The insurance industry launched a new climate change initiative in conjunction with the Prince of Wales yesterday, aiming to put pressure on both British businesses and consumers to take environmental issues more seriously.
The so-called "ClimateWise" principles were drawn up by a group of global insurers and brokers, as well as the Lloyd's of London market. The Prince of Wales' business and environment programme was also involved in the working party.
As well as promoting environmental issues by rewarding customers who make an effort to reduce their carbon emissions, the industry also hopes to put pressure on businesses, by using its collective might as investors. The insurance industry accounts for around a fifth of the entire London Stock Exchange, and has the power to vote off company directors that refuse to adopt eco-friendly policies.
Commenting on the initiative, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, said: "The ClimateWise principles are targeted on those areas of skill and expertise within the insurance sector, and are the result of nearly a year's hard work. I hope and pray that they will be useful in encouraging both collective and individual action to tackle climate change, and I do congratulate all those involved."
Peter Hubbard, chief executive of AXA Insurance and chairman of the working group that drew up the principles, added: "The responsibility for addressing global warming rests with us all, and will require co-operation and agreement amongst individuals, businesses and countries. It is this spirit of co-operation that has led us to agree the ClimateWise principles and to take the lead in raising this issue.
"ClimateWise demonstrates the importance this industry attaches to this challenge. The principles set a framework for us taking up this exciting challenge of changing behaviour, raising awareness and encouraging new ways of working."
The initiative was launched at a climate change conference hosted by the Association of British Insurers yesterday. The ABI said one of its objectives was to continue making insurance available to households, even in areas at high risk of flooding.
Stephen Haddrill, the director general of the ABI, said the principle would encourage "greater climate-friendly behaviour among our customers, through our investment strategy and risk analysis."