13 November 2017
Australia’s biggest health insurer today announced it will divest from fossil fuels due to the negative health impacts of climate change.
This is a huge win for the thousands of shareholders, customers and other members of the community who have contacted Medibank to point out the contradiction between promoting human health and investing in fossil fuels.
Please take a moment to celebrate this win, and send Medibank a message to congratulate the insurer on this important announcement. You can also let Medibank know that you’ll be watching to ensure the fossil fuel exit is as swift and comprehensive as possible.
What does this announcement mean?
Medibank have committed to reduce their exposure to fossil fuels by firstly moving their international share portfolio to a low carbon index within the next 12 months. This means Medibank will sell off its investments in the worst carbon polluters listed on stock markets other than in Australia.
As for Australian investments, Medibank intends to make the same shift, but cannot commit to a timeframe because a low carbon index does not exist for Australian shares yet. Importantly, Medibank will join a number of other institutional investors in pushing to get this product created.
We know that Medibank has around $450 million invested in shares both in Australia and around the world. The insurer’s divestment decision therefore presents a significant shift of money away from dirty fossil fuels.
What about the other health insurers?
As Australia’s biggest health insurer, Medibank’s divestment announcement should serve as an example to the many health insurers who remain invested in dirty fossil fuels.
Medibank’s decision follows a similar announcement from HCF in February. HCF has divested its international share portfolio, but not its Australian shares.
A number of smaller health insurers have also confirmed they do not invest in fossil fuels.