PARIS/GENEVA, 22 March 2002 - KPA, Sweden, a pension fund with $1.5 billion in assets has become the latest signatory to the UNEP FI Statement of Environmental Commitment by the Insurance Industry Initiative, a commitment by companies to incorporate environmental principles into their internal and external business activities.
KPA becomes the ninety-first member of this rapidly growing group of leading insurance, reinsurance and pension fund companies from twenty-seven countries that have pledged to achieve a balance between economic development, human welfare and the environment. An official signing ceremony was held during the UNEP Financial Initiatives Global Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro last week.
Representing UNEP at the ceremony, Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Assistant Executive Director of UNEP, said, "Insurers increasingly recognise that taking environmental considerations into account in their daily business operations not only enhances shareholder value but also makes good business sense. The financial services sector has an important stake in promoting sustainable development and if companies like KPA, Sweden are joining our initiatives it is because they find added value in this partnership with UNEP."
Environmental degradation and ecological catastrophes threaten the very basis of the insurance industry, which depends on being able to manage and reduce risks. The UNEP insurance industry initiative enables exchanging information on best practices, the possibility to engage in a neutral dialogue with NGOs, discussions on themes of common interest, and access to other networks in which UNEP is engaged.
According to Carlos Joly, of Storebrand, and chair of the UNEP insurance industry initiative, "Significant breakthroughs have been made in some areas, for example, environmental standards for real estate property we own and also portfolio management that seeks to take environmental factors into account. But much still needs to be done, particularly in the area of insurance underwriting. We also want to motivate more companies in our field to take environmental challenges seriously."
UNEP encourages all insurance companies, including life, health and property insurers, to sign the Statement of Environmental Commitment.
The UNEP Financial Initiatives Global Roundtable was attended by more than 300 finance executives, government representatives, civil society opinion formers and leading NGOs. The outcomes were presented at the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey. They will also feed into the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this year.
For more information http://unepfi.net/. The UNEP FI Coordinator is Paul Clements-Hunt, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Robert Bisset, UNEP Press officer, email@example.com, at KPA, Rolf Wikander, Environmental Manager, Tel: +46-8-665.0630, Fax: +46-8-665.0685, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNEP Information Note: Paris/2002/02