Mr. Löffler, why is Allianz committed to climate protection?
Karsten Löffler: Allianz and its customers are directly affected by the consequences of climate change - in the insurance business as well as in the investment area. However, we don't only see risks, but also considerable opportunities.
Opportunities? Such as?
There is hardly any other market that over the next ten years and beyond will see such rapid and sustainable investment growth as climate change and the decarbonization of our economic processes, and they need it. In order to limit climate change to an acceptable level for all of us, the industrialized nations will have to reduce their emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050.
As an insurer, we are concerned about the question of whether and how the ever increasing losses from natural catastrophes can still be insured in the future. Global warming leads to a higher frequency of storms and floods. Moreover, the risk awareness of our customers is on the rise, particularly in growth regions such as Asia. As a result, the volume of insured property is also rising.
There are also scientists and politicians who say they doubt climate change. What do you say to these doubts?
Allianz is a risk manager. Evaluating the development of risks and then finding solutions for our customers is the most fundamental part of our business. Risk management is all about using any room for maneuver you have, as long as there is any left. As a rule, this room is larger the earlier you start to act. If we only start to accept climate change once all the scenarios have become reality, it will not only be too late, but managing the consequences will also become considerably more expensive.
We consider the risk of climate change serious enough for us to deal with it systematically and with determination.
Allianz is already among the biggest investors in renewable energy. Now you are investing in a rain forest in Indonesia. What contribution is Rimba Raya meant to make to climate change?
A simple and, above all, immediately effective one! Forests are the world's most important carbon sinks. Tropical forests cover around 15 percent of the Earth's surface and store approximately a quarter of the CO2 captured in the Earth's biosphere. They are also of central importance for sustainable water management, meaning that they have a twofold cooling effect. So conserving them is one of the most effective climate protection measures.
Rimba Raya, like our Kenya investment last year, is a so-called "REDD Project" (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). Both investments don't simply protect threatened forests, they also involve the local population and provide them with a source of livelihood.
In addition to that, in Rimba Raya we can inherit a rehabilitation center for orangutans.