Global Week of Action: Advocating for Climate Responsibility in the Insurance Industry

Thousands of individuals participated in a robust Global Week of Action, advocating for the insurance industry to address climate concerns. The Insure Our Future campaign witnessed significant engagement, with numerous actions conducted across 31 countries spanning five continents. This collective effort, Global Week of Action, which included over 100,000 online participants, comprised diverse activities such as protests, educational sessions, performances, and marches.

Various groups demonstrated creativity and determination in conveying their message. Notable initiatives symbolizing Global Week of Action included a theatrical dance flashmob organized by Mothers Rise Up outside Lloyd’s of London, an arts education session in Egypt, and Extinction Rebellion UK’s portrayal of corporate rats engaging with insurers in London pubs.

Global Week of Action
On February 27, 2024 climate activists marched down 6th Ave in Manhattan, stopping at AIG, Chubb, and Tokio Marine offices with a clear message: Insure Our Future, not fossil fuels. The demonstration comes just days after a report exposed the 35 different insurance companies supporting oil and gas projects across the U.S. Gulf South. (Photo by Erik McGregor)

Additionally, activities like protests outside Zurich’s headquarters, a cycle rally at the Matarbari coal plant in Bangladesh, and a youth march in Nigeria underscored the global scope and urgency of the climate action movement.

The overarching demands directed at the insurance industry focused on three key principles:

  • Cessation of Fossil Fuel Support: Immediate cessation of insurance services for new and expanded coal, oil, and gas projects, alongside companies involved in their development.
  • Human Rights Adherence: Implementation of robust due diligence mechanisms to ensure respect for human rights, including obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) from impacted Indigenous Peoples and communities.
  • Just Transition Support: Active engagement in facilitating a just transition by increasing support for renewable energy projects in communities disproportionately affected by climate change or facing energy access challenges.

Isabelle L’Héritier, senior campaigner and lead organizer of the global week of action, emphasized the resounding message conveyed to the insurance industry. She stressed the critical role of insurers as agents of change and urged them to prioritize communities over fossil fuel profits.

Furthermore, groups advocated for insurers to publicly disavow involvement in environmentally damaging projects, such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Despite the absence of fossil fuel insurer policies aligned with the 1.5°C warming target, ongoing Global Week of Action campaigning has significantly hindered the insurability of new coal plants and tar sands projects.

global week of action
community members in Uganda engage in protests calling for action

Notably, 45 companies have committed to restricting insurance on coal projects, while 26 have introduced policies limiting coverage for tar sands projects. The focus has now shifted to oil and gas, with 18 companies committing to similar restrictions.

The efficacy of collective action is evident, compelling the insurance industry to heed activists’ demands for a sustainable future. Positive outcomes have already emerged, including Zurich’s CEO expressing willingness to meet with campaigners and Probitas, an insurer, confirming its refusal to insure projects such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and the West Cumbria Mine.

Mark Francis, spokesperson for Christian Climate Action, commended Probitas for its stance and urged other insurers to follow suit in prioritizing environmental conservation over financial gain during the Global Week of Action.

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