Medibank backs off emissions
Medibank Private is moving away from high carbon investments.
A year after it announced that it was changing its portfolio to have less exposure to tobacco money.
The major Australian insurer says the decision was based on increasing community expectations.
“In line with our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our customers, Medibank has begun a process to reduce our exposure to carbon intensive assets,” says Medibank chair Elizabeth Alexander.
“As the global economy makes the transition to low-carbon emitting energy, we believe it is important that our investment portfolio reflects this.”
High carbon-emitting companies make up less than 0.5 per cent of Medibank's investments, but even so, Ms Alexander said investments will be offloaded over the next 12 months.
“We understand that the health of the environment has an impact on the health of the community,” she said.
“Medibank acknowledges the science of climate change and the impacts on human health.”
Medibank will also invest $25 million in green bonds for carbon reduction and environmentally-responsible projects.
Environmental economists at Market Forces say Medibank’s decision will strip tens of millions of dollars from fossil fuels.
Market Forces spokesperson Pablo Brait said it was a sign that Medibank was aware that climate change would harm human health.
“It's extremely positive that Medibank has ended its unhealthy addiction to fossil fuels,” Mr Brait said.
“The medical profession has long understood that climate change has a devastating effect on people's health, so it stands to reason medical insurers should not be invested in the industries which drive it.”
Medibank Private follows BUPA, NIB and HCF in divesting from high-emissions interests.
It is also moving to make its entire investment portfolio tobacco free, due to the obvious health consequences of the product.
Medibank shares bumped up after the announcement.