Executive statement

Walter B. Kielholz (photo)

Walter B. Kielholz

Michel M. Liès (photo)

Michel M. Liès

Dear stakeholders

It is a pleasure to introduce Swiss Re’s 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report. With this yearly publication we want to give you a comprehensive overview of the measures we take to act as a responsible company. “Playing our part in enabling sustainable progress” is one of our key objectives – as we express it in our value framework. This commitment continues to guide our actions as a responsible company and helps us to pursue our vision of making the world more resilient.

The 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report describes in detail our commitment to sustainable progress and reviews our main actions and achievements over the past year. Our strategic priorities remained largely unchanged in 2015 and are mirrored by the main chapters you can see in the report. As in recent years, our Corporate Responsibility Report also serves as our official disclosure document for two important commitments we have made to the United Nations: the UN Global Compact and the UNEP Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI). We remain committed to both of them and will continue to take an active role in the PSI.

Below, we would like to draw your attention to some of our main achievements in 2015.

In our core re/insurance business, we continued to create effective solutions that help our private and public sector clients manage the risks they face. In particular, our solutions offer protection for natural catastrophes, volatile weather, construction risks of offshore wind farms and potential funding gaps of pension funds. Highlights of our work included setting up reinsurance support for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a cat bond insuring Istanbul against earthquake damage, completion of two new Economics of Climate Adaptation studies in Bangladesh and El Salvador, and insuring the first-ever offshore wind farm project in the US. We also report on our progress towards meeting two quantitative commitments we have made – to the United Nations and to the Grow Africa Partnership.

In risk management, our goal as a responsible company is to identify and avoid certain risks we do not want to underwrite, be it for ethical reasons or because they might lead to losses, or both. In 2015, we made an important change to our Sustainability Risk Framework: By integrating an online assessment tool into the “Sensitive Business Risks” process, we have enabled our underwriters to quickly spot potential environmental and social risks of transactions themselves, further strengthening our due diligence capabilities. In the emerging risks section, we again spotlight a topic that may create significant challenges for re/insurance in the future; this time the “Internet of Things”. In the regulatory sphere, we describe the active role we play in a major initiative recently launched to develop financial disclosure requirements on climate risks.

Ongoing dialogue with you, our stakeholders, has remained essential for our efforts to enable sustainable progress and to make the world more resilient. In our role as ultimate risk taker, we need to have a very sound understanding of key risks. Our partners expect us to share this knowledge with them and help set the agenda. In turn, we also benefit from this exchange to sharpen our expertise, making us “smarter together”. In 2015, our dialogue focused on topics such as climate change, building resilient energy infrastructure, financial repression, autonomous cars and 3D printing.

As Swiss Re is not an industrial company, our own environmental footprint is relatively small. Yet, our commitment to finding further possibilities to reduce this is as strong as ever. In 2015, we introduced an integrated, ISO 14001-certified environmental management system, spanning all our operations and employees around the world. Previously, our policy had been to certify individual locations. Both our pioneering climate-related initiatives – the Greenhouse Neutral Programme and COyou2 Programme – are now well into their second cycles and continue to produce results. We also report on the steady progress we are making with Swiss Re Next, our new headquarter building in Zurich, which will set a benchmark for sustainable construction.

In recognition of our efforts in all these areas over many years, we were again ranked the sector leader in the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This is the ninth time we achieved this over the last ten years – a track record that fills us with pride and satisfaction, because it shows that many of the actions we have taken are seen as relevant.

To summarise, we believe the past year was a highly successful one for Swiss Re in terms of our contribution to sustainable progress and in meeting your expectations, dear stakeholders. Of course, this would not have been possible without the dedication of the people who work for Swiss Re, day in, day out. We would like to thank them sincerely for their passion to perform. In the present report, we describe in detail what we, in turn, do to help our people unleash their full potential towards making the world more resilient.

Zurich, May 2016

Walter B. Kielholz (signature)

Walter B. Kielholz
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Michel M. Liès (signature)

Michel M. Liès
Group Chief Executive Officer

The Swiss Re Foundation in 2015 – Seeds of resilience

This separate report describes how the Swiss Re Foundation helps communities to build resilience to risk.

ROBECO SAM – Sustainability Award – Industry Leader 2015 (logo)