Sustainability in our supply chain

As a re/insurance company, Swiss Re does not have an extensive supply chain. Our core business does not require us to buy intermediate inputs like a manufacturing company. However, to run our operations, we need a range of goods and services.

When procuring these goods and services, we apply general and individual criteria. In line with our overarching Group Sourcing Policy, we select suppliers that offer the best value for money, meet high quality standards and adhere to the UN Global Compact. As a signatory to the Compact, we are committed to honouring all its ten principles; amongst other things, these prohibit any sort of discrimination or the use of child or forced labour, and require that the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining be upheld.

We consider environmental criteria relating to materials and ingredients, production methods, recycling and waste. For some sourcing categories, we have developed “minimum standards” that further specify our requirements. Besides power (see “Using renewable power and the RE100 initiative”) and paper (see “Paper, water and waste”), these cover cleaning services and agents, refrigerant agents and building materials. Each standard lists objectives, ecological aspects, ecological minimum standards, exceptions, controlling and labels.

When selecting new products and suppliers, we examine whether they comply with these requirements as part of the overall evaluation process. We take a fresh look at existing strategic suppliers in our periodical contract reviews, and we visit individual suppliers to inspect them onsite. Internally, we hold regular awareness trainings with all our sourcing staff.

In 2015, we started to participate in a collaborative platform for sustainable supply chain management, which covers a wide range of screening criteria across the topics of environmental impacts, human rights, labour practices and impacts on society. Once it is incorporated into our sourcing processes, this collaborative platform will allow us to assess the sustainability performance of our suppliers more systematically and to engage them in improvements. The collaboration will thus help to improve the goods and services we buy and reduce the risks associated with our supply chain. Implementation of the project will be completed in 2016.