The climate for the insurance sector has changed this week as the issue of the environment and the long-term health of the planet has been a theme for some serious debate.
From insurers being called out for their coverage of a major fossil fuel project in Canada to the announcement that the industry will be required to report its carbon footprint in the UK, it has pushed COVID related issues onto the back burner.
Therefore, today’s plea to European insurers to support efforts to clean up the seas has a foot in both camps.
Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is an increasing threat for marine life and one that environmentalists believe governments and businesses need to tackle.
The adoption of the Single Use Plastic Directive by the European Union in 2019 represented an ambitious step to get rid of the ten most polluting items found on European beaches.
However, Seas At Risk, warn that one year after the entry into force of the directive, the transposition of the legislation into domestic law has stalled in most European countries. In addition, the COVID crisis has led to a dramatic surge in the use and littering of single-use plastics.
“The communication failure at national level to explain that reusable food containers, water bottles or coffee cups, are as safe as single-use plastic came at a high price. As a result, plastic waste and littering surged. This intensifies the urgency to cope with pollution coming from throw-away plastics”, says Frédérique Mongodin, Senior Marine Litter Policy Officer at Seas At Risk.
Over 100 scientists recently issued a joint statement to dispel doubts about the safety of reusable plastics containers during the pandemic, refuting the faulty arguments of the plastics industry, which opportunistically promoted single-use plastics as the safest way to protect our health against the COVID-19 virus.
“Time has come to sound the alarm bell and call on national governments to take up their responsibilities. Only effective measures to reduce single-use plastics on the ground supported by a strong accountability of the corporate community will help solving plastic pollution”, added Ms Mongodin.
Seas At Risk said its national members and partners are concerned about the state of European seas, and about the slow reaction of national governments. “Ambitious consumption reduction targets for food containers and beverage cups – resulting from the implementation of the Single Use Plastic Directive – are a fundamental element of the Blue Manifesto, the roadmap supported by over 100 NGOs that sets concrete measures to achieve a clean and healthy ocean by 2030,” it said.
While governments have a key role so does the business community, and again the hope from the group is that insurers can put pressure on their clients to mend their ways and their operations in order to reduce the levels of single use plastic and look at ways that disposal is not all at sea.