Marsh green washes its role in coal project as #StopAdani escalates insurance campaign
The world’s largest insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies has squandered an opportunity to show leadership on climate change after failing to announce an expected climate policy at its May 21 AGM in New York City and online.
Marsh has come under pressure over its role as insurance broker for The Adani Group and arranging insurance for the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Australia. In response to staff, activists and investors pushing the insurance giant to cut ties with Adani, Marsh had told investors it would release a climate policy at its AGM.
Instead it released a 183 word statement outlining 'client engagement principles’ that claim to bolster its commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, including climate mitigation, by allowing for a review and cessation of work on projects that fundamentally conflict with these goals.
Market Forces campaigner Pablo Brait says: “The first shareholder questions raised by Marsh & McLennan shareholders at the AGM were objections to the company’s role in brokering insurance for the dangerous Adani Carmichael coal project. The Marsh CEO Daniel Glaser failed to commit to ruling out arranging insurance for Adani’s coal project and acting on climate change.
"Marsh and McLennan's 183-word 'Client Engagement Principles' is not a climate policy, it is a pathetic attempt at greenwashing. A real climate policy would seek to align Marsh & McLennan Companies to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. This would include an immediate end to brokering insurance for new coal, oil and gas projects, and set dates for the phase out of services for all fossil fuel projects and companies, as many of Marsh's insurance industry customers are doing.
"However, the Adani Carmichael coal project is so destructive, that even Marsh & McLennan Companies' fuzzy 'principles' should see the insurance broker dump Adani as a client, as the project undermines several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals it claims to be committed to."
Co-ordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign Peter Bosshard says:
“Marsh has laid bare its hypocrisy by claiming to bolster its commitment to climate action while helping to facilitate climate wrecking coal projects like Adani’s. If Marsh’s statement is to be taken seriously they should dump Adani as a client. Adani’s Carmichael coal project fundamentally conflicts with efforts to mitigate climate change, it will turbocharge global heating and fuel more dangerous climate disasters like bushfires, floods and hurricanes.”
“Marsh must bring forward a climate policy that ends their involvement in coal and fossil fuels. Marsh’s policies and practices need to match the scale of the climate crisis and address their involvement in the main driver of the problem: the mining and burning of coal.”
“Insurance customers already bear the cost of worsening extreme weather driven by global warming. Rather than continuing to exacerbate the crisis, Marsh and all other insurance brokers must steer clear of the Adani Carmichael coal project and all fossil fuel projects. This project is toxic, not just for our climate, but for any company associated with it.”
“The economic impacts of COVID-19 show clearly that coal has no future. Financial institutions now have a unique opportunity to back forward looking industries like renewable energy to facilitate long term economic recovery, grow jobs and support climate action. Instead Marsh has chosen to stick with coal. Marsh should support a green and fair economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, not new fossil fuel projects that lead us further towards unmanageable climate breakdown.”
Director Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis Tim Buckley says:
“The financial sector is abandoning coal at a rapid rate, with 36 coal exit announcements by globally significant financial institutions made so far this year. The run rate is accelerating and has now doubled relative to 2019, as global capital flees thermal coal and coal fired power, acknowledging the rising stranded asset risks.
“Marsh must get moving and follow the lead of over 100 banks, insurers and asset managers who have formal coal divestment or exclusion policies in place, distancing themselves from coal.
“Marsh & McLennan company Mercer is positioned as a global leader in advising on climate risk and the financial cost of climate change, so it is overdue time that Mercer's parent company Marsh stops fuelling the climate crisis by facilitating a coal project like Adani’s.”