Disclosure and accountability
We have voluntarily reported on our performance as a responsible company since 1998. Over the years, the range of topics covered in these yearly reports has gradually widened. While early editions had a strong focus on environmental concerns, later editions gradually extended their focus to social and governance issues. Since 2007, we have published a comprehensive Corporate Responsibility Report, guided by best practice in corporate responsibility reporting.
The structure of the present report primarily reflects the main areas of our business where we address material issues: each of them is covered by an individual chapter – with one exception: Our role as an active citizen in society is described in a separate report published by the Swiss Re Foundation (see “The Swiss Re Foundation”). Thus, the report includes the following six main chapters:
- Creating solutions for sustainability
- Extending our risk intelligence
- Exploring and shaping the risk landscape
- Reducing our environmental footprint
- Empowering our people
- Ensuring good governance and compliance
The content presented in these chapters primarily reflects the material issues we address in these areas, as illustrated in the overview matrix.
Scope and publishing rhythm
Our Corporate Responsibility Report covers the whole Swiss Re Group as it was organised by 31 December 2015, ie the publicly listed holding company Swiss Re Ltd., its three Business Units Reinsurance, Corporate Solutions and Admin Re®, and all directly or indirectly held subsidiaries. There were no changes to the Group’s organisational structure in 2015. Our new Life Capital Business Unit was established on 1 January 2016. Likewise, we have not made any data restatements in the report.
As in past years, the scope of the report is limited to Swiss Re’s own operations. Although we provide information on our sourcing and procurement policies, we do not report on the performance of our suppliers because the re/insurance business does not involve an extensive supply chain. However, since 2013, we have been disclosing some of the emissions caused along our supply chain (Scope 3 emissions).
The present report follows the 2014 edition and covers the calendar year of 2015. We plan to maintain our annual publishing cycle and to present our next Corporate Responsibility Report by the second quarter of 2017, covering the year of 2016.
To get a complete overview of our actions as a responsible company, this report should be read in conjunction with the annual report published by the Swiss Re Foundation (see “The Swiss Re Foundation”).
This is the third year that the main chapters of the report have received independent assurance from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Their assurance statement is included in the Independent assurance report.
The present report incorporates our 2015 Communication on Progress for the UN Global Compact (www.unglobalcompact.org). References to the Compact’s ten principles are incorporated into the GRI Content Index. For the third consecutive year, we also report against the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, PSI (www.unepfi.org/psi). You can find our Public Disclosure of Progress in “PSI – Our Public Disclosure of Progress”.
Note on our implementation of the GRI G4 Guidelines
In this edition of our Corporate Responsibility Report, we include Standard Disclosures of the G4 Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), as far as is practical for a business-to-business company in financial services. The way we identify material issues has important implications for how we do this:
- Our understanding of materiality is based on the risk expertise embedded in our business, our broad, interactive stakeholder dialogue and the view of various standard setters. We have selected the GRI’s “material aspects” accordingly and refer to the associated indicators as far as we see fit for a re/insurer and can provide the data.
- Although we engage strongly in dialogue with our stakeholders, we do not currently have a formalised process for them to comment on our selection of the GRI’s “material aspects” and hence neither on the content of our Corporate Responsibility Report.
- We do, however, carefully analyse what kind of information key sustainability raters request of us and include this in our reporting if we perceive a widespread demand (see below).
Note on Indicators G4-21 and G4-22 on internal and external “aspect boundaries”: Of the “material aspects” to which we refer in the present report, we regard almost all as material “inside the organisation”. The two exceptions are “Water” and “Effluents and Waste”: as Swiss Re is not an industrial company, the environmental impacts we cause through water consumption and waste generation are very small in comparison. We still include information and data on them because many rating organisations expect this even from companies in the financial services sector. Hence we consider these aspects as being merely “material outside the organisation”.
As a rule, all the material aspects we cover in the report are “material for all entities within the organisation”, that is, for the Swiss Re holding company and all three of its Business Units. This statement only needs to be qualified for two indicators of the Financial Services Sector Supplement: FS7 and FS8 on products with a specific social or environmental benefit are not relevant for our Admin Re® Business Unit.