Conservationists and insurers join forces to combat climate change

A leading environmental charity and an international insurance company are banding together to help tackle climate change.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and UK company RSA insurance have announced a three-year international partnership to research the insurance risks of climate change and encourage green living.

Andy Haste, RSA group chief executive officer, said: "During the course of this partnership we'll be helping and learning from each other to understand more about environmental risks, to protect our business and customers while minimising the impact on the environment."

The partnership announced last week (November 17) promises new green insurance products giving customers incentives to cut their environmental footprint, such as making their homes more energy and water efficient. They will be launched in 2011.

David Nussbaum, CEO at WWF UK, said: "We look forward to the partnership driving low carbon investments in the financial sector, low carbon behaviour among customers, and a greater ability among businesses and homeowners to protect themselves against the increasing impacts from climate change."

It will also research the environmental risks from climate change, such as how it is opening up new areas of the Arctic to resource extraction, commercial shipping and fishing.

The RSA will support the WWF's exhibition on the impact of climate change on the Arctic at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month (Dec 7-18).

Together, the two organisations say they will work with the Thames River Restoration Trust in East London to recreate the natural flood plain and cut the flood risk.

They will also work with the government and construction industry on building flood protection into property design.

And, they will focus on the "environmental challenges" caused by China's massive growth, says the WWF, looking at renewable energy and the role insurance can play in moving to a low carbon economy.

The WWF said: "Together we will aim to help RSA customers adapt to and insure themselves against environmental change, whether looking at risks to shipping in the Arctic, researching the development of renewable energy in China or creating ecologically sensitive flood protection in the UK."

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