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Suncorp defends fossil fuel stance

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Suncorp has defended its record amid a campaign by climate group Market Forces pushing it to stop underwriting fossil fuel projects and ditch its coal investments.

“Suncorp’s exposure to fossil fuel activities currently makes up less than 1% of our commercial insurance business, and less than 2% of our investments,” a spokesman says.

Market Forces campaigner Pablo Brait has accused Suncorp of being light on detail when it announced two years ago that it would reduce emissions-intensive investments to an immaterial amount.

“The terms ‘immaterial’ and ‘emissions-intensive’ have not been defined, and so it’s impossible to determine how significant these moves are,” Mr Brait says.

Suncorp says its responsible banking and insurance policy guidelines will detail how to manage its exposure to thermal coal and coal-fired generators.

Mr Brait told insuranceNEWS.com.au: “We want to see Suncorp break its ties with fossil fuel companies, and that means phasing out its investment in coal, oil and gas, and phasing out underwriting of [those industries].”

Market Forces’ online campaign, a play on Suncorp’s motto, is titled Suncorp: Create a Better Today (and Bugger Tomorrow).

Although Mr Brait acknowledges that any gap in coverage may be filled by an international insurer, he says every bit helps.

“Our work is part of an international campaign called Unfriend Coal. There are already 11 companies, counting QBE, that are restricting their underwriting of coal, and even more that are dumping their coal shares. Company by company, we’re trying to limit access to insurance and investments to the industries that are fuelling global warming.”