Re/insurers Allianz, AXA and Swiss Re are among the top five companies to receive the praise from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 2018 due to their actions on climate change.
Data compiled by research consultancy SIGWATCH shows that the trio of re/insurers overtook global brands such as McDonald’s, Aldi and H&M as a result of their commitment to divesting from coal and disengaging from the coal industry.
Allianz, AXA and Swiss Re were among the companies to rule out support for the development of Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia last month, and have also been commended by NGOs for a number of other climate initiatives.
In contrast energy firms with fossil fuel links, such as Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, Energy Transfer and TransCanada were among the brands to be most criticised by NGOs in 2018.
Brands such as Coca-Cola and Walmart were also heavily criticised due to their policies on plastics pollution, SIGWATCH noted.
“It is unsurprising that consumer-facing companies are responsive to activists’ concerns, as we know they feel their customers care about such issues and they want to protect their brands,” said Robert Blood, founder and managing director of SIGWATCH.
“However, it is new to see financial institutions joining them,” he added. “Undoubtedly this is because they are facing up to the reality of climate change and believe they cannot avoid their responsibility to use their market power to make a difference.”
“Climate change concerns also explain why companies strongly associated with fossil fuels such as the big oil and gas pipeline builders in North America are getting hammered by activists. This is unlikely to change until American industry and politicians take climate change seriously.”
SIGWATCH has been compiling annual rankings of brands most praised and most criticised by NGOs for three years. The rankings are based on its monitoring of more than 9,000 NGOs and their campaign actions over the previous 12 months.