Zurich Insurance Group has announced that it is the first insurer to commit to the UN Global Compact Business Ambition Pledge – an initiative that aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
As part of its commitment, Zurich will proactively engage with clients and investee companies over a 24-month period with the aim of assisting them to adopt plans that reduces their exposure to thermal coal, oil sands, and oil shales.
As such, the insurer said that it generally will no longer underwrite or invest in companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue from mining thermal coal, or produce more than 20 million tons of thermal coal per year; generate more than 30% of their electricity from coal; are in the process of developing any new coal mining or coal power infrastructure; generate at least 30% of their revenue directly from the extraction of oil from oil sands; are purpose-built (or “dedicated”) transportation infrastructure operators for oil sands products, including pipelines and railway transportation; generate more than 30% of their revenue from mining oil shale; or generate more than 30% of their electricity from oil shale.
Zurich also announced that it will use only renewable energy as power by 2022, and as such has formally joined the RE100 – a global leadership initiative bringing together influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. In addition, Zurich is taking aggressive actions to eliminate single-use plastics and reduce internal paper usage by 80%.
“As one of the world’s leading insurers we see first-hand the devastation natural disasters inflict on people and communities,” said Mario Greco, chief executive officer of Zurich Insurance Group. “This is why we are accelerating action to reduce climate risks by driving changes in how companies and people behave and support those most impacted. It is simply the right thing to do.”