28 May 2020
Marsh and McLennan’s 183-word ‘Client engagement principles’ is not a climate policy, it is greenwash.
Last week Marsh & McLennan (MMC), Adani’s insurance broker Marsh’s parent company, held its 2020 annual general meeting (AGM).
Following months of intense pressure in the lead-up to the AGM, not only from the #StopAdani movement but from its own employees and investors, due to its work helping a massive new coal mine find insurance, the company was expected to present a climate policy at the meeting.
What the company released is a 183-word motherhood statement to abide by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The statement explains that MMC has “developed procedures to bolster our commitment to [the United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals”, including a commitment to take “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”. “When considering proposed engagements that potentially conflict, in a fundamental way, with these goals, we will review the proposed project to evaluate whether the work can proceed, either as proposed or with appropriate limitations in scope or content”.
Despite the weakness of this statement and the lack of tangible criteria or transparency, if applied honestly it should see Marsh dump Adani as a client, as the Adani Carmichael coal project clearly undermines several of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ones on climate change mitigation and energy security. However, Marsh has refused to provide any information on its current work for Adani and whether its new principles impact this work.
So what would a real climate policy look like? A real climate policy would not only seek to align Marsh & McLennan Companies to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, but also include an immediate end to brokering insurance for new coal, oil and gas projects, and set dates for the phase out of services for all fossil fuel projects and companies, as many of Marsh’s insurance industry customers have already done.
Ignoring shareholder questions
Right at the beginning of the AGM, MMC President and CEO Dan Glaser acknowledged that Marsh’s work for Adani was an important issue for shareholders. However, rather than answer the several questions that had been submitted, he pointed people to MMC’s new principles and then quickly moved on.
One of those whose question was ignored by Mr Glaser was a representative of the Wangan & Jagalingou people, the Traditional Owners of the land where Adani is building its coal mine. Murrawah Johnson, had joined the meeting as a shareholder proxy to ask about MMC’s work for the Adani Carmichael coal project. We are publishing her ignored question in full here:
I speak for W&J people whose Country will be destroyed for Adani’s mine.
We never gave our Free, Prior, Informed Consent to the mine.
Our international law rights have been breached.
Australian law does not meet the standards of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Adani claims we agreed but this masks the legal coercion they used against us.
The mine will further dispossess us from our Country, deny us our human rights and accelerate climate change.
Marsh and McLennan is publicly committed to abide by international human rights principles.
You say that “water is essential to life” and that access to this critical natural resource is “a fundamental human right”.
Our rights are being violated, and the essential sources of water in our land will be destroyed.
Your company will stand complicit if it proceeds to work to secure insurance for Adani.
In line with your commitments and responsibilities, will you withdraw as the insurance broker for Adani Mining in Australia?Murrawah Johnson, Wangan and Jagalingou spokesperson
Mr. Glaser, they are waiting for an answer.
Take action! Your super fund could be administered by MMC company Mercer!
If so, fill out the form below to ask them to dump Mercer unless MMC dumps Adani.
(Mercer-linked super funds include ANZ Staff Super, Australian Ethical, BOC Super fund, Care Super, Commonwealth Bank Group Super, EISS Super, Equip Super, Guild Super, IAG/NRMA Super, Lutheran Super, Media Super, NGS Super, REI Super, Toyota Australia Super, TWU Super, Virgin Money)