For immediate release, 21 August 2020
Suncorp has sent a clear message that it will not be a part of the Federal Government’s gas expansion plans, with an updated policy released today that bans the major Australia-based insurance company from investing in, financing and insuring new and additional oil and gas exploration and production.
Together with its full year financial results, Suncorp has updated its Fossil Fuels Guideline (see top of page 28). This guideline was first released in 2019, restricting the company from financing, investing in and underwriting new thermal coal mining and electricity generation, and committing it to phase out all thermal coal exposure by 2025.
The guideline has now been broadened to include a similar ban on new oil and gas exploration and production, with a phase out of all lending and underwriting exposure to oil and gas production by 2025. Direct investment in oil and gas exploration and production companies will be phased out entirely by 2040, with shares in the most polluting 10% dumped immediately, the most polluting 25% by 2025, the top 50% by 2030.
“While this new guideline has significant gaps, that is, it doesn’t address oil and gas pipelines nor gas-fired power stations, it is a great step forward for Suncorp which puts it ahead of many other insurance companies worldwide. Suncorp has recognised that an expansion in oil and gas production will undermine the Paris Agreement on climate change and worsen the floods, bushfires, droughts and storms which are hitting its profits.”
“With this new policy Suncorp has sent a clear message to its customers, shareholders and the Federal Government, that it will not be a part of any expansion of dirty gas production”, said Pablo Brait, campaigner at Market Forces.
Suncorp joins IAG, which released a policy in 2019 phasing out underwriting all coal mining and oil and gas extraction by 2023. QBE is now the only major Australia-based insurer without a policy restricting oil and gas investing and underwriting.
“QBE is now isolated as the only Australia-based insurer willing to insure new climate-destroying gasfields and highly polluting tar sands oil. QBE must stop undermining efforts to bring the climate crisis under control and join Suncorp and IAG in phasing out oil and gas exposure. With global warming-fueled extreme weather hitting insurance company profits it makes no sense for QBE to continue to support polluting industries”, Mr Brait concluded.