By Dieter Holger
Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN.EB) said Tuesday that it is winding down its involvement in fossil-fuel companies as part of a broad plan to combat climate change.
The Swiss insurance company will no longer insure or invest in companies with high exposure to some of the dirtiest fossil fuels, Zurich said, which include businesses earning more than 30% of their revenue from mining oil shales, oil sands or coal for electricity.
Zurich will also not invest in or insure companies generating more than 30% of their electricity from coal or oil shale.
"We see first-hand the devastation natural disasters inflict on people and communities. This is why we are accelerating action to reduce climate risks by driving changes in how companies and people behave and support those most impacted," Mario Greco, chief executive at Zurich, said.
Zurich will ask its current clients with high exposure to the carbon-intensive fossil fuels to provide plans detailing how they will lower their exposure below 30% or to commit to science-based emission targets, Linda Freiner, global head of sustainability at Zurich, said. The company will likely drop clients who don't adhere to the requests within two years, but will still help them transition to a new insurance provider, Ms. Freiner said.
The Swiss insurer also committed to using only renewable electricity across all its global operations by 2022.
"It is simply the right thing to do," Mr. Greco said.
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