Our Climate Action Plan
As part of implementing our Group Sustainability Strategy, we have developed a specific Climate Action Plan, which also serves as our climate strategy.
Swiss Re first detected the potential long-term challenges posed by climate change some 30 years ago. Consequently, it has become our most important sustainability issue: For a re/insurer, climate change constitutes a key topic because it leads to an increase in the severity and a change in the patterns of natural catastrophes such as windstorms, floods, excessive rainfall, heatwaves and drought. In combination with growing asset concentrations in exposed areas and more widespread insurance protection, this will cause a rise in average losses.
Climate change is an essential element in our Group Sustainability Strategy: “Mitigating climate risk and advancing the energy transition” is one of our three overarching 2030 Sustainability Ambitions. In the course of defining metrics and setting targets, we have developed our Climate Action Plan.
The plan builds on our commitments and initiatives of recent years, and combines three objectives:
- We aim to become the leading re/insurance company on physical climate risk.
- We aim to become a leading provider of re/insurance solutions for low-carbon transition opportunities.
- We build partnerships to develop scalable solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
For specific targets related to these objectives, take a look at the “Mitigating climate risk and advancing the energy transition” section. The targets include our three net-zero commitments made in 2019.
Our three commitments to reaching net-zero emissions
For further details please also refer to our climate-related financial disclosures (TCFD) in the Financial Report 2020.
Key achievements of 2020
Below you can see an overview of the key actions we took in 2020 that are relevant for our Climate Action Plan and help us progress towards our net-zero commitments, with references to detailed content in the report:
- Revised our Sustainable Business Risk Framework, including thermal coal policy, and updated oil and gas policy
- Continued work on the carbon steering mechanism – started to apply a carbon footprinting methodology developed with the CRO Forum to our direct insurance portfolio
- Co-led the development of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance Target Setting Protocol enabling target setting for 2025, and set a reduction target of 35% on the carbon intensity of our corporate bond and listed equity portfolio by 2025, with base year 2018 (Financial Report 2020)
- From 2014 to 2020, we offered USD 10.7 billion of climate protection to 130 (sub-)sovereigns
- >5 600 wind and solar farms insured, avoiding 22 million tonnes of CO2 emissions
- >400 dialogue engagements with clients on thermal coal
- First multinational company to announce triple-digit real carbon levy
- Set a 30% reduction target for CO2 emissions from air travel by the end of 2021, relative to the level of 2018
- SONAR 2020 report on emerging risks, including special features on carbon capture and a low-carbon future