Extinction Rebellion protest in solidarity with climate and human rights movements - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion protest in solidarity with climate and human rights movements

Extinction Rebellion today took part in a protest outside the offices of the AXA UK headquarters in London. The action is happening during a week of actions targeting the insurance industry for the role they play in the climate and ecological emergency – the key ask being to put a stop of insuring all new fossil fuel projects and the opportunity for the insurance workers to be climate heroes. AXA is currently the sixth biggest insurer of fossil fuel projects in the world. [1]

For this particular action, where different  groups and movements have come together, the focus is also on AXA’s continued investing in companies which are  linked to the illegal occupation of land in Palestine. Among them are household brands such as Caterpillar, Volvo Group, IBM, Carrefour, Siemens and Airbnb. Participants of today’s protest, which involved a staged a ‘Israeli military checkpoint’ at the AXA offices, included: Ekō, Climate Justice Coalition, Extinction Rebellion, Tipping Point, War on Want, Green New Deal Rising, Just Stop Oil, Global Justice Now, Campaign Against Climate Change, Coal Action Network, Platform, Stop Rosebank, Fossil Free London, Money Rebellion, Workers for a Free Palestine, IWGB, WeSmellGas and Stop EACOP.

A protest was also staged outside the AXA office in Middlesbrough today by Extinction Rebellion North East and Cumbria. AXA have not yet ruled out insuring the controversial West Cumbria Coal Mine, pictured. 

It isn’t all bad news: AXA was the first insurer to say no to Total’s East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project [2] They have stopped insuring the Adani Carmicheal coal mine [3] and declined to insure the Trans Mountain pipeline as part of pulling back from underwriting coal and oil sands projects.[4] They have committed to stop insuring gas fields by 2025,[5] and restrict cover for oil exploration and development from 2024 [6] although their company’s net zero plan aims for 2050. 

However, as with so many things, when we dig a little deeper, the cracks start to show: there are loopholes in AXA’s policies that let them insure new fossil fuel projects if the company involved has publicly stated that it will transition away from oil, coal and gas at an unspecified time in the future. AXA has also set no limits on the number of new fossil fuel projects they intend to insure.

So, the company may have taken steps in the right direction, but  XR and its allies have a duty to keep the pressure on to ensure pledges to exist fossil fuel project insurance are matched by actions. We need to make sure that this isn’t just greenwash, but that AXA will walk the walk, not just talk the talk. 


[1] “AXA was the first insurer to take action on coal in 2017 but has not kept up with the growing urgency of the climate crisis and is now falling behind its peers. AXA hasn’t excluded support for DRC oil drilling.”: https://global.insure-our-future.com/scorecard/company/axa/ 

[2] AXA becomes the first insurer to say no to Total’s oil project in East Africa — #StopEACOP   

[3] Adani mine: three major insurers to have no further involvement in coal project | Carmichael coalmine | The Guardian 

[4] Canadian oil pipeline Trans Mountain seeks to shield insurers from pressure | Reuters 

[5] AXA says it will stop insuring new gas fields from 2025 | Reuters 

[6] 2023 Scorecard on Insurance, Fossil Fuels and the Climate Emergency With a Preface by Kim Stanley Robinson 

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