Global multi-line insurer Zurich Insurance Group announced a series of initiatives aimed at reducing its emissions footprint and reach its climate goals, with measures including significant cuts to air travel and eliminating internal combustion vehicles from its fleet. The company expects its new initiatives to lower carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from operations by 20% by 2025, compared with 2019, eliminating more than 40,000 metric tons annually.
Mario Greco, Group Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Insurance Group, said:
“The climate crisis calls for urgent action and small steps taken by each of us – individuals, organizations and businesses – will add up to a giant leap over time. Our new measures aim to further reduce our own carbon footprint and, by having a direct impact on how we work, inspire employees, suppliers, customers and others to take action of their own.”
Zurich’s operations have been carbon neutral since 2014, and the company aims to be a net-zero emissions business by 2050. The company’s interim goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025 and by 70% by 2029. New measures announced in order to reach these goals include reducing air travel emissions as of 2022 by 70% compared with their pre-pandemic level, cutting paper consumption by becoming fully digital in communications with customers by 2025, and adding only electric hybrid or electric vehicles to its fleet going forward, with internal combustion vehicles removed from the fleet by 2025. Additionally, Zurich is aiming to implement a sustainable buildings program in an additional 50 offices by the end of 2022, and to set a new energy efficiency ambition for real estate once the target to switch to 100% renewable power across the Group is reached next year. In its restaurants, Zurich will serve healthy, seasonal and regionally sourced food by 2022, and will introduce food waste-management programs for leftovers.
The company also announced the launch of the Zurich Carbon Neutral World Equity Fund, offering life insurance customers an investment solution combining a low-carbon investment strategy with carbon offsetting. The fund will invest in low emissions companies and leaders in clean technology, with estimated greenhouse gas emissions from companies in the fund of 9 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent per million dollars invested, compared with 68 tons for a traditional investment strategy. Residual portfolio emissions will be offset using high-quality, carbon credits.
According to Zurich, the new fund is the first carbon neutral equity fund in the insurance industry.
Peter Giger, Group Chief Investment Officer, said:
“The company has been pioneering a responsible investment strategy for its own assets since 2012. As one of the largest unit-linked providers, it is our duty to offer our responsible investment expertise to our customers and extend it to unit-linked assets. The launch of the new Zurich Carbon Neutral World Equity Fund is an important step in this direction and another demonstration of Zurich’s ambition to become one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world.”