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Celebrating 150 years, Swiss Re leads sector with new sustainable principles, online platform and employee CO2 cut by 56%

20 June 2013
Celebrating 150 years, Swiss Re leads sector with new sustainable principles, online platform and employee CO2 cut by 56%

LONDON: Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Swiss Re continues to spearhead green progress in the insurance sector, with a pioneering online dialogue platform as well as new sustainability principles revealed in its latest report, which also shows employee emissions have been slashed by over 55%.

Tackling climate change has long been a key focus for Swiss Re -- as its 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report highlights, it has been carbon neutral since 2003. The latest report also reveals that the global reinsurer cut CO2 emissions per employee by 55.6% between 2003 and 2012, through its Greenhouse Neutral Program. To achieve this, the company switched to renewable energy and improved energy efficiency, plus offset emissions by buying Voluntary Emissions Reduction Certificates.

But this year Swiss Re’s report also includes a new accountability section on reporting against Principles for Sustainable Insurance, a framework developed with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which aims to provide guidance on addressing environmental, social and governance issues that occur along the insurance value chain.

The report also reveals that Swiss Re:

  • screened 170 business transactions based on environmental, social and ethical criteria in its Sustainability Risk Framework, leading to the cancelation of 23 transactions
  • increased efforts to bring insurance protection to vulnerable communities
  • improved food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Michel Liès, Swiss Re's Group CEO, 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."

To coincide with its 150 year anniversary, this year Swiss Re also launched its Open Minds platform to encourage discussion from clients, employees, governments and the public on future risks, including those related to climate change. As well as senior staff from Swiss Re, across the industry and beyond, our US Head of Policy, Evan Juska, has contributed to the digital dialogue. 

Read Swiss Re's 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report

Have your say on Swiss Re's new Open Minds platform to join a dialogue on finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

By Clare Saxon

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