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Zurich Insurance Group Case Study

Sustainability is at the centre of the Zurich Insurance Group’s ethos and is part of the Group’s ambition to be known as one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world. Zurich has designed a sustainability strategy based around three transformational themes based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, of which addressing the impacts of a changing climate is a key pillar, alongside inspiring confidence in an increasingly digital society and preparing for the skills and solutions needed for the future of the workplace.

Building on Zurich’s existing position to not insure thermal coal and aligned with the announcement that Zurich signed up to the Business Ambition for 1.5˚C Pledge - the first insurance company to do so - in July 2021 Zurich became a founding member of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA). Zurich has committed to transition all operational and attributable greenhouse gas emissions from their insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios to net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, Zurich has expanded its specialised Natural Hazard Risk Engineering capabilities, being the first insurer to add a dedicated natural-hazard assessment to its standard property risk engineering assessment services to help customers with practical implementation of risk mitigation and adaptation measures.

Zurich also launched its Climate Change Resilience Services in 2020 to help businesses better prepare for current and future risks related to climate change. In 2021 this was broadened to include sustainability and climate solutions. The service allows Zurich to offer mitigation and adaptation solutions for weather events and climate effects, including wildfires; windstorms; floods; rises in temperature and sea level. It also helps clients to implement sustainability measures at site level and withstand risks.

Zurich announced new science-based targets for its own operations in 2021. It has set goals to reduce CO2e by 50% by 2025 and 70% by 2029, based on 2019 levels. Zurich has also committed to power all its offices with renewable power by the end of 2022 in line with its existing RE100 commitment. Furthermore in 2022 Zurich brought forward its target to be net-zero emissions in its own operations from 2050 to 2030. Along with the deep cut in absolute emissions, Zurich has signed carbon removal agreements with several suppliers of nature-based solutions, where it can have the biggest impact on the development of the carbon removal industry. Any emissions that cannot be avoided will be removed from the atmosphere.

In 2021, Zurich’s impact investment portfolio of USD 7 billion helped avoid 4.6 million tons of CO2e emissions and improved the lives of 3.6 million people annually. This builds on the previous commitment made to build a portfolio that avoids 5 million metric tons of CO2e emissions annually and improves the lives of 5 million people every year.

Zurich measures its sustainability commitments thoroughly to ensure confidence in that what it says it will do, and these approaches are embedded throughout the organisation. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) ratings, which evaluates the sustainability performance of thousands of companies put Zurich in the top 1% of the insurance industry group for 2021.

Zurich - Sustainability