The Sensitive Business Risks process

Each of the eight policies of our Sustainability Risk Framework contains criteria which define precisely when our underwriters and client managers need to refer a transaction to the Sensitive Business Risks (SBR) process. In such a case, our sustainability and other experts carry out a due diligence assessment: they carefully analyse the benefits and downsides of the transaction at hand and decide whether it is acceptable on ethical grounds.

This decision takes the form of a recommendation either to go ahead with the transaction, to go ahead with certain conditions attached or to abstain from it. If there is disagreement about the recommendation, the case can be escalated to the next management level.

The decisions we take as part of the Sustainability Risk Framework are based on internationally recognised ethical principles. Swiss Re is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, which derives its human rights principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its labour principles from the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, its environment principles from the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and its anti-corruption principles from the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

This web of ethical principles helps us to make decisions that are aligned with universal fundamental rights. However, for decisions in a business context this is not sufficient. Further aspects that need to be considered are the social and economic implications of our decisions in their respective cultural contexts. Last but not least, we need to take into account the implications for our business. Balancing these different aspects requires the careful and consistent assessment of transactions and their local effects, often in collaboration and dialogue with external experts and local stakeholders.

Thus our decisions are neither subjective nor entirely objective. In essence, they reflect our recognition of global fundamental rights, of human suffering and our commitment to limiting unwanted negative impacts of our business transactions.

For more information see The Sensitive Business Risks process