Swiss Re Publishes ‘Corporate Responsibility’ Report;’Sustainable’Insurance Goals

June 19, 2013

Swiss Re announced the publication of its “2012 Corporate Responsibility Report,” which it said “enhances its accountability by reporting against the Principles for Sustainable Insurance for the first time.”

The sustainable principles were developed in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other partners, with Swiss Re playing “an active role in developing the principles, which are part of an initiative to advance Principles for Sustainable Insurance across the re/insurance industry.”

The initiative is part of Swiss Re’s efforts to “bring insurance protection to vulnerable communities,” said the bulletin. The reinsurer added that it has “made a significant commitment to improve food security in Sub-Saharan Africa with weather and yield index insurance products. Through the company’s Greenhouse Neutral Program, Swiss Re cut CO2 emissions per employee by 55.6 percent between 2003 and 2012.”

Swiss Re’s Group CEO Michel Li├Ęs said: “This is the first time we have reported against the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, which we helped develop in cooperation with the UNEP Finance Initiative. We will also talk more about some of the challenges inherent in implementing sustainability in our business. This is because deriving concrete measures from general sustainability principles is not always straightforward.”

As an example of its commitment to equate corporate responsibility with tangible actions Swiss Re cited its “continuous application of the group-wide Sustainability Risk Framework, which defines non-commercial sustainability criteria for business transactions. Out of the 170 transactions which were screened in 2012, 23 transactions were stopped. In 18 cases, certain conditions had to be met first before the transaction could go ahead.”

There are four Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), which were developed by the Finance Initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in cooperation with leading re/insurers. The UN launched the program in in 2012.

The principles “provide a global framework for the insurance industry to address both risks and opportunities arising from environmental, social and governance issues,” Swiss Re explained. They also “give guidance on how activities along the whole insurance value chain can be carried out in a responsible and forward-looking way.”

Swiss Re added that it “actively supports the adoption of sustainable business practices across the re/insurance industry and a Swiss Re representative currently serves as the co-chair of the UN PSI Board.”

Top of the list remains tackling climate change, which Swiss Re noted has been one of its key objectives “over the past 20 years, including the company’s own CO2 emissions. The independently assured emissions data show that CO2 emissions per employee have decreased by 55.6 percent since 2003.

“This was achieved by switching to renewable energy at most of the Group’s larger locations, making its facilities more energy efficient and minimizing business travel whenever possible. The remaining CO2 emissions are offset by buying Voluntary Emissions Reduction certificates, making Swiss Re carbon neutral since 2003.

“The 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report provides a complete update across all areas which Swiss Re considers relevant to achieving sustainable progress. It was prepared in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework, in addition to the Principles for Sustainable Insurance. The report also details how the company implements the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, to which it has been a signatory since 2008.”

Source: Swiss Re

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