Insurance industry and UK Government join forces on global climate solutions



ClimateWise is a unique insurance initiative through which members aim to work together to respond to the risks and opportunities of climate change. The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) works with ClimateWise, on behalf of HRH The Prince of Wales, to address the role of the insurance sector in relation to all aspects of climate change related risk.

Speaking ahead of the event Rt Hon William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs said: \”The whole question of climate is one of extreme importance to the government. It is a global problem with global impact often with devastating human consequences. Business can be of great help in anticipating and mitigating these consequences. We need to tap in to the expertise of the city, and ClimateWise is already doing extremely good work on this\”.

The summit coincides with the publication of ClimateWise\’s report on \’Adapting to the Extreme Weather Impacts of Climate Change\’. The report highlights how the insurance industry\’s expertise in loss reduction and risk management can unlock public and private sector solutions to climate change adaptation.

Speaking ahead of the event, Rt Hon Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: \”The insurance industry already \’gets\’ climate change. It poses a unique risk to our environment and our economies and most businesses realise that inaction is not an option.

\”ClimateWise is clear about the importance of cutting emissions now and adapting to the climate change that\’s already built into the system. They are right. During this fortnight of climate negotiations, we aim to make progress across a range of issues to get us closer to a legally binding treaty and ambitious emissions cuts.\”

Also launched today is the publication of an independent report by PwC which reveals that participating insurers\’ compliance with the ClimateWise Principles in 2010 have improved by nearly a third from two years ago.

Speaking ahead of the event with the UK Government, Andrew Torrance (CEO of Allianz Insurance plc, and Chairman of ClimateWise) said: \”We urge both the intergovernmental negotiations in Cancun (COP 16) and South Africa (COP 17) to deliver an effective global treaty that minimises the unacceptably dangerous risk of exceeding a 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperature. We look forward to working more closely with the UK government, and governments around the world, to achieve this.\”

Paul Abberley (CEO Aviva Investors, London) said: \”There is a real opportunity for insurers to use their investor power to invest in opportunities that reduce global climate risk. While this remains a great challenge, we need to balance our long-term liabilities with long-term returns.

\”This is why we have been supporting a mandatory requirement for large companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that where carbon emissions are a material commodity with a financial value, they should be properly defined, measured, accounted for, audited and reported.\”

Rowan Douglas (CEO Willis Re Global Analytics) said: \”The insurance and reinsurance industries have a critical role to play in helping business, governments and society at large mitigate and adapt to the risks associated with more frequent and severe global climate events. Through ClimateWise, we will continue to work with policymakers to develop public/private partnerships and solutions that help society to share the physical and financial risks of a more uncertain climate.\”

In September 2007, representatives from all parts of the sector launched the ClimateWise, and membership has now grown to include over 40 global insurance brands. ClimateWise is facilitated by CPSL and driven by the insurance industry.