Exclusive: StopEACOP protest held outside BIBA Conference

This morning (15/05/24), delegates for this year’s British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) Conference will be met by peaceful protest organised by the StopEACOP coalition.

Related topics:  insuring the planet,  EACOP
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
15th May 2024
Credit: Stuart Spray
"Without insurance, climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects can’t go ahead."
- Martin Porter, Spokesperson for the StopEACOP coalition

Speaking on behalf of the StopEACOP coalition, Martin Porter emphasised that “Without insurance, climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects can’t go ahead. Those who’ve contributed least to the problem will be the most affected, and we have collected some of their voices in the hope of persuading the insurance industry to stop backing fossil fuel projects.”

“These are people who accept the science and understand risk. We believe they will see that as well as the moral case for climate action, and the reputational risk of not acting, there is a very strong business case for investing in a cleaner, greener future," he said.

Therefore, StopEACOP has opted to peacefully protest outside the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) Conference which will be attended by 9,000 insurance professionals from across the UK. This year’s theme is ‘What’s next?’ with seminars and keynote speakers offering insight into the future of the insurance industry. StopEACOP asks what’s next for climate change and the industry’s involvement with oil and gas projects.

Today, the coalition aims to bring the voices of those most affected by climate change to Manchester and will be calling on the insurance industry to pledge not to insure oil and gas projects such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and more locally, the West Cumbria coal mine.

Given that BIBA recently reaffirmed its ongoing dedication to Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) for 2024, highlighting its “commitment to sustainable finance,” StopEACOP protesters are hopeful that delegates will recognise the importance of reducing their industry’s environmental footprint.

“2024 will see us solidify our work and better demonstrate, through our actions, our commitment,” said Graeme Tudgill, CEO of BIBA.

Today’s protest builds on last year’s efforts which saw StopEACOP peacefully protest outside Marsh McLennan’s London-based office, calling for the insurer to cut ties with EACOP.

Speaking exclusively with Protection Reporter, Sacha Ruello-Jossic, University College London (UCL) student & climate justice activist, said the protest was “an act of global solidarity to take action [especially as] the financial actors deciding to support the pipeline are based here, and the people protesting peacefully against EACOP in East Africa are silenced and repressed.”

In the aftermath, hundreds of students and recent graduates of UK universities confirmed a “career boycott” of major insurers, saying they wouldn’t work for firms including Lloyd’s of London if they continue to support oil and gas projects. In a letter seen by Protection Reporter, more than 500 current and recent students from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, UCL, University of Edinburgh, and others said they will keep a close eye on firms that fail to shift to climate-friendly policies.

Previously, Angela Sivilli, Director of Chief Claims Office & Financial Lines at Allianz, warned the industry that the “younger generation will not allow companies to continue investing in fossil fuels and carbon-intensive activities and will seek to hold companies and directors to account for their actions related to climate change, including claims for greenwashing.”

“Everyone sees through half promises and incoherent positions, so as long as the financial sector doesn’t act according to the objective reality of climate change, we’ll be here causing trouble,” StopEACOP protesters agreed.

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