International insurance giant blacklists more Australian coal companies amid bushfire crisis

SYDNEY, Jan 14 2019 – With bushfires raging across Australia, Dutch insurance giant Aegon has added Adani and eight other Australian coal companies to its exclusion list as it continues to divest from the dirty power industry. 

AGL Energy, Origin Energy, New Hope Corp and Whitehaven have been added to the list of 104 coal companies being phased out by Aegon, one of Europe’s largest financial institutions. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said the announcement was further proof coal, as global warming’s primary fuel source, was a bad investment. 

“Burning coal is the number one contributor to climate change. It’s a dirty source of power and a bad investment with diminishing returns,” he said. 

“This is another nail in the coffin of the dirty coal industry and a welcome step for Aegon, and one that should be followed by many more insurance and investment firms.”

The policy also applies to Aegon’s US investment branch, Transamerica, covering a total of $225 billion in investments, including its Dutch account valued at $132 billion. 

Mr Ritter said climate change was already having deadly and disastrous effects in Australia and around the world, and the insurance industry is waking up to the costs. 

“The insurance bill for Australia’s bushfire crisis already nearing $1 billion and we are nowhere near finished counting the cost,” Mr Ritter said. [1]  

“Millions of Australians have now been exposed to damage from climate disasters. Lives have been lost, vast swathes of property destroyed and whole cities exposed to ultra-hazardous smoke clouds for protracted periods of time. 

“Insurers know better than anyone that climate-induced extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common and the costs are growing.

“The smart money is on getting out of coal and burning fossil fuels. These are the main causes of climate change and that’s why Aegon is making a wise move by limiting investments in this dirty power source.”

Notes to editors:

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/10/josh-frydenberg-demands-insurers-provide-unprecedented-detail-about-bushfire-property-losses

Key points in Aegon’s new coal policy:

  • Aegon’s new global policy applies to around $225 billion in investments, including the Aegon Netherlands’ policy which applies to $132 billion.
  • Energy companies with more than 10 gigawatt of coal-fired capacity and coal expansion plans are being phased out. Aegon excludes any company that earns more than 30 percent of its income from coal mining. This percentage will be gradually reduced to 10% in 2027, and to below 5% in 2029. 
  • Aegon is currently adding 65 coal companies to its exclusion list, bringing the total number of excluded coal companies to 104.
  • The policy of Aegon Netherlands is more ambitious than that of Aegon International: it also excludes energy companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue from coal. That percentage will be reduced to below 5% in 2029. 

Contact

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Nicholas McCallum

0428 113 346

[email protected]

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]