Promoting responsible investing
Shifting the large institutional asset base towards sustainable investments would mark a big step forward in making the world more resilient. Swiss Re’s brand promise “We’re smarter together” is also applicable to responsible investing: We interact with policymakers and other market participants to promote ESG considerations in the investment process. As an example, we contribute to the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance by participating in the development of climate transition and Paris-aligned benchmarks and reporting needs for ESG benchmarks.
As an active member of the OECD’s long-term investor network, we also engage in the development of policy proposals with regard to sustainable infrastructure and ESG.
Knowledge sharing is another key aspect of promoting responsible investments. We offer all Asset Management employees various internal ESG training opportunities to ensure consistent know-how across the Group. Furthermore, we are in an ongoing dialogue with other industry participants to develop ESG as a standard investment approach.
In 2018, we launched the new publication “Responsible Investments – The next steps in our journey” to share our experiences about switching to ESG benchmarks after one year (see below). The publication builds on its predecessor “Responsible investments – Shaping the future of investing”, released in 2017.
Swiss Re first formalised its commitment to responsible investing in 2007 by signing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In 2012, we signed the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), a further step to formally endorse our commitment to corporate responsibility. Both the PRI and PSI are taken into account within our comprehensive responsible investment framework. All PRI signatories are required to provide in-depth reporting on their responsible investment activities. For the third time in a row, we received the highest score for our overarching ("Strategy and Governance") approach to responsible investing in 2018. The reports are available on the PRI website at www.unpri.org/signatory-directory/
We also became a member of the ICMA Green Bond Principles in 2017. This reflects our view that the industry needs a more standardised responsible investing market environment with agreed definitions, standards, methodologies and best practices to move the long-term investor base further towards systematic ESG integration.
NEW PUBLICATION: RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENTS – THE NEXT STEPS IN OUR JOURNEY
Investing responsibly makes economic sense. While significant progress has been made in the harmonisation of ESG-related methodologies and standards, there is still considerable improvement potential regarding the definition of standardised key metrics and the increase of the importance of ESG in financial analysis. As long as ESG criteria are not yet an integral part of all financial analyses, investors need to make an effort and actively integrate ESG considerations in their investment decisions.