“At Medibank, we understand that the health of the environment has an impact on the health of the community.” (from the Medibank website)
In November 2016 Medibank faced several questions from shareholders regarding their fossil fuel investments and their lack of preparedness for the impacts of global warming on their business.
Six months later some customers and shareholders are starting to get restless at what appears to be a lack of action on the issue by Australia’s biggest private health insurer.
The health sector is waking up to the direct health impacts of fossil fuels and the resulting health impacts of climate change following clarion calls on the issue from medical bodies around the world, including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
The World Health Organisation has predicted that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
Medibank has already divested from tobacco and “controversial” weapons, acknowledging the hypocrisy of investing in products which threaten human health. Divestment from dirty fossil fuels is needed for exactly the same reason.
HCF was the first health insurer to announce their divestment from fossil fuels in February 2017. Latrobe Health Services quickly followed by ruling out coal, oil and gas investments.
The pressure is now building on the rest of the private health sector to distance themselves from industries that harm their customers and their bottom line.
If you have private health insurance you can contact your insurer and ask for fossil fuel divestment using the form below.
Click here for an overview of the entire private health sector.