coal a "mainstay power source." That is why no Japanese financial institution until now has come forward to fully disavow investment in coal-fired power industry.