Oslo, 24 May 2023 – A new report from Greenpeace Nordic reveals for the first time the extent that insurance companies are prioritising dirty profits over the future of the planet by facilitating new oil and gas projects in defiance of the Paris Agreement targets and their own greenwashing rhetoric. The report, Ensuring Disaster, was launched ahead of Lloyd’s of London’s AGM on Thursday 25 May, and shows that at least 69 insurance companies – many of them syndicates at Lloyd’s – are underwriting insurance for the 21 companies planning the new oil and gas fields in Norway’s massive oil and gas expansion.
Worldwide, many insurance companies claim they support the Paris Agreement and will align their policies with the 1.5°C target. However, the latest research from Greenpeace Nordic shows that some of the industry heavyweights such as AIG, Allianz, AXA, Lloyd’s of London, SCOR, and Zurich have continued to insure new oil and gas projects in defiance of climate science and evidence.
Without insurance contracts in place, new fossil fuel drilling cannot go ahead. The prevalence of Lloyd’s of London insurers undermines Lloyd’s claims that it has been scaling up efforts to cut carbon emissions and has been pushing its members to do the same. Lloyd’s is the world’s biggest insurance marketplace where buyers and sellers of insurance come together. Lloyd’s’ stated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy is to take a leadership position in being the insurer of the transition to renewable energy and to work with insurers on their net zero plans in order to reach a net-zero underwriting position for the market by 2050 at the latest – putting climate action at the heart of its annual business planning cycle.
In 2021, Lloyd’s joined the United Nations-convened Net Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA), a body aiming to reduce the sector’s emissions and help cap global warming, and said it would be moving to net zero for its insurance and investments by 2050 at the latest.
“Our findings are proof that Lloyd’s and many other leading insurers are breaking their mandate to protect society from extreme climate events by instead facilitating further oil exploration. Supporting Norway’s new oil and gas exploration while science tells us we have already found more fossil fuels than we can afford to burn is not sustainable.
“These insurers are accomplices in climate crimes. They are taking us for fools with their parrot-like repetition of ESG strategies that purport to be moving towards net-zero targets when they are in fact doing the opposite. How can Lloyd’s say it is taking a leadership role in climate change when its members are still insuring fossil fuel expansion? This is not just greenwashing, but it is gaslighting of the worst order.“
In defiance of warnings from experts and scientists, the Norwegian government is encouraging the oil industry to ramp up production in the seas off its coast. In 2020, Norway enacted tax subsidies to increase oil drilling even further causing a historic influx of applications.
“For the sake of the planet, Lloyd’s and the other insurers named in the report need to honour their commitments towards a sustainable future and not just regard their pledges as cynical public relations. Insurers are there to protect us from risk and disaster, but by facilitating the continued expansion of oil and gas they are depriving future generations of a safe home.”
- Greenpeace Nordic used Freedom of Information requests between June 2022 and May 2023 to obtain the insurance certificates for all large companies operating in Norway’s oil and gas sector as of 2022 – the first time a comprehensive mapping of the role played by the finance and insurance industry has been produced. By underwriting insurance policies these insurance companies are complicit in climate crimes committed by the oil and gas industry and ensuring disaster.
- Using data from publicly available environmental impact assessments, Greenpeace Nordic has estimated that the Norwegian oil industry is planning to open up new oil and gas fields that amount to a total of 3 billion tons of oil equivalent. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, these fields represent some 1.3 billion tons of CO2 when combusted, excluding emissions from production.
- Greenpeace Nordic demands that all insurance and reinsurance companies operating in Norway and elsewhere in Europe:
- Immediately cease insuring new and expanded coal, oil, and gas projects.
- Immediately stop insuring any new customers from the fossil fuel sector which are not aligned with a credible 1.5°C pathway, and stop offering any insurance services which support the expansion of coal, oil and gas production to existing customers.
- Immediately divest all assets, including assets managed for third parties, from coal, oil, and gas companies that are not aligned with a credible 1.5°C pathway.