COP26 is Connecting Climate and Finance. Sessions explore their intersection: in insurance; in pensions and investments; and more.
By Amy Quirk
Let’s look more closely at the connection between climate and finance in the insurance industry.
On Wednesday, November 3rd, COP26 presented: The Insurance Industry: Climate Leaders or Climate Laggards? Launching the 2021 Scorecard on Insurance, Fossil Fuels and Climate Change.
Why is this such an important topic?
“It’s not just about insurance, it’s about the flow of money,” observed Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director of 350.org. As a Tongan, he has direct experience with the consequences of that flow. “The climate crisis is connected by a flow of money that goes from financial institutions to extraction projects and the frontline communities are paying the price for it.”
Mr. Sikulu shared stories of his engagement with insurers such as Lloyd’s. You can read more about his successful activism concerning the Adani coal mine in Australia: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-adani-insurance-idUSKBN2AN14P and https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2021/10/29/international-climate-memorial-at-lloyds/.
Others explained why direct contact with insurers is crucial in climate work. Without insurance, coal, oil and gas owners and operators are less likely to secure loans for capital expenditures, for maintenance and operation. The flow of funds for extraction projects may diminish or cease.
Important allies in this engagement are Insure Our Future and Reclaim Finance. Peter Bosshard, Global Coordinator of Insure Our Future, and Lucie Pinson, Founder and Director of Reclaim Finance, presented this during the session.
The annual “Insuring Our Future Scorecard” brings the data, the metrics and a pathway to accountability to the table.
I encourage you to take the time to review this entire session. It is full of valuable information and tools for advocates for the environment. Especially touching is a brief exchange toward the end of the session with audience member Maya Mailer of Mothers Rise Up. Her group periodically gathers outside Lloyd’s of London offices to engage with employees of the insurer. Ms. Mailer has been told by employees: “Keep going, because you are creating the space for us from the inside [to change course].”