Independent Assurance Report on the Swiss Re Sustainability Report 2020
on the Swiss Re Sustainability Reporting to the Executive Management of Swiss Re Ltd, Zürich (Swiss Re)
We have been engaged to perform assurance procedures to provide limited assurance on the consolidated CO2 emissions reporting and Sustainability topics and sections disclosed with the online version of the Swiss Re Sustainability Report 2020 (“Sustainability Report 2020”) as well as with the online version of the Swiss Re Financial Report 2020 (“Financial Report 2020”). Those sections and information of the Sustainability Report 2020 and Financial Report 2020 selected by Swiss Re and subject to our assurance engagement are marked with the label ‘ PwC CH’.
Scope and subject matter
Our engagement focused on the following data and information for the financial year ended 31 December 2020 disclosed in the Sustainability Report 2020 and Financial Report 2020 of Swiss Re and its consolidated subsidiaries:
- The management and reporting processes with respect to the consolidated sustainability reporting as well as the control environment in relation to the aggregation of data and information;
- The organisational measures and internal key controls in place at the corporate level regarding aggregation of information obtained from the subsidiaries and reporting functions;
- The consolidated data and information disclosed in the Sustainability Report 2020 in the sections “Our approach to sustainability”, “Creating solutions for sustainability”, “Extending our risk intelligence”, “Being a responsible investor”, “Engaging in dialogue with our stakeholders”, “Driving sustainable operations”, “Engaging our people” and “Ensuring good corporate governance and compliance” marked with the label ‘ PwC CH’;
- The information marked with the label ‘ PwC CH’, namely the consolidated CO2 emissions 2020 (Scope 1, 2 and 3 in adherence with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) and environmental data 2020 in the tables of the Sustainability Report 2020 entitled “CO2 emissions per employee (full-time equivalent, FTE), Swiss Re Group”, “Underlying environmental data, Swiss Re Group”, and “Operational footprint data”;
- The information marked with the label ‘ PwC CH’, namely the retirement of 27 250 tonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalents) of the Sustainability Report 2020;
The management reporting processes with respect to the sustainability reporting 2020 were assessed against the internal and external policies and procedures as set forth in the following:
- “Internal Environmental Performance Indicators for the Financial Industry” published by the Verein für Umweltmanagement in Banken, Sparkassen und Versicherungen e.V. (VfU) published in 1997 and 2011;
- “The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Revised Edition)” published in 2004 by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development;
- DEFRA Guidelines to DEFRA/DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting. AEA for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA);
- The framework document “Environmental Performance Indicators (EPI) Reporting at Swiss Re”, version 1.1 from December 2015 including Annex; and
- The defined internal guidelines, by which sustainability data and information are internally gathered, collated and aggregated.
The accuracy and completeness of environmental indicators are subject to inherent limitations given their nature and methods for determining, calculating and estimating such data. GHG quantification is subject to inherent uncertainty, because of the incomplete scientific knowledge used to determine emissions factors and the values needed to combine emissions of different gases. Our assurance report should therefore be read in connection with Swiss Re’s reporting criteria (including guidelines, definitions and procedures on the reporting of its sustainability performance).
Swiss Re’s responsibility
The Executive Management of Swiss Re is responsible for both the subject matter and the criteria as well as for selection, preparation and presentation of the selected information in accordance with the criteria. This responsibility includes the design, implementation and maintenance of related internal control relevant to this reporting process that is free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
Our independence and quality controls
We are independent of Swiss Re in accordance with the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA Code). We have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with the IESBA Code, which is founded on fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behavior.
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG applies International Standard on Quality Control 1 and accordingly maintains a comprehensive system of quality control including documented policies and procedures regarding compliance with ethical requirements, professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Our responsibility is to perform a limited assurance engagement to express a conclusion on the sustainability indicators.
We planned and performed our procedures in accordance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000) (Revised), ‘Assurance Engagements other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information’, and, in respect of greenhouse gas emissions, with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3410), ‘Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements’, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. These standards require that we plan and perform this engagement to obtain limited assurance on the identified sustainability indicators, in all material aspects, in accordance with Swiss Re’s policies and procedures.
A limited assurance engagement under ISAE 3000 (Revised) and ISAE 3410 is substantially less in scope than a reasonable assurance engagement in relation to both the risk assessment procedures, including an understanding of internal control, and the procedures performed in response to the assessed risks. Consequently, the nature, timing and extent of procedures for gathering sufficient appropriate evidence are deliberately limited relative to a reasonable assurance engagement and therefore less assurance is obtained with a limited assurance engagement than for a reasonable assurance engagement. The procedures selected depend on the assurance practitioner’s judgement.
Summary of the work performed
Our assurance procedures included, amongst others, the following work:
- Evaluation of the application of Swiss Re’s sustainability reporting guidelines
Assessing whether the methodology applied by Swiss Re is in line with the reporting criteria;
- Interviews and management inquiry
Evaluating the sustainability reporting and underlying performance indicators by performing analytical procedures and interviewing selected key contacts to assess whether the internal Environmental Performance Indicators Reporting guidelines and sustainability guidance were consistently applied by the selected locations; Performing inquiries of personnel responsible for internal sustainability reporting and data collection at the Swiss Re corporate level to evaluate the reporting and aggregation process and to assess its appropriateness;
- Reconciliation of CO2 emissions data
Reconciling the CO2 emissions data for energy consumption, business travel, copy paper, waste, water, technical gases and commuting and sustainability data and information to the data used for the internal sustainability reporting of the selected locations;
- Assessment of the key figures
Performing tests on a sample basis of evidence supporting selected sustainability data and information (natural catastrophes and climate change, the commitment to the United Nations, the commitment with Women’s World Banking, decarbonising the business model, the sustainable business risk framework, emerging risks, responsible investments, engagement with stakeholders, CO2 emissions and reductions, energy consumption for heating and electricity, business travel data, sustainable supply chain data, the COyou2 subsidies, HR data and information, diversity and inclusion, employee health data) to assess their completeness, accuracy, adequacy and consistency;
- Review of the documentation
Reviewing the relevant documentation on a sample basis, including Swiss Re’s sustainability-related policies, the management of reporting structures, the documentation and systems used to collect, analyse and aggregate reported sustainability data and information;
- Assessment of the processes and data consolidation
Reviewing the appropriateness of the management and reporting processes for sustainability reporting; and assessing the processing and consolidation of data at Swiss Re’s Group level; and
- Review of certified emission reductions
Reviewing the retirement of 27 250 tonnes of CO2e: 8 478 voluntary emission reductions (VERs) with additional Gold Standard label, 19 026 certified emission reductions (CERs) from the Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF).
We have not conducted any work on data other than outlined in the subject matter as defined above. We believe that the evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our assurance conclusions.
Based on our work described in this report, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the sustainability data and information outlined in the scope and subject matter section has not been prepared, in all material aspects, in accordance with suitable criteria.
Paul de Jong
Zurich, 18 March, 2021