When it comes to addressing responsibility in the context of sustainability, our usual focus tends to center on our own actions and subsequently our supply chain. However, we often overlook the role our clients play, assuming that we bear no responsibility for the clients we onboard.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) takes a different stance on this matter, as highlighted in their report titled "Underwriting our Planet: How Insurers Can Help Address the Crises in Climate and Biodiversity." This report primarily targets insurance companies, recognising their significant financial influence and their potential to act as catalysts for the transition towards environmentally sustainable practices across various industries.
The report draws connections between the activities of insurance companies in non-life underwriting sectors, such as liability insurance, vehicle insurance, property insurance, and marine insurance, and their contributions to climate change and biodiversity loss. It highlights how these sectors may inadvertently fuel these crises.
To address these issues, the report proposes a series of actions that insurance companies should consider implementing:
Strategically align underwriting policies with global climate and biodiversity goals and establish transparent and measurable transition plans to support these objectives.
Engage with clients and insurance brokers to align their practices with these sustainability goals and advocate for a swift, environmentally friendly, and equitable transition.
Encourage clients to make green and resilient choices, adopt new eco-friendly technologies and practices, and integrate principles of the circular economy into the design of insurance products and claims management processes.
Review and revise policies to eliminate incentives that may be harmful to the environment and people, thus minimising "moral hazards." Instead, collaborate with clients and other stakeholders to uphold the highest environmental standards.
Clearly communicate plans for phasing out any business related to fossil fuels, aligning with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario set forth by the International Energy Agency.
Incorporating these actions can enable insurance companies to play a more active role in mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss while promoting sustainability within their industries and beyond.