Tokio Marine announces coal policy; climate group unimpressed

Tokio Marine announces coal policy; climate group unimpressed | Insurance Business

Tokio Marine announces coal policy; climate group unimpressed

Tokio Marine Holdings has announced its climate strategy, which includes its position on covering coal power projects, a few days after fellow Japanese insurance giant Sompo’s announcement that it will no longer insure or invest in coal-fired power plants in Japan.

“Tokio Marine will not provide new insurance underwriting capacities to coal fired power generation projects,” the company said in its announcement. “We may grant exceptions for projects on account of circumstances such as national energy policy and other considerations in the relevant country.”

However, environmental advocacy group Insure Our Future denounced Tokio Marine’s policy as “weak”, citing the policy’s exceptions and allegedly vague wording in some parts.

Insure Our Future also criticised Tokio Marine’s position, saying the insurer is relying on “unproven technologies” to mitigate climate risks. This referred to a part in Tokio Marine’s announcement where it would promote “measures such as the use of advanced, highly-efficient power generation technologies or carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.”

Furthermore, Insure Our Future also highlighted the statement’s lack of position on the following points:

  • Insuring coal mines and other elements of the coal value chain.
  • Commitment to divest from companies with significant exposure to coal, as per the Global Coal Exit List; and
  • Acknowledging internationally accepted standards to respect indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent and self-determination over their ancestral territories, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement’s reference for consideration for all relevant human rights obligations.

Several non-government organisations from the No Coal Japan campaign will publish a response welcoming Tokio Marine‘s coal position, but will also urge the company to establish a policy to withdraw from all coal underwriting and investments, and not to insure the controversial Vung ang 2 coal power plant in Vietnam, in particular.

“Unfortunately, Tokio Marine’s new position on coal allows for several exceptions and loopholes that make it difficult to see whether there are any projects they will actually exclude from cover,” said Tanya Roberts-Davis, East Asia finances advisor for the Insure Our Future campaign. “It is evident that their 2020 climate strategy is a greenwashing attempt to boost business, rather than a commitment to move away from fossil fuel insurance. Additionally, it fails to make any commitments to respect the rights of those in the communities affected by their investments, including indigenous peoples. Like Sompo, Tokio Marine’s weak position on coal lags far behind any of the 19 coal exit policies which have been adopted to date by other insurers.”