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Zurich to vote against board members on shareholdings lagging behind the climate



Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd. increases pressure on companies they invest in to align climate action with the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5 ° C.

It also plans to start asking commercial customers how they plan to adapt their operations to reduce climate change.

Over the next two years, Zurich will target companies producing 65% of its portfolio emissions and require them to set emission reduction targets or meet shareholders' actions. "If engagement fails and companies refuse to set goals after proper dialogue, Zurich will vote against board members at shareholders' meetings," Zurich said.

It added that simply selling from companies with carbon-intensive footprints is "less effective than engaging in them to drive the transition to sustainable practices."

The insurer has set new targets to reduce the carbon dioxide intensity of its listed equity and corporate bond investments by 25% by 2025 and by 30% for direct real estate investments. Previously, the company had already committed to having a zero investment portfolio by 2050.

"The new targets to reduce emissions for our investment portfolio set the commitment by companies we invest at the heart of our responsible investment strategy, "said Urban Angehrn, Zurich's CEO." We will use our position as a major investor to ensure that climate change is high on corporate agendas and exercise our voting right to accelerate the transition to a climate neutral economy. "

Publishing additional climate goals, Zurich said that d it will reduce emissions. from its own operations by 50% by 2025 and 70% by 2029, to adapt it to the Paris Agreement. CEO Mario Greco said that Zurich's operations have been carbon neutral since 201

4, but it will achieve reductions in remaining emissions in the coming years by switching to renewable energy, using electric vehicles and limiting business travel.

Zurich also wants to develop industry standards. to measure emissions from insurance guarantees together with industry bodies and decision-makers.

And it will analyze reported carbon emissions from its commercial customers to understand how buyers plan to adapt their business over the next five to ten years.

By the end of 2020, Zurich had stopped insuring and investing in more than one third of 268 companies that it identified as exposed to thermal coal, oil sands and oil shale, and not or unable to adopt greener methods.

It did not renew insurance contracts totaling more than $ 30 million in gross premiums and has divested assets worth almost $ 500 million since 2017.

Th group revealed that at the end of last year it was in talks with 42% of companies close or beyond the emission policy limits and said they expect commitments from them by June 2021 to meet the thresholds.

"The Group is committed to using every available leverage – investments, operations and products and services – to accelerate the transition to a net emissions economy," says Zurich.

Commercial Risk Europe is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories from CRE here .

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