Hundreds of students and recent graduates of top UK universities have pledged a “career boycott” of major insurers, stating that they will not work for firms including Lloyd’s of London should they support controversial fossil fuel projects.
More than 500 current and recent students from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Edinburgh and others have warned that they will keep a close eye on firms that fail to shift to climate-friendly policies.
“We refuse to put our professional careers at the service of climate wreckers that insure those responsible for the climate crisis,” the letter – sent to insurance market Lloyd’s of London, as well as individual firms including Beazley, Hiscox, Chaucer and Tokio Marine Kiln – said. “Insurers’ lack of action on climate change will cost them talented workers.”
A recent survey conducted by Deloitte found that more than half of Gen Z recruits tended to research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job, while one in six have already changed jobs or sectors over climate concerns. A further 25% say they plan to move roles because of their employers’ climate impact in the future.
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The letter comes before the Lloyd’s of London annual general meeting in London on Thursday, where bosses have already warned they are expecting protests, which are likely to include climate activists.
In the letter, the students explained that signatories would pay particular attention to insurers that decide to work with TotalEnergies and Equinor, which they said were currently seeking insurance for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) – scheduled to transport oil from Uganda to Tanzania – and the Rosebank oilfield – which is the largest undeveloped oilfield in the North Sea.
The students also noted that nearly two dozen insurers had already ruled out supporting the African pipeline, including several that worked within the of Lloyd’s of London market.
“Since 2017, at least 41 insurers have adopted restrictions on underwriting coal, 22 on tar sands and 13 on conventional oil and gas. But Lloyd’s of London and many Lloyd’s managing agents are lagging behind and putting our lives at risk by continuing to insure oil and gas,” the letter stated.
In his reaction, Sacha Ruello, a 21-year-old political studies student from University College London, said that while she was keeping an open mind about what career she might pursue after her final year of university, she would turn down any recruiter from insurers supporting the expansion of fossil fuels.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.