Global insurance cos & pension funds announce coal divestments amid urgent calls to address climate change

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17 November 2017

UK: Lloyd's Corporation divests from coal-heavy businesses amid climate change concerns

Author: Bethan Moorcraft, Insurance Business America

"Lloyd's Corporation joins coal-heavy investment boycott", 17 Nov 2017

Lloyd's Corporation...has announced that it’s implementing a coal exclusion policy as part of its responsible investment strategy for the Central Fund. The...policy will come into effect in April next year [2018] and it will apply to assets held in segregated portfolios. These account for around 75% of Central Fund investments...

...Lloyd’s Corporation joins the likes of Zurich Insurance, AXA and Allianz in the divestment of coal-related investment. Swiss Re is also expected to release an action plan regarding coal...According to the Unfriend Coal campaign, 15 insurers with a total of over US$4 trillion in assets covered by coal divestment decisions are planning to change their coal-related policies in the near future. The industry has already pulled out a total of US$20 billion in the past two years.

Peter Bosshard, coordinator of Unfriend Coal, commented: “Coal needs to become uninsurable. If insurers cease to cover the numerous...risks of coal projects, new coal mines and power plants cannot be built and existing operations will have to shut down"...

This environmental call-to-arms comes several months after Greenpeace called on several major insurers to take action on fossil fuels.

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16 November 2017

Storebrand drops 10 coal companies from pension fund in line with self-imposed climate change guidelines

Author: Reuters

"Storebrand says drops 10 coal firms from pension fund", 16 Nov 2017

Storebrand, Norway’s largest private pension fund,...dropped 10 coal companies including Germany’s RWE AG from its $80 billion portfolio under tighter self-imposed guidelines on climate change.

...[T]he divestments...totaled 145.6 million Norwegian crowns ($17.69 million)...Storebrand...had sold out of Eskom Holdings Ltd, Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Uniper SE, Genting International Plc, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Kyushu Electric Power, Origin Energy Ltd, EDP Energias do Brasil, RWE AG and Power Assets Holdings Ltd.

The new criteria included restricting investments in companies involved in the construction of new power plants.

The new criteria included restricting investments in companies involved in the construction of new power plants...“We see it as our responsibility to challenge the coal industry even further and pull our money out of ten more companies with sizeable new developments in coal-fired power plants,” Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, wrote of the decision...“The 14,300 MW under construction by these companies exceeds the entire coal power capacity of the United Kingdom and Ireland, or more than the entire coal power capacity of Greece, the Netherlands, and France,” he said.

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15 November 2017

Switzerland: Zurich Insurance ends coal investments over mounting climate change concerns

Author: Lucy Burton, The Telegraph (UK)

"Zurich ends coal investments as insurers pull $20bn from sector", 15 Nov 2017

Zurich has become the latest insurance giant to cut ties with coal-intensive businesses, bringing the amount insurers have pulled from these companies to around $20bn (£15.2bn) in just two years...Zurich has decided to pull money and stop offering insurance to companies that depend on coal for more than half of their turnover, announcing a change to its policies months after Greenpeace wrote to the world's largest insurers urging them to take action.

French insurance giant Axa was the world's first financial institution to divest from coal, removing hundreds of millions worth of coal investments in 2015, with Allianz following suit some months later. Swiss Re and Lloyd’s are set to unveil new policies in the coming months.

...[A] report [published by the Unfriend Coal campaign]...ranked the world's biggest insurers by their climate change policies..."So far, no American insurer has taken meaningful action on coal and climate change, and even industry giants such as Berkshire Hathaway, AIG and Liberty Mutual have remained completely silent about the catastrophic climate risks affecting their clients," the report said.

Coal as an energy source is not only in decline in developed countries – the International Energy Agency (IEA) said...that major energy demand centres, such as China and India, are also reducing their reliance on coal-fired power in favour of renewable energy...[also refers to AXA, Allianz, Lloyd's of London, and Swiss Re]

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