Sustainability Risk Framework: policies

Our Sustainability Risk Framework comprises umbrella policies on human rights and environmental protection plus eight sector guidelines. Applying ethical principles enshrined in international charters and declarations, the policies set out what we regard as the main concerns in the respective areas.

Through our Sustainability Risk Framework we address ethical concerns related to potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of our business transactions and the reputational risks they may entail. The main concerns we pay attention to are specified in a set of policies and guidelines.

Umbrella policies and sector guidelines

The Framework is based on the overarching principles of respecting human rights and protecting the environment. These principles are encapsulated in two umbrella policies that are valid for all our transactions:

  • Human rights
  • Environmental protection

In addition, specific guidelines apply these overarching principles to eight sectors or issues in which we perceive major sustainability risks:

  • Defence industry
  • Oil and gas (including oil sands and hydraulic fracturing)
  • Coal
  • Mining
  • Dams
  • Animal testing
  • Forestry, pulp & paper and oil palm
  • Nuclear weapons proliferation

Clear sustainability risk criteria

Each of the two umbrella policies and eight sector guidelines of our Sustainability Risk Framework contains criteria and qualitative standards which define precisely when a transaction may present a "sustainability risk". We regularly review all these policies and guidelines to ensure they stay abreast of relevant new risk developments and stakeholder expectations. Below you can download an overview of the main concerns we address through our policies and guidelines.

Applying ethical principles

Each of the framework's policies and guidelines lists what we consider to be the key concerns in the respective area. In defining these concerns, we take guidance from internationally recognised ethical principles. Swiss Re is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, which derives its human rights principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its labour principles from the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, its environment principles from the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and its anti-corruption principles from the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Find out how we implement the policies and guidelines of our Sustainability Risk Framework through the Sensitive Business Risks (SBR) process as well as company and country exclusions.

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