Mutual insurers to invest in driving green agenda

The chair of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) has told the United Nations how the Federation’s members are collectively investing $570 billion in responsible investments, such as green bonds, social bonds and resilience bonds; many of which will be targeting climate change and its effects.

Hilde Vernaillen (pic) was speaking during a high-level UN panel discussion as part of the 76th President of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and explained that whilst the investment numbers from ICMIF members are hugely significant, it is the partnership work that ICMIF is doing with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) that also has the potential to bring about the real systemic change that the planet needs.

The partnership began in November 2019 and a joint report by ICMIF and the UNDRR was published in April 2021, “From protection to prevention: The role of cooperative and mutual insurance in disaster risk reduction”, which summarised seven mechanisms for supporting disaster risk reduction and resilience that ICMIF members are working with to embed the Sendai Agreement into their businesses.

Mutual and cooperative insurers represent almost 30% of the world’s insurance market and USD 10 trillion in assets. The insurance industry is uniquely positioned to assist with delivering climate action as it has both the assets to invest and the in-depth knowledge of the many risks that need to be mitigated both on a macro level and a community level to make both people and our planet more resilient.

The ICMIF/UNDRR partnership is now rolling out pilot initiatives which will bring together the investment and risk parts of member organisation’s businesses. Insurers will utilise their investments to invest in resilient infrastructure projects that need funding via a sustainable investment mechanism to realise projects that have climate, disaster risk reduction and/or resilience outcomes.  This is a unique way of looking at funding much-needed projects whilst embedding sustainability and resilience across the supply chain.

“The pilots will require each stakeholder to consider their investments in a different way and to work in partnership to deliver resilient outcomes,” said Vernaillen.  “They will look to leverage other private sector funding to ensure public projects are delivered in a resilient and climate positive solution.

“This truly is a partnership that can embed the seven disaster risk reduction mechanisms and the Sustainable Development Goals and will be very scalable across other countries and therefore ultimately make communities more resilient; delivering climate action for people, planet and prosperity.”

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