ClimateWise warns for greater awareness of climate change in the property and insurance industries

The insurance industry is taking a lead in analysing risks posed by climate change but more action is needed, according to ClimateWise's first year review published in an independent report conducted by Forum for the Future.

At a conference entitled ClimateWise: One Year Review held in the City of London yesterday, Bill Hughes, managing director of Legal & General Property, called for greater awareness of climate change in the culture of both the property and insurance industries.

The conference marked the first anniversary of ClimateWise’s foundation, its primary goal being to drive the insurance industry’s performance in the reducing the risk of climate change.

The aim of the review was to assess the compliance of ClimateWise’s 41 members, which includes Legal & General and a number of its FTSE-100 counterparts, including RBS, HBOS, Friends Provident and Aviva.

The conference was attended by more than 100 representatives and leaders from the financial services industry.

Of the 28 ClimateWise members that disclosed their approach in this area, 20 reported that they had investment strategies that considered the implications of climate change on company performance and shareholder value.

Legal & General said it has already made significant progress in incorporating climate change awareness into its investment strategies, particularly within its £11bn property portfolio.

Through the launch of its partnership with the College of Estate Management in July 2008, it committed to educating its entire staff on the ‘Sustainability in Real Estate Investment’ qualification so that sustainability and climate change become intrinsic elements of its future investment decisions.

This qualification includes instruction in managing risk, Energy Performance Certificates, the physical effects of climate change, sustainability in building design, renewable energy, pollution and contaminated land, green leases, and the global take-up of sustainability.