Independent assurance report to the management of Swiss Re Ltd, Zurich (“Swiss Re”)
We have been engaged to perform assurance procedures to provide limited assurance on the online version of Swiss Re and its consolidated subsidiaries’ (“Swiss Re”) consolidated CO2 emissions reporting and CR topics and sections of the 2015 Swiss Re Corporate Responsibility Report (“CR Report 2015”). Those section and information of the CR Report 2015 selected by Swiss Re and subject to our assurance engagement are marked with a logo ().
Scope and subject matter
Our limited assurance engagement focused on the following data and information of the CR Report 2015 of Swiss Re for the financial year ended 31 December 2015:
- The management and reporting processes with respect to the consolidated CR reporting as well as the control environment in relation to the aggregation of data and information;
- The organizational measures and internal key controls in place at the corporate level regarding aggregation of information obtained from the subsidiaries and reporting functions;
- The consolidated data and information disclosed in the sections “Creating solutions for sustainability”, “Extending our risk intelligence”, “Exploring and shaping the risk landscape”, “Reducing our environmental footprint”, “Empowering our people” and “Compliance: Code of Conduct” marked with the logo ;
- The information marked with the logo namely consolidated CO2 emissions 2015 (Scope 1, 2 and 3 in adherence with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) of the tables entitled “CO2 emissions per employee (full-time equivalent, FTE), Swiss Re Group”, “Underlying environmental data, Swiss Re Group” and “Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, Swiss Re Group” in the online version of the CR Report 2015 covering the reporting period from 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2015;
- The information marked with the logo about retirement of 70 600 tonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalents).
The management reporting processes with respect to the CR Report 2015 were prepared using the internal and external policies and procedures as set forth in the following:
- “Internal Environmental Performance Indicators for the Financial Industry” published by the Verein für Umweltmanagement in Banken, Sparkassen und Versicherungen e.V. (VfU) published in 1997 and 2011;
- “The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Revised Edition) published in 2001 by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development;
- The framework document “Environmental Performance Indicators Reporting at Swiss Re”, version 1.1 from August 2014 including Annex; and
- The defined internal guidelines, by which CR data and information are internally gathered, collated and aggregated.
The accuracy and completeness of CR indicators are subject to inherent limitations given their nature and methods for determining, calculating and estimating such data. In addition, the CO2 emissions quantification is subject to inherent uncertainty because of incomplete scientific knowledge used to determine emissions factors and the values needed to combine emissions of different gases. Our assurance report should therefore be read in connection with Swiss Re’s internal guidelines, definitions and procedures on the reporting of its CR performance.
Swiss Re’s responsibility
The Swiss Re management is responsible for both the preparation and the presentation of the selected subject matter in accordance with the reporting criteria. Our responsibility is to form an independent conclusion, based on our limited assurance procedures, on whether anything has come to our attention to indicate that the subject matter is not stated, in all material respects, in accordance with the reporting criteria.
We conducted our limited assurance engagement for those selected section and information of the CR Report 2015 marked with the logo () in accordance with International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000, Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information', and, in respect of greenhouse gas emissions, International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3410, Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. These standards require that we plan and perform this engagement to obtain limited assurance about whether the identified CR indicators are free from material misstatement.
A limited assurance engagement under ISAE 3000 (revised) is substantially less in scope than a reasonable assurance engagement in relation to both the risk assessment procedures, including an understanding of internal control, and the procedures performed in response to the assessed risks. Consequently, the nature, timing and extent of procedures for gathering sufficient appropriate evidence are deliberately limited relative to a reasonable assurance engagement and therefore less assurance is obtained with a limited assurance engagement than for a reasonable assurance engagement.
The procedures selected depend on the assurance practitioner’s judgement.
Our Independence and Quality Control
We have complied with the independence and other ethical requirements of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, which is founded on fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behavior.
Our firm applies International Standard on Quality Control 1 and accordingly maintains a comprehensive system of quality control including documented policies and procedures regarding compliance with ethical requirements, professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Summary of work performed
Our assurance procedures included among others, the following work:
- Evaluation of the application of Swiss Re CR reporting guidelines
Assessing whether the methodology applied by Swiss Re is in line with the reporting criteria;
- Interviews and management inquiry
Evaluating the CR reporting and underlying performance indicators by performing analytical procedures and interviewing selected key contacts to assess whether the internal Environmental Performance Indicators Reporting guidelines and CR guidance were consistently applied by the selected locations; performing enquiries of personnel responsible for internal CR reporting and data collection at the Swiss Re corporate level to evaluate the reporting and aggregation process and to assess its appropriateness;
- Reconciliation of CO2 emissions data
Reconciling the CO2 emissions data for energy consumption, business travel, copy paper, waste, water, technical gases and commuting and CR data and information to the data used for the internal CR emissions reporting of the selected locations;
- Assessment of the key figures
Performing tests on a sample basis of evidence supporting selected CR data and information (sensitive business risk process, management of emerging risks, responsible investment, HR data and information, diversity and inclusion, development & training, sustainable energy solutions, the commitments to the United Nations and to the Grow Africa Partnership, energy consumption, business travel, other environmental data, construction management) to assess their completeness, accuracy, adequacy and consistency;
- Review of the documentation
Reviewing the relevant documentation on a sample basis, including Swiss Re’s CR-related policies, the management of reporting structures, the documentation and systems used to collect, analyse and aggregate reported CR data and information;
- Assessment of the processes and data consolidation
Reviewing the appropriateness of the management and reporting processes for CR reporting; and assessing the processing and consolidation of data at Swiss Re’s Group level; and
- Review of verified emission reductions
Reviewing the retirement of 70 600 tonnes CO2e verified emission reductions (VER) according to the Voluntary Carbon Standard or Gold Standard.
We believe that the evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our limited assurance conclusion.
Based on the procedures we have performed and the evidence we have obtained nothing has come to our attention causing us to believe that in all material respects:
- the Swiss Re internal CR reporting guidelines are not applied in accordance with the reporting criteria;
- the internal reporting processes to collect and aggregate CR data and information is not functioning as designed and does not provide an appropriate basis for the presentation of CR data and information;
- the CR data and information marked with the logo () in the CR Report 2015 is not stated in accordance with the reporting criteria;
- the CO2 emissions data and information marked with the logo () in the CR Report 2015 is not stated in accordance with the reporting criteria; and
- the retirement information of 70 600 tonnes of CO2e marked with the logo () has not been conducted in accordance with the internal requirements.
Zurich, 31 May 2016