COP26 set some very clear priorities for governments, businesses and individuals including encouraging commitments to reduce methane emissions, prevent deforestation and protect biodiversity.
Mark Carney’s coalition, Gfanz, announced that it could provide up to $130 trillion of capital to help the transition to net zero, while UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced firms will have to publish net zero roadmaps by 2023, making the UK, its public companies and financial institutions part of the world’s "first-ever net zero aligned global financial centre".
It was also announced that a new board - the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) - will be set up to develop a single global set of sustainability disclosure requirements to try to tackle greenwashing by companies.2
The insurance industry can play a key role in helping deliver those priorities – by supporting the transition to a greener future through its underwriting and investment policies.
We believe that firms that heed ESG principles are likely to be better risks over the long term. ESG considerations will become an increasingly significant underwriting factor in the coming years, and we are keen to build relationships with, and support clients that demonstrate strong ESG credentials at this stage.
We recognise that as an industry, we have not seized opportunities as soon as we should have. We cannot accelerate further now without leaving our comfort zone. This will require greater investment in and sharing of data and as we learn more about how ESG principles can reduce risk, we will build the lessons into our underwriting, claims and investment process to deliver innovative insurance solutions that provide additional cover to clients that perform highly against established ESG metrics.
We hope to see tangible benefits in managing environmental risks over the next two years and this research indicates where some of the priorities might lie.