- Swiss Re
- No. of employees
- 10,360 (2010)
- CHF23.4 billion (2010)
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of 56 global offices and manages over $140 billion worth of assets.
Analysis shows that the damage from earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and other natural disasters will continue to rise. As a result, governments will face increasing costs for disaster relief and recovery. Swiss Re’s innovative financial products can help public and private organizations manage the risks, be they ageing populations or earthquakes.
The company first identified climate change as a major trend 20 years ago. Since then, it has been developing innovative solutions to help its clients evaluate long-term exposure to climate change risks and help them identify opportunities to minimize these risks.
Because many of its biggest corporate clients also have a global presence, Swiss Re is the only reinsurer that builds its teams globally by client rather than by discipline. This helps it align its services to the needs of its clients and retain a global perspective on complex interconnected risks.
Swiss Re Private Equity Partners AG – a subsidiary of Swiss Re – is responsible for managing over $7.5 billion private investments in public and private equity, infrastructure, sustainability and real estate.
The company also founded and supports the Swiss Climate Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps small and medium-sized businesses in Switzerland realize green initiatives. The Foundation has a number of ongoing projects and goals, and enables companies to offset their carbon emissions by giving donations.
In a seminal study on the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA), Swiss Re and other leading organizations developed a methodology to analyze local climate risks and provide decision-makers with the necessary facts to design a cost-effective climate adaptation and mitigation strategy.
Swiss Re is also monitoring the risks and insurance requirements of clean technology such as smart grids and renewable energy, as these technologies develop.
The company has a well-established framework for evaluating environmental, social and ethical risks posed by a particular client project, and to identify when such a project may violate Swiss Re’s Code of Conduct. In such a case, it would attempt to negotiate the terms of the project, and if necessary abstain from the work.
Carbon neutrality and emission reduction
In 2003, Swiss Re launched its Greenhouse Neutral Programme, aiming to reduce emissions by 15% per employee by 2013 and to offset remaining emissions by purchasing high-quality carbon credits. It achieved this goal in 2007, six years early. By 2010, it had achieved a total reduction of over 50%.
These reductions have been achieved principally by doing three things: improving energy efficiency, buying electricity from renewable suppliers and minimizing business travel. The company has pledged to maintain its low emission levels under post-crisis conditions.
The company’s COyou2 Reduce and Gain subsidy program helps employees reduce domestic carbon emissions. Between 2007 and 2010, it had granted subsidies to nearly 3,000 employees for applications such as hybrid cars, groundwater heat pumps and solar collectors.
For the third year running, Swiss Re was top of the insurance division of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2010. It is also a signatory of the UN Global Compact, and as such implements its ten principles and regularly communicates its progress.