’We are asking insurance companies to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry,’ says project manager

Greenpeace activists held a protest at the annual reinsurance conference to call on the industry to stop its coverage for oil development in the Congo.

Several protesters from the group gathered at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monaco yesterday (11 September 2023), warning the sector that “insuring oil exploration is underwriting the destruction of the Congo rainforest”.

It came after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched an auction of 30 oil and gas blocks in July 2022.

The blocks are located in the Coastal Basin, Cuvette Centrale, Tanganyika Graben, Albertine Graben and Lake Kivu.

Earlier this month (8 September 2023), a report published by Greenpace stated that “all insurance and reinsurance companies should consider the risks that this auction poses to human rights, nature and biodiversity and the climate”.

“The sector must fully align with the Paris Agreement and basic human rights standards and make its policies public and explicit about this,” it added.


Greenpeace activists (c)Greenpeace

A week later, activists turned up at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre, holding up banners that called on firms to “insure our future”.

“We’re in Monte Carlo, one of the richest places in the world, to ensure a group of super rich and powerful insurance companies don’t add to the hardship of some of the world’s poorest communities in the DRC,” said Irène Wabiwa, international project manager for the Congo Basin at Greenpeace Africa.

“While some companies have given us a commitment not to provide insurance for the disastrous oil auctions in the DRC, others remain silent and carry on business as usual.”


The Greenpeace report stated that 75m people from over 150 distinct ethnic groups currently depend on the health of the forest, which covers much of the Congo Basin peatland complex.

The group also claimed that oil tenders in the DRC do not respect the free, prior and informed consent of local communities inhabiting the areas where exploration rights had been auctioned.

“Insuring fossil fuel companies without the consent of indigenous peoples and local communities, while the planet burns from a climate crisis, is out of the question,” Wabiwa added.

“If major insurance companies stopped covering the risk of the fossil fuel industry, oil companies would be hard pressed to find support for their environmentally and people destroying business plans.

“This is why we are asking insurance companies to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry.”