A new important step in the fight against climate change in the financial sector was reached today. At the UNEP FI Global Round Table preceding the launch of the 4th Climate Finance Day held in Paris, the CEO of AXA, Thomas Buberl, announced the decision to extend the AXA Group’s climate policies to the new AXA XL division, which notably means applying underwriting and investment restrictions to a significant business book.
As a result, AXA XL will no longer underwrite the construction and operations of coal plants, coal mines, oil sands extraction and pipelines as well as arctic drilling. Beyond climate policies, tobacco and “controversial weapons” business will also be restricted. This will represent over 100 million euros of gross written premiums. Moreover, the new division will apply AXA’s investment exclusions policy, constituting of 660 million euros in divestment.
A call to collective action
AXA also announced today its support for the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance’s launch of the PSI Climate Ambition Coalition, to be effective in 2019. Members of this coalition, when launched, would not only commit to actions on decarbonisation and climate resilience in their insurance and investment activities, but also raise their climate ambition, in line with the Paris Agreement.
To tackle climate change, we must use every lever possible. This means implementing an ambitious strategy everywhere we can. This is why I am very proud to onboard AXA XL into adopting our sustainability strategy. Above all, our conviction has always been that the fight against climate change requires collective action, therefore AXA is happy to support the future UN PSI Climate Ambition Coalition.
With all these announcements, AXA strengthens its commitment to fight climate change that started in 2015 before the COP21 Paris Agreement. This event committed governments to contain global warming under 2°C. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raised the alarm further by highlighting the difference between a “1.5°C” world and “2°C” world.