Swiss Re staff actively contribute to reducing CO2 emissions

21 January 2008, Zurich

Swiss Re's 'COyou2 reduce and gain' programme, launched a year ago, offers its staff financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By 2011, Swiss Re aims to motivate at least 10% of its workforce to take part. In its first year, the programme already attracted 400 staff – 5% of all eligible employees worldwide – who have used the available funding for their own environmentally friendly investments.

Swiss Re, the world's leading reinsurer, has been active in the climate change debate for over 20 years. In 2003, to demonstrate its commitment to reducing emissions, Swiss Re was the first major financial services company to launch a voluntary initiative to become greenhouse neutral. Launched in 2007 and set to run until 2011, the 'COyou2 reduce and gain' programme is another example of Swiss Re's commitment to the environment. It offers staff financial incentives to reduce their own carbon footprint. Swiss Re pays up to half of the amount invested, up to a maximum of CHF 5000 or the corresponding equivalent in local currency.

The results of the first year are very positive, with more than 400 staff – over 5% of eligible employees worldwide – taking part in the programme. The subsidised investments vary from one region to another, depending on local circumstances and conditions; the programme has supported 130 staff – 116 of
them in the US – in acquiring a low-emission hybrid car, while 170 employees in Switzerland received contributions towards annual travel passes for public transport. A further 80 staff around the world were granted subsidies with energy- and electricity-related investments, including the installation of solar panels and heat pumps.

The company organises events around the world to inform its staff about environmentally friendly electricity, buildings, products and forms of transport; these events support the programme and encourage people to take part.

Ivo Menzinger, Head of Sustainability, Emerging Risk Management, Swiss Re, said: "Through its COyou2 programme, Swiss Re is encouraging its staff to play an active part in reducing their private CO2 emissions. We are pleased to see so much interest in the programme, and invite other enterprises to benefit from our experience."

Notes to editors

Swiss Re is the world's leading and most diversified global reinsurer. The company operates through offices in more than 25 countries. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re offers financial services products that enable risk-taking essential to enterprise and progress. The company's traditional reinsurance products and related services for property and casualty, as well as the life and health business are complemented by insurance-based corporate finance solutions and supplementary services for comprehensive risk management. Swiss Re is rated "AA-" by Standard, Poor's, "Aa2" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best.