With the publication of the new Generali Group Strategy on Climate Change, Assicurazioni Generali finally acknowledges the requests of ReCommon and Greenpeace Italy, adopting a decarbonisation plan. It was more than 3 years ago that the two associations started to push Generali to stop its financial support of coal.
“Generali is finally taking a decisive step to tackle the climate crisis, abandoning coal, tar sands, shale oil and gas, and fossil operations in the Arctic. This step must be a starting point and not the end. We will remain vigilant on Generali, to be sure it respects its own new strategy and objectives. We will also continue to push the group to completely abandon soon oil and gas, huge threats for climate, the environment and people.”
The most relevant element of the updated policy is the adoption of a phase-out date related to underwriting for coal companies and their respective assets, i.e. coal mines and power plants: 2030 in OECD countries and 2038 in the rest of the world, in line with what is requested by the international scientific community. This means the interruption – though not as soon as expected – of relations with those clients who are slowing down the energy transition in countries still heavily dependent on the most polluting of fossil fuels, namely Poland and the Czech Republic; countries where Generali has proved to be among the leading insurers of climate killers like PGE, ČEZ and EPH.
Furthermore, for ReCommon and Greenpeace Italy it is important to untangle the knot of the exception mentioned in the new strategy, related to modernisation or retrofitting of existing power plants/units owned or operated by existing clients: it is crucial that this exception will not become the rule, since the energy system based on coal cannot be improved in any way and must be immediately abandoned.
Similarly to what is provided for underwriting, Generali will stop investing in coal companies in 2030 in OECD countries and in 2040 in the rest of the world. However, a risk exists that the criteria for reaching net zero are not sufficiently stringent, since it is explicitly stated that “companies with decarbonization or coal phase out strategies aligned with the pathways to limit the increase in the temperature to 1.5°C will not be excluded by the new thresholds”.
ReCommon and Greenpeace hope that Generali has no intention to positively consider “decarbonisation” plans of PGE, ČEZ, RWE, Duke – just to mention a few of the coal companies in which Generali invests – considering they do not have a coal exit date in line with the Paris Agreement.