Sydney, Australia - Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG), announced its intention to make its global operations carbon neutral within five years."As an insurance company we have been very concerned about the risks and impact of climate change on our community for a number of years," says Mike Hawker, IAG's CEO. "We have been working on ways to reduce our own CO2 emission footprint, alerting the community about the risks of climate change, and researching opportunities for our customers to benefit from CO2 reducing activities. We are furthering our efforts, by announcing our intention to be carbon neutral within the next five years."

Going carbon neutral (aka "climate neutral") entails a company taking action to cancel out (offset) the carbon impact of its operations. In effect, this means that a company would calculate the carbon dioxide emitted (from its operations) in tons of CO 2 and would purchase the equivalent tons of carbon offsets to neutralize the carbon impact, according to IAG.

Hawker says climate change was one of the most significant risks currently facing the community, with the increase in catastrophic weather related incidents representing a financial risk to customers.

In the past 12 months IAG has reduced carbon emissions by 6% across its Australian and New Zealand operations. Two major projects completed this year focused on energy intensive office features--the opening of an energy efficient building in Adelaide and an upgrade of the lighting system in IAG's Sydney head office. The new lighting system is estimated to cut IAG's greenhouse gas emissions and save the Group around $100,000 on energy bills and maintenance costs every year.

In going carbon neutral IAG joins a growing list of corporate groups:

  • Swiss Re--In October 2003, Swiss Re announced a 10-year plan to become totally carbon neutral.
  • HSBC--In December 2004, HSBC became the first big bank to announce its global operations were to become carbon neutral.
  • BSkyB--In May 2006, British satellite TV company BSkyB announced it was to become carbon neutral.

Source: Insurance Australia Group Ltd.

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