Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Swiss Re took a step forward this week in its commitment to manage carbon-related sustainability risks and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. As of Monday, the Zurich-based firm no longer provides insurance or reinsurance to businesses with more than 30 percent exposure to thermal coal.
The thermal coal policy announced in June 2017 was based on Swiss Re’s pledge to adopt the principles of the Paris climate agreement in 2015, which seeks to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. As part of that commitment, “Swiss Re supports a progressive and structured shift away from fossil fuels,” according to a company statement.
The thermal coal policy applies to both new and existing thermal coal mines and power plants, and is implemented across all lines of business and Swiss Re’s global scope of operations. The policy is an integral part of Swiss Re’s Sustainability Risk Framework, which the reinsurer uses for all underwriting and investment activities.
The 30 percent threshold on Swiss Re’s insurance practice is in line with the threshold on the firm’s investment practice. As of 2016, Swiss Re stopped investing in companies that generate 30 percent or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining or that use at least 30 percent thermal coal for power generation. The reinsurer also divested from existing holdings.
Swiss Re isn’t the only insurance firm to restrict its participation in the coal sector in recent months. In May, Germany’s Allianz stopped insuring single coal-fired power plants and coal mines, in response to criticism from environmental groups. Dai-ichi Life Insurance recently became the first Japanese institution to stop financing coal-fired power plants overseas, and Nippon Life Insurance is considering limits on coal plant financing.