Swiss Re ramps up sustainable energy commitment at COP22

Reading time: 4 minutes
21 November 2016

by Lasse Wallquist, Senior Environmental Management Specialist, Swiss Re

At COP22 last week, The Climate Group, together with the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity, highlighted the important progress of its EP100 initiative on energy productivity. As a signatory, Swiss Re has pledged to double its energy productivity; "why?" you might ask. Well, because this is the basis for achieving carbon neutrality.

As a founding partner of The Climate Group's RE100 initiative, we are already committed to becoming 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2020 - a lot of it coming from our own energy production. In 2003, we launched our Greenhouse Neutral Program and started to operate carbon neutrally. This commitment includes:

  1. building our operations as energy efficiently as possible;
  2. sourcing as much green power as possible; and
  3. buying carbon offsets for the remaining unavoidable CO2 emissions

Staying true to the cause, in our own offices around the world we are vigorously tackling our own carbon footprint. Swiss Re Next at our headquarters in Zurich for example will consume 80% less energy per employee than our former building. We have also been installing smaller solar plants with capacities of 50-100kW on the rooftops of some of our officers in Switzerland, Italy and the UK. Just 3 weeks ago we started construction on our 2MW solar power plant at Swiss Re Americas headquarters in Armonk, New York. Ten acres of panels, ground-mounted on our property, will generate more than 60% of the campus' power requirements. 

In the context of our extensive climate engagement, the Armonk Solar Project is an important milestone example of how we "walk the talk". It helps us to illustrate our concrete efforts for our customers, society and our employees. Given the latest political developments this is - to me personally - more important than ever. We have to constantly consider climate change risks in our business, and the need for risk-transfer solutions that help companies mitigate and adapt to climate change is growing. Together with RE100, and of course our products and our advocacy work, EP100 is helping us to contribute to the advancement of sustainable energy solutions.

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