Greenpeace has welcomed the decision by Dutch insurer Aegon to turn away from investment in coal but said more can be done by the industry.
The environmental group has said Aegon’s announcement today that it will reduce investments in the coal industry is a step in the right direction. Aegon’s policy also applies to the investments of its US branch, Transamerica and covers in total €140 billion in investments.
Aegon now has 104 coal companies on its exclusion list. Greenpeace Netherlands and German environmental group Urgewald, which negotiated with the insurance company, call it an important step from one of the largest financial institutions in Europe.
“This is a good step in the right direction by Aegon, but more coal companies should be excluded. Insurers know better than anyone that damage claims as a result of extreme weather are becoming very expensive. Forest fires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines show that the climate crisis is already having major and disastrous consequences,” said Kees Kodde, campaigner at Greenpeace Netherlands.
Heffa Schucking, Director at Urgewald welcomed the decision but added that there is still room for improvement.
“The criteria for utilities are weak in Aegon’s new global policy, as the big coal utilities are still off the hook,” she said. “But the new policy of Aegon Netherlands is better, as it includes a 30% criterion for utilities. Aegon international should follow the lead of Aegon Netherlands.”
Aegon has included an exception for its coal investments in Poland because it claims that it has no influence on its Polish pension fund.
“Aegon will have to solve this problem, because new coal plants and coal mines are still being planned in Poland, thanks in part to Aegon’s investments there. This exception is untenable,” said Ms Schucking.