Non-profit rejects Aviva award over fossil fuels stance

Group said Aviva’s investments contradict its mission statement

Non-profit rejects Aviva award over fossil fuels stance

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) has turned down an Aviva Canada cash prize after winning the insurer’s charity competition.

The non-profit initiative said there’s a ‘direct contradiction’ between its mission and Aviva’s financial relationship with oil and gas projects.

Shortly after winning the Aviva Canada Community Legacy Award through the insurer’s Community Fund competition, ICA received information that Aviva’s parent company (Aviva plc) held major passive investments in corporations – including Teck Resource, Encana, Exxon, Imperial, Suncor, Chevron, Cenovus, Kinder Morgan, Trans Canada, and Enbridge - which operate in Alberta’s tar sands.

ICA said that these investments are in direct contradiction with its organizational mandate, according to a Rainforest Action Network report.

“We cannot in good conscience accept an award from a corporation that is financially associated with fossil fuel energy projects that violate the rights of Indigenous peoples and contribute to global climate change,” said ICA executive director Eriel Deranger in a statement.

“Our organization is working to support Indigenous rights and address the climate crisis while Aviva is investing in corporations proposing or operating tar sands projects that threaten water, land, the climate and Indigenous rights.”

Aviva Canada and Aviva plc have responded to ICA’s rejection with an open mind, and has offered to begin discussion on divestment and how to move away from its tar sands investments.

“There are other insurance companies who are taking the climate risk seriously, such as Swiss Re who recently have limited their underwriting of shale gas, tar sands and Arctic drilling projects,” commented UK Tar Sands Network director Suzanne Dhaliwal.

“We want to see a major commitment from Aviva to climate action alongside their community fund and scientific research and a broader commitment to finding the mechanisms to divest from tar sands pipelines and projects. We need Aviva to look seriously into their investment in projects that are violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples, furthering the expansion of the Alberta tar sands infrastructure and pipelines which pose a major threat to the stability of the global climate.”

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