Tokio coal pledge falls short say campaigners

Japan’s Tokio Marine has published a position on coal as part of its climate strategy which has not met with approval from environmental campaigners

The insurer’s announcement came less than a week after insurance group Sompo announced it intended to limit the underwriting of the construction of new domestic coal power projects.

The Japanese insurer’s new climate strategy states that “Tokio Marine will not provide new insurance underwriting capacities to coal fired power generation projects”.

However, environmentalists said the statement also includes a range of exceptions, including vaguely worded factors, such as national energy policy and other considerations in the relevant country, the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits and other international guidelines, and “the availability of other options and alternative technologies”.

It called for the consideration of ways to mitigate climate risks through unproven technologies, for example, by helping advance “measures such as the use of advanced, highly-efficient power generation technologies or carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies”.

A group of Japanese NGOs from the No Coal Japan campaign is expected to publish a response welcoming Tokio Marine‘s coal position, but urging the company to establish a policy to withdraw from all coal underwriting and investments, and not to insure the controversial Vung ang 2 coal power plant in Vietnam, in particular.

The Insure Our Future campaign’s East Asia Finances Advisor Tanya Roberts-Davis said: “Unfortunately, Tokio Marine’s new position on coal allows for several exceptions and loopholes that make it difficult to see whether there are any projects they will actually exclude from cover.

“It is evident that their 2020 climate strategy is a greenwashing attempt to boost business, rather than a commitment to move away from fossil fuel insurance. Additionally, it fails to make any to make any commitments to respect the rights of those in the communities affected by their investments, including indigenous peoples. Like Sompo, Tokio Marine’s weak position on coal lags far behind any of the 19 coal exit policies which have been adopted to date by other insurers.”