Japanese Insurer MS&AD Completely Stops Underwriting Coal Power
~Tokio Marine and SOMPO’s responses are called into question~
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Friends of the Earth Japan
On June 25, MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings (hereinafter referred to as MS&AD), one of Japan’s major non-life insurance companies, announced a policy (*1) to completely stop underwriting new coal-fired power projects. Last September, MS&AD stopped underwriting insurance for new coal-fired power plants but allowed a wide range of exceptions (*2). This time, the insurer eliminated those exceptions and strengthened its policy. MS&AD is the first Japanese major non-life insurance company to announce a complete end to coal underwriting and we welcome its pioneering work. At the same time, we call on Tokio Marine Holdings and SOMPO Holdings, which are also major Japanese non-life insurance companies, to at the least, establish similar policies immediately.
However, MS&AD needs to further strengthen its underwriting policy as a non-life insurance company. On May 20, the company announced the “MS&AD Insurance Group Initiatives To Achieve Net Zero By 2050” (*3) and set a goal to reduce CO2 emissions from its offices and employees’ commute to net-zero by 2050. Although this is a positive initiative, as with the other two major Japanese non-life insurers, no commitments have been made to reduce emissions from its underwriting portfolio, which is the core business of MS&AD and a key initiative towards achieving net-zero.
At the Insurance Development Forum held on June 8, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on insurance companies to end fossil fuel insurance by stating that “we need net zero commitments to cover your underwriting portfolios, and this should include the underwriting of coal — and all fossil fuels” (*4). Insurance companies should immediately set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 for their underwriting portfolios.
According to the “Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector” report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on May 18, 2021, new fossil fuel mining operations cannot be approved and the electricity sector should have net-zero emissions globally by 2040 (*5). Therefore, in order to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050, it is necessary to end not only coal-fired power generation but also new fossil fuel mining and fossil fuel power generation projects, including oil and gas.
We also call on Tokio Marine Holdings and SOMPO Holdings to set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 for their underwriting portfolios and establish a policy to end underwriting for new fossil fuel projects, including coal-fired power projects.
*5：International Energy Agency (IEA), (2021), Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, pp. 20, IEA, Paris, https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/0716bb9a-6138-4918-8023-cb24caa47794/NetZeroby2050-ARoadmapfortheGlobalEnergySector.pdf.
Yuki Tanabe, Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)