Along with our partners in the #StopEACOP coalition, Coal Action Network has been targetting insurers to turn the tide on fossil fuel insurance. This month, QBE, Suncorp, Generali, Aspen and Helvetia stated that they will not be providing insurance support to the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
They follow five other insurance companies who ruled out the project in recent months, making 18 insurance companies who have ruled it out overall. QBE and Suncorp are two of Australia's biggest insurers. Generali is Italy's biggest insurer.
In addition, Italy’s largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Germany’s second largest bank DZ Bank, as well as Natixis from France, have joined the growing list of banks that have ruled out direct finance for the EACOP project, bringing the total to 24. Spanish bank Santander is also understood not to be financing the project, which would be precluded as part of the bank's Environmental, Social and Climate Change Risk Management Policy.
Is the EACOP project looking less and less viable? There are now no French banks backing EACOP (Total Energies being a French company), and these refusals are coming from the company's former backers.
“With so many of Total’s financiers out of the running to join the $2.5 billion project loan the EACOP needs to proceed, the pressure is growing on those few that remain. This includes South Africa’s Standard Bank, Japan’s SMBC and MUFG, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China, as well as UK’s Standard Chartered, which as chair of the Net Zero Banking Alliance should not be going anywhere near new oil projects of any kind, especially not one as mired in human rights and environmental damage as this.”
-Ryan Brightwell, Campaign Lead Banks and Human Rights at BankTrack
EACOP has been condemned by the European parliament for its associated human rights abuses in Uganda and Tanzania. The pipeline and associated Tilenga oil field are expected to displace almost 118,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania, and since last week nine peaceful protestors were arrested following a student-led peaceful demonstration against EACOP in Kampala, Uganda.
“Lending or underwriting to projects that are mired in human rights violations, lacking in free prior and informed consent is wrong, shameful and unacceptable. The (re)insurers and banks that are still considering or are committed to underwriting EACOP cannot claim innocence, they are on the side of the human rights violators and this therefore makes them complicit.”
-Omar Elmawi, co-ordinator of the StopEACOP
Many of the insurance companies which have failed to rule out insurance for EACOP have syndicates at Lloyd’s of London, where the companies behind EACOP have reportedly been looking for insurance cover. These include Arch, AIG, and Chubb to name a few. These insurers must rule out EACOP immediately, to stand against the human rights abuses that are taking place in the name of this climate-wrecking pipeline. Lloyd’s Council urgently needs to commit the marketplace to policies ruling out new fossil fuel projects in alignment with the science on keeping global temperatures below 1.5C warming.
Companies who have not responded to the campaign's requests for comment are:
Aegis London, AIG, Arch, Brit, Canopius, Chaucer, Chubb, Cincinnati, Liberty Mutual, Lancashire Syndicates and Tokio Marine Kiln.
All of these have syndicates at Lloyds of London. The Lloyds council is responsible for regulating the Lloyds Marketplace (see Lloyds explainer here), and could bring in measures to stop fossil fuel projects, and those with human rights abuses, from being targetted.
We can see these tactics are working. But we need all insurance companies to rule out EACOP, and stop the toxic pipeline at its source. Next, we want Arch insurance to rule it out, and we know that constant pressure works.
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We are an environmental organisation dedicated to ending coal mining and use in the UK for the sake of our collective climate and ecosystems. So you’d think we’d celebrate the claim by Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd that it will finally stop mining coal today at Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. But we’re not. Because the abject failure of Merthyr County Borough Council to stop…
People hailing from Cumbria to London, and everywhere in between, descended on the Mines and Money Conference in London across two days (28th-29th Nov 2023). We demanded that investors stop pouring cash into the mining sector, and instead invest in our collective future. Together with Fossil Free London and other groups, we greeted investors with…
The insurers that have ruled out underwriting the mine are AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re and Talanx. These are the first financial institutions to rule out any involvement with the project, and the win represents a new phase in the campaign to stop the project from going ahead.
Today’s global actions focused specifically on the state-owned China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sinosure is said to be in advanced talks with the Ugandan government about providing credit for the project.
On 18th October dozens of protesters staged a sit-in occupation of the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Global mining companies are coming to London soon attempting to find investors in their ruinous projects at the Mines and Money Conference (28th to 30th November). Join our protests against it!
01 September 2022: Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd applies for a S.73 time extension to mine coal from Ffos-y-fran, and to accordingly delay and vary restoration works.
06 September 2022: Planning permission ends for coal mining at the Ffos-y-fran site, after 15 years and 3 months of operations.
12 September 2022: first reports to MTCBC have been made by local residents of coaling beyond the end of planning permission.
Over 30 Welsh NGOs and businesses have signed a letter to Welsh Minister Julie James and Deputy Minister Lee Waters, demanding they draw a line in the sand and announce ban on any further coal mines on Welsh soil. The letter was delivered on 11th October 2023.
On 15th September 2023, The Guardian reported that Tata Steel accepted Government funding to avoid closing its steelworks in Port Talbot, South Wales, by decarbonising it instead – but at a loss of up to 3,000 jobs. The UK Government is providing £500 million, and Tata Steel is expected to provide another £725 million…