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Top insurers called to end trade with Russian companies

4th March 2022 - Author: Katie Baker

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a coalition of NGOs and groups around the world are calling on financial institutions most exposed to Russian oil, gas, and coal to cease all ties with these companies.

ukraine-warMore than 75 organisations have written to insurers, which include AIG, Allianz, Atradius Re, AXA, Chubb, General Re, Hannover Re, Lloyd’s, Munich Re, Partner Re, SCOR, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine, Travelers, and Zurich, asking them to stop insuring the Russian companies.

This is the start of a campaign that will target up to 100 financial institutions most exposed to Russian fossil fuels, dubbed the Putin 100.

The list of Russian companies to be excluded comprises over 60 major oil, gas, and coal companies that are either headquartered or active in Russia.

The letter also calls on financial institutions to suspend all support for TotalEnergies, Fortum/Uniper, Wintershall DEA and other non-Russian fossil fuel companies active in Russia.

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The export of coal, oil and gas is bankrolling Putin’s autocratic regime and his illegal war on Ukraine. Financial institutions should immediately stop supporting the production of these fossil fuels, say campaigners.

However, these institutions have remained silent. Oil and gas sales made up 36% of Russia’s budget last year and have allowed Putin to build up $470bn in foreign reserves. According to Morningstar, 14% of ESG investment funds are exposed to Russia.

As Svitlana Krakovska, the Ukrainian climate scientist and IPCC report co-author, has said: “Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots – fossil fuels – and our dependence on them.”

Svitlana Romanko, Ukraine based climate activist and strategist, said: ‘Though there is a war, a horrific war in Ukraine, financial institutions and fossil fuel companies are actively financing Russian oil, gas and coal and thereby fueling continued aggression and Putin’s war machine.

“We call upon the governments, western companies and financial institutions to divest, end all trade and to embargo all fossil fuels from Russia. We call for justice and peace. The world’s addiction to fossil fuels continues to create conflict around the world. We call to overcome this.

“We want no more wars. Fossil fuel expansion globally must be immediately halted. Nations worldwide must commit to the rapid and just transition away from all fossil fuels and fossil fuel non proliferation. Fossil fuel companies cannot be allowed to make their ‘peace washing’ to justify extensive fossil fuel exploration.”

Peter Bosshard, coordinator of the Insure our Future campaign, said: Russia’s fossil fuel industry, which is bankrolling Putin’s war on Ukraine, could not operate without insurance.

“At a time when even oil majors have written off billions of dollars in Russian assets overnight, the insurance sector is missing in action.

“Just like investors and financiers, insurers need to immediately stop all financial services to the Russian coal, oil and gas industry and stand with Ukraine.”

Lucie Pinson, executive director of Reclaim Finance, added: “It’s horrific to find out that even in a time of war, many financial institutions are trying to straddle the fence and condemn Putin’s war while protecting vested interests in the oil and gas industry.

“Our call goes beyond putting all Russian fossil fuel industry on notice and financial institutions must sever ties with TotalEnergies which refuses to leave Russia.”.

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