Protests fall short of stopping Adani, but insurer signals change

Months of protests and campaigning has fallen well short of global insurer Marsh dumping Adani, but a new policy from the company has the potential to have impacts across the economy.

May 25, 2020, updated May 25, 2020
Adani's thermal coal mine has avoided problems with its insurer Marsh.

Adani's thermal coal mine has avoided problems with its insurer Marsh.

The Stop Adani campaign had targeted Marsh for months in a bid to force the company into dumping Adani and its Carmichael thermal coal project in central Queensland.

But instead, Marsh delivered a new policy activists said was a “slap in the face to the community” but it also sets in place procedures for the company to either not work with a company or proceed “with appropriate limitations in scope or content”.

The new list of engagement principles is wide and will impact a large number of projects across the economy.

“We have developed procedures to bolster our commitment to sustainable development goals around affordable health care, human dignity, gender equality, energy security and access to reliable energy supplies, inclusive economic growth and job creation, climate change mitigation and resilience to climate related natural disasters and the promotion of public-private partnerships to achieve these goals,” the policy said.

“When considering proposed engagements that potentially conflict, in a fundamental way, with these goals, we will review the proposed project to evaluate whether the work can  proceed either as proposed or with appropriate limitations in scope or content.”

The Stop Adani campaign said the response was a whimper, rather than a bang. It followed a similar failure to force Siemens to dump the project. Last year’s federal election was also dramatically altered by the campaign when central Queensland voters rejected Labor’s policies on thermal coal mining.  It has worked to force banks to change their policies on funding projects that impact on climate.

“But it has left the door wide open for Marsh to rule out Adani,” the Stop Adani campaign said.

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“Adani’s coal project clearly conflicts with a safe climate future. We have been pushing Marsh and they have been moving.

“The reason Marsh created this policy in the first place was because of relentless pressure from the Stop Adani grassroots movement.

“Moving a company of this size in the current global state of affairs is a remarkable feat.”

Adani said it was undeterred by the activist campaign and would not be intimidated.


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