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NGOs urge Marsh, Aon to withdraw as coal advisers

Posted On: Aug. 13, 2019 10:05 AM CST


Environmental NGOs are asking brokers Marsh Inc. and Aon PLC to withdraw as advisers to a proposed $2.6 billion Vietnamese coal-fired power station.

The global Unfriend Coal campaign and Australia-based NGO Market Forces outlined the Van Phong 1 project’s environmental and social impacts, including undermining the Paris climate agreement, excessive local air pollution and forced resettlement and lack of compensation for affected communities, as well as ongoing legal actions on these issues, in letters dated June 27, but publicly released on Tuesday.

“Given the issues with Van Phong 1, we urge you to advise your client not to proceed with this project and withdraw your own involvement,” the organizations said in the letters.

The letters also reiterate previous requests that Marsh and Aon cease brokering insurance for all new coal power projects and argue that by supporting coal power and Van Phong 1, the brokers are undermining their commitment to communities, sustainability and the goals of the Paris climate agreement, according to the letters.

The Paris climate agreement, which was reached in December 2015, reaffirmed a goal of limiting the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius and committed countries to develop plans to reduce emissions. President Trump announced in 2017 that the United States would withdraw from the agreement, but many major U.S. corporations have publicly committed to its goals.

A spokeswoman for the campaign said the brokers have not responded to the letters and spokespersons for the brokers could not be immediately reached for comment.


Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. in June pledged to utilize 100% renewable power in all global operations by the end of 2022 and to stop writing certain thermal coal and oil sands risks after two years as part of its commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement. In July, Chubb Ltd. became the first major U.S. insurer to phase out its coal investments and insurance policies, saying it would no longer sell insurance to or invest in companies that make more than 30% of their revenue from coal mining.

A climate report released by the federal government last year featured dire warnings about the impact climate change will have on different regions and industry sectors in the United States and the economic losses that will materialize if climate warming continues largely unchecked, experts say.