Rule Out Insurance for Expansion of Coal, Oil and Gas Projects in Bangladesh
May 31, 2021
Mr. Satoru Komiya, Group Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Hiroo Shimada, Manager, Sustainability Division, Corporate Planning Department
Mr. Masaaki Nagamura, General Manager, International Initiatives, Corporate Planning Dept.
Junko Komori, General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Planning Dept.
Mr. Akira Harashima, Group Co-Head of International Business
Mr. Kenji Okada, Group Chief Risk Officer
Mr. Yoshinari Endo, Group Chief Investment Officer
Yoichi Moriwaki, Group Deputy Chief Financial Officer
RULE OUT INSURANCE FOR COAL, OIL AND GAS PROJECTS IN BANGLADESH
Dear Mr. Komiya, Mr. Shimada and Mr. Nagamura
We are, 40 civil society organizations from different 14 countries of the world writing on behalf of the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED), an alliance of non-profit groups representing thousands of families of Bangladesh who practice and depend upon the sustainable stewardship of local land and marine-based ecosystem commons.
We are concerned that the Tokio Marine Group may become – or already may be – implicated in the development of the 6,200 MW Matarbari Coal Power Hub (Matarbari Phase 1 to 4 and Kohelia 1&2), including associated acquisition, shipping and stockpiling of the required coal supplies as well as port construction and infrastructure.
If these projects in Matarbari get underway, it is projected that:
- tens of thousands of people will be dispossessed of their homes;
- there will be severe contamination of waterways, soil and groundwater;
- air will become so heavily polluted from the emissions that our people will face the prospect of premature deaths; and
- unique ecological wetlands that provide habitats for rare migratory birds and endemic fish species will be destroyed.(*1)
Bangladesh already has a serious overcapacity of power (*2) and is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. There is no need for this build out of energy projects, nor for a reliance on the dirtiest fossil fuel available on the market. Instead, these projects will compound problems faced by not only the subsistence based populations of the Matarbari area, but also consumers nationwide.
BWGED is among the many groups in Bangladesh and worldwide that oppose these and other similar coal related developments. If they go ahead as planned, you should be aware that there is no foreseeable or practical way they could contribute postively towards achieving the SDGs in Bangladesh.
Engagement in these projects will leave insurers, investors and companies exposed to significant reputational, legal and financial risks.
As such, we are asking the Tokio Marine Group to:
- disclose whether agents in any of your Group companies are brokering contracts related to the Matabari or Matarbari Kohelia coal projects; or have already signed off on such contracts (including surety bonds, commercial multiple peril insurance, and reinsurance offers);
- divest from any current support holdings in these projects, including associated works (shipping) and rule out future investments ;
- without exception, rule out offering insurance of any kind to the projects or associated business ventures; and
- Make information about the extent of these commitments publicly available in English, Japanese and Bengali.
In light of your upcoming Investor Relations Conference and Annual General Meeting, we ask that before 28 June 2021, you publicly disclose information that identifies which coal, oil or gas projects in Bangladesh (existing and under development) for which any of the Tokio Marine Group of companies are offering insurance in English, Japanese and Bengali.
We are also requesting you respond by or before 15 June 2021 to clarify what actions you will take in regard to the aforementioned steps. Thank you for your consideration and time.
Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED)
With support and endorsement from the following 39 groups worldwide:
- 350.org Asia – Regional
- 350.org Japan – Japan
- AEPA Falcon – Venezuela
- Ambiente Desarrollo y Capacitación (ADC) – Hondurus
- Bandhan – Bangladesh
- Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) – Bangladesh
- Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF) – Bangladesh
- BankTrack – Netherlands
- Both ENDS – Netherlands
- Center for Environment and participatory Research (CEPR) – Bangladesh
- Change Initiative – Bangladesh
- CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) – Bangladesh
- Climate Watch – Thailand
- Friends of the Earth Japan – Japan
- Global Energy Monitor – USA
- Growthwatch – India
- INCIDIN Bangladesh – Bangladesh
- INSAF (Indian Social Action Forum) – India
- Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) – Japan
- KRuHA (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water) – Indonesia
- Mangrove Action Project (MAP) – United States
- Mekong Watch – Japan
- Mines Mineral and People (Mm&P) – India
- Mongla Nagorik Somaj – Bangladesh
- Nadi Ghati Morcha – India
- National Committee for Saving the Sunderbans (NCSS) – Bangladesh
- NGO Forum on ADB – Regional
- Oil Change International (OCI) – United States
- Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) – Pakistan
- Paribartan-Rajshahi – Bangladesh
- Participatory Research Action Network (PRAAN) – Bangladesh
- Phulbari Solidarity Group (PSG) – United Kingdom
- Prantojon – Bangladesh
- Project Affected People’s Association (PAPA) – India
- Society of Canton Nature Conservation – China
- Songshoptaque – Bangladesh
- The Sunrise Project – Australia/USA
- Urgewald – Germany
- Voices for Interactive Choices and Empowerment (VOICE) – Bangladesh
*1 For further information, see: Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, “Air quality, health and toxics impacts of the proposed coal power cluster in Chattogram, Bangladesh” (2020) <https://energyandcleanair.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Chattogram-coal-power-cluster.pdf>.
*2 See for example: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, ”Power Overcapacity Worsening in Bangladesh Switch in Focus From Coal and LNG To Renewables and Grid Can Address the Problem” (Jan 2021) <https://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Power-Overcapacity-Worsening-in-Bangladesh_January-2021.pdf>