Climate scorecards are the industry’s latest weapon in environmental fight

The insurance industry has stressed its environmental credentials once again, following on from the creation of lobby group ClimateWise.

An Allianz-sponsored ranking system has been created in an effort to put pressure on the G8 government leaders before their meeting in Japan next week.

The scorecards, which assess each country on nine criteria including renewable energy capacity, place the US in last place of the eight countries ranked, citing “high levels of emissions, high dependence on coal and oil and no effective federal policies”.

While insurers have long been working on climate change, the industry has in recent months placed more emphasis on its role as a catalyst for improved environmental practices.

ClimateWise was created last year with the goal of raising the profile of climate change issues. The ClimateWise initiative was a key subject of conversation between California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lloyd’s Chairman Lord Levene when they met in April.

It coincides with a recognition among insurers that they have a role in highlighting environmental issues due to several streams of their work.

Whether it is insuring and modelling floods and hurricanes, or estimating the cost and effects of environmental liability, insurers often possess the data and knowledge that would help convince decision-makers about the need for action to tackle ecological hazards.

Indeed, many argue there could be even greater opportunity for reinsurers in particular to play a role in environmental campaigning, due to the diverse international nature of their business, expertise and information sources.