Alignment with net zero by 2050
Issues and action
Last quarter, we co-filed a shareholder resolution arranged by Market Forces calling on QBE to align its underwriting and investment of oil and gas assets with keeping the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. This is the third year we co-filed climate resolutions against QBE. While QBE has announced a phase-out of its thermal coal exposure and taken climate action in other areas, its most recent announcements indicate a business-as-usual approach to underwriting new oil and gas projects until 2030 and beyond.
The AGM was held in May. In response to the resolution, the Chairman stated that in the lead up to 2030 QBE will be working with oil and gas customers to satisfy itself that they are on the transition path. Our Head of Ethics Research, Dr Stuart Palmer, pointed out that Climate Action 100+ has found that many of QBE’s oil and gas customers are planning capital expenditure that is not aligned with the Paris Agreement. You can listen to Stuart’s question, and the Chairman’s response: here. We continue to invest in QBE while calling on the company to do more to align its business with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
Outcome / next steps
The shareholder resolution was supported by 21.4% of QBE’s shareholders, up from the 13% support a similar resolution received last year. This is significant because this increase occurred despite QBE releasing its oil and gas production underwriting policy in February 2021. It sends a strong signal to the company that shareholders expect it to be doing more.