June 28, 2005

Finance giant Allianz wants G8 climate change move

By Jeremy Gaunt and Tom Burroughes

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Allianz Group, one of theworld's largest financial conglomerates, called on Tuesday forGroup of Eight leaders to come up with a clearer policy onclimate change so business can adapt to a global threat.

It said its industry needed long-term goals for reducingcarbon dioxide emissions. Ahead of a G8 meeting in Scotlandnext week, the German insurance, banking and investment giantunderlined its concerns by saying it would screen all itsbusinesses for risks linked to rising atmospheric levels ofcarbon dioxide (CO2).

It said the issue of global warming would in future bedealt with at board level.

"We will address the issue of climate change with othermajor risks that we need to manage within our company," JoachimFaber, a board member and chief executive officer of Allianz'sinvestment arm, told a news conference.

Faber told Reuters separately that the company was lobbyingon the issue in both Washington and Brussels.

He was speaking at the launch of a report written jointlywith the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in which the two saidthat the risks of climate change, blamed on high CO2 emissions,were real and were imposing heavy risks to business.

"Temperatures have already risen. Temperatures are going torise further," WWF UK Chief Executive Robert Napier said.

Allianz and WWF said the leaders of the United States,Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Russia --meeting at Gleneagles on July 6-8 -- needed to act.

It said in its report that financial services providersshould "call for a reliable, transparent and internationallycoordinated policy framework...."

They also needed "long-term and appropriate CO2-reductiongoals that provide certainty for investment decisions andinitiate business opportunities for clients."


British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hosting the G8 event,wants to step up the fight against climate change but facesskepticism from President Bush's administration, which disputesthe scientific basis for global warming.

Faber said Allianz hoped business and economic forces inthe United States would push the White House to adopt what hecalled "a more reasonable attitude."

Underlining Allianz's concerns, the report issued a seriesof recommendations for various businesses within the financialservices sector to avoid climate change risk and support loweremissions.

It said for example that insurers, already hit by a seriesof weather-related catastrophes, needed to develop riskassessment tools to control their exposure to naturaldisasters.

They should also work with industrial clients to developinsurance products supportive of low-carbon technology.

Banks needed, among other things, to facilitate finance forpublic programs fostering low-carbon technologies.

Investment companies, meanwhile, should evaluate clientportfolios for climate-change risk and help management ofcompanies they invest in to understand the impact of climatechange on their businesses.

Allianz is Europe's second-largest insurer by marketcapitalization and its investment arm Allianz Global Investorsmanages more than $1 trillion in investments.