Global insurer Zurich has announced it will be setting new targets for its investments and operations in an effort to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emission economy.
It has also pledged to help finance the transition and will require companies it invests in to set targets aligned with the Paris Agreement.
The group plans to take a leading role in developing industry-wide methodologies to measure emissions from insurance underwriting.
The action plan is part of Zurich’s ambition to be one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world.
The measures underscore a commitment made in 2019 when Zurich became the first insurer to sign the Business Ambition for 1.5°C Pledge to limit global warming.
Zurich has also pledged that it will engage with companies directly and through organisations such as Climate Action 100+ and the Alliance.
It has made clear that if there is an engagement fail and companies refuse to set targets after due dialogue, Zurich will vote against board members at shareholder meetings.
To help accelerate the reduction in emissions in operations, Zurich has set an internal price on these emissions starting this year.
The levy will feed a carbon fund, which will be used to support Zurich’s CO2 neutrality commitment and to drive down emissions from operations, as well as other emissions sources related to the business.
As a member of RE100, the Group committed in 2019 to use 100 percent renewable power across all global operations by the end of 2022, and as a member of EV100, Zurich pledged in 2020 to use only electric vehicles in its global car fleet by the end of 2029.
Green mobility is an important lever to mitigate climate change and Zurich will seek to champion this transition and enable its customers do to the same.
Group Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco said: “Our role as an insurer is to protect people and climate change is the greatest risk there is. We are using our influence as a global insurer and investor to drive deep cuts in emissions, because working with others is where we can make the biggest impact.
“Our own operations have been carbon neutral since 2014, and we’ve since been focused on reducing our remaining emissions. Over the next few years, big cuts will come from measures such as switching to renewable power and electric vehicles, savings in data centres and curbing business travel.”