Vienna, 26 May 2023 – Over 40 environmental organisations from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have united to publish an open letter  addressed to the CEO of Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), Ms. Elisabeth Stadler, expressing deep concern over the company’s lack of an oil and gas policy and its too laxed coal policy, and providing concrete actions to remedy this. Today, May 26, members of this coalition are confronting the company’s board on these issues at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Vienna, and welcoming the shareholders with banners and flyers. Despite being the leader in the insurance industry in the CEE region, VIG fails to take its responsibility in the climate crisis and to align its business with the scientific consensus on what is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
“While climate scientists have consistently warned about the escalating consequences of climate change and the limited time available for implementing a transition, the absence of an oil and gas policy from VIG is unacceptable. According to the last IPCC report and IEA analysis, we cannot afford any new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to secure a liveable future for all.  As the largest insurance group in CEE, VIG has a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership in divesting from fossil fuels and promoting clean energy sources.”
The signatories of the open letter come from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. They represent a diverse range of organisations and networks dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability in CEE. Their collective voice reflects the urgent need for responsible action in the face of climate change and the associated ecological threats. Together, they call upon VIG to align its operations and policies with the emergency of the situation.
"We're uniting in the CEE region to urge VIG to immediately step up their oil, gas and coal policies. It is vital to show that people here are deeply concerned about these issues and expect their insurers to protect their future. Our gathering is just the beginning, as we plan to make our voices heard and to actively engage until VIG creates the required change."
“This week, Greenpeace published a report about the insurance companies supporting oil and gas drilling in the North sea, mentioning VIG as an insurer of OMV’s fossil projects. Moreover, VIG’s CEO, Ms. Elisabeth Stadler, sits at the supervisory board of OMV. We are aware that, in the past, VIG has insured other fossil fuel giants, such as EPH, owned by the Czech oligarch Daniel Křetínský. This affiliation with fossil fuel tycoons needs to end sooner rather than later.”
 Open letter: https://re-set.cz/press; translations (CS, DE, ET, HU, LT, PL, RO, UK): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qFAq99IL83lfenPVCAb20JLMUdJ_uekM?usp=share_ link
 IPCC report: https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/; IEA analysis: https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050
List of organisations endorsing the open letter:
GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria; Attac Austria; Jugendrat Wien
Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Association “Resource Aarhus center in BiH”
Extinction Rebellion Zagreb
Re-set: platforma pro sociálně-ekologickou transformaci; Arnika; Budoucí; Děti Země (Children of the Earth); Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth CZ; Calla – Sdružení pro záchranu prostředí, z.s.; Greenpeace Czech Republic; Slušná firma, z.s.; Universities for climate; NaZemi; Limity jsme my; Klimatická koalice; NESEHNUTÍ; Limity jsme my
Estonian Green Movement; Estwatch
Fridays for Future Hungary; Clean Air Action Group; Extinction Rebellion Hungary; National Society of Conservationists – Friends of the Earth Hungary
Climate Awareness Association; EcoZ
Fridays for Future Lithuania
Fridays for Future Moldova
Fridays for Future Poland; Development YES, Open Pit Mines NO; Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA, Poland; Stowarzyszenie Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot; Towarzystwo na rzecz Ziemi (Society for the Earth); Rodzice dla Klimatu; EKO-UNIA; Ecological Association; Polish Green Network; BoMiasto
Asociația Mai bine
Klimatická koalícia; Priatelia Zeme-CEPA; Znepokojené matky
Centre for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction”