Sustainability in our supply chain


Share of our tier 1 and 2 vendors included in the EcoVadis platform by end of 2017

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 we make these purchases, 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 Reducing energy consumption) 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 periodic contract reviews, and we visit individual suppliers to inspect them onsite. Internally, we hold regular awareness trainings with all our sourcing staff.

In 2016, we signed up for EcoVadis, 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. This will allow us to assess the sustainability performance of our suppliers more systematically with the help of key performance indicators and to engage them in improvements, thus also reducing potential sustainability risks in our supply chain.

We have started to implement the platform in our Corporate Real Estate Sourcing category, which covers more than 50% of our expenditure in this area. Going forward, we plan to fully incorporate the platform into our sourcing processes across all sourcing categories. We have set ourselves the goal of including all our tier 1 and tier 2 vendors in the EcoVadis platform ( by 2020. By the end of 2017, implementation was completed for 13% of these vendors and in progress or ready to be started for 30% of them.