A growing number of insurance companies increasingly affected by the consequences of climate change are selling holdings in coal companies and refusing to underwrite their operations. About £15bn has been divested in the past two years, according to a new report that rates the world’s leading insurers’ efforts to distance themselves from the fossil fuel industry that is most responsible for carbon emissions. Fifteen companies – almost all based in Europe – have fully or partially cut financial ties, says the study by the Unfriend Coal campaign, which represents a coalition of a dozen environmental groups incl uding Greenpeace, 350.org and the Sierra Club. Zurich, the world’s seventh biggest insurer, is the latest to shift away from coal, announcing this week that it is pulling out of coal to contribute to broader efforts to achieve the Paris accord goal of keeping global warming below 2C. Allianz, Aviva and Axa have previously made similar moves. Lloyd’s and Swiss Re are expected to follow in the coming months. The campaign has a long way to go. The early movers represent only 13% of all global insurance assets. None of the major US insurers such as Berkshire Hathaway, AIG and Liberty Mutual have taken action, according to the study. Despite this, the authors say the shift of assets and coverage since 2015 is gaining momentum.
Guardian 15th Nov 2017 read more »
Data released on 9 November shows that the UK’s local authorities invest more than £16bn into companies that extract oil, gas and coal. Collectively, the country’s local government pension funds have nearly £3,000 invested in fossil fuels for every pension fund member. Southwark has decided we will no longer do this. In December 2016, Southwark council pension fund made a landmark commitment. Following more than a year of consultation, deliberation and work with community groups we announced a decision to divest the £1.2bn fund from fossil fuels. This was a decision based not just on our political and ethical concerns, but primarily on our belief that climate change and significant investments in fossil fuels present a long term financial risk to our fund. We are clear that our action to reduce the carbon exposure of our fund is wholly consistent with our fiduciary duties as pension fund trustees.
Guardian 13th Nov 2017 read more »