New Analysis Debunks Climate Action Claims in AIG’s ESG Report

NEW YORK, NY (July 20, 2021) – Today, Public Citizen released an analysis of American International Group’s (AIG) first ever “Environmental, Social and Governance” (ESG) report, in which the insurer affirms its underwriting and investments in the fossil fuel industry. Advocates find that AIG has not taken adequate climate action given its lack of restrictions on fossil fuels. 

“AIG is refusing to address its largest contribution to a warming planet,” said Elise Peterson-Trujillo, Climate Campaign Coordinator with Public Citizen. “Claims of climate leadership while supporting the fossil fuel industry are unacceptable. AIG’s practices endanger people, the planet, and its own business.”

Major investor Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) recently divested from AIG for its continued underwriting of coal and for failing to disclose its financed emissions.

“LGIM’s divestment should have sent a strong message to AIG,” said David Arkush, Climate Program Director with Public Citizen. “If it fails to phase out fossil fuel cover and investments rapidly, it risks many more investors following LGIM’s lead.”

Public Citizen debunks three claims from AIG’s ESG report:

  • AIG says that pulling support for fossil fuels is not in the public’s best interest, but advocates cite scientific predictions for catastrophic climate impacts as evidence to the contrary. 
  • The company also touts its ongoing carbon exposure assessment. Public Citizen responds that AIG does not need complex accounting or analysis to see that its cover of coal and the expansion of fossil fuels are incompatible with Paris targets. 
  • Advocates also criticize AIG’s failure to disclose the emissions from its underwriting and investments in fossil fuels.

AIG is one of the world’s largest underwriters of oil and gas projects and one of the few insurers able and willing to underwrite new coal projects—unlike AIG, 26 peers have adopted policies to restrict or end coal underwriting. More than 70 groups wrote to AIG CEO Peter Zaffino in April asking him to commit the company to exiting fossil fuel coverage, divesting from fossil fuels, and respecting Indigenous rights. 

AIG has provided insurance for the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada. During a week of action in June, Indigenous leaders and environmental advocates called on AIG to publicly rule out underwriting the project for its harmful impacts. AIG has ignored multiple requests to meet with Tsleil-Waututh Nation leaders opposed to Trans Mountain.

Charlene Aleck, spokesperson for the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative and elected councillor, stated, “AIG’s business relationship with Trans Mountain threatens our land, our water, our people, and our life. It is a violation of Tsleil-Waututh’s inherent and constitutionally-recognized Aboriginal rights, title, and interests and our unextinguished Indigenous laws.”

Read the analysis here.