Sustainability governance

We have established a governance framework to develop, enhance, implement and monitor our Group Sustainability Strategy.

Board of Directors

At Swiss Re’s highest governance level, the Board of Directors (BoD) is responsible for overseeing the development and adoption of the Group Sustainability Strategy and related policies. It has assigned detailed sustainability- and climate-related responsibilities to four Board committees (see chart below).

Board committees

  • The Chairman’s and Governance Committee monitors and reviews general progress toward achievement of the Group’s Sustainability Strategy, including all sustainability-related external engagements, based on regular updates from management and the sustainability team.
  • The Compensation Committee establishes and reviews the compensation framework, guidelines and performance criteria. Performance criteria include sustainability- and climate change-related topics.
  • The Finance and Risk Committee defines the Group Risk Policy, reviews risk capacity limits, monitors adherence to risk tolerance, and reviews all top risk issues and exposures, including those with a specific sustainability or climate dimension.
  • The Investment Committee reviews Swiss Re’s Asset Management activities and, as part of this, receives regular updates on Group Asset Management’s Responsible Investing Strategy and implementation, including in the area of climate change.

Group Executive Committee

While the BoD is responsible for oversight, the Group Executive Committee (Group EC) ensures the implementation of the Group Sustainability Strategy. It therefore approves detailed sustainability policies such as the oil and gas policy updated in 2020. Furthermore, it sets and monitors risk capacity limits (including for natural catastrophes) and determines product policy and underwriting standards.

The Group EC members who head Swiss Re’s Group Functions, the Business Units Reinsurance and Corporate Solutions, the iptiQ Division as well as Public Sector Solutions have explicit responsibilities related to sustainability, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • The Group Chief Risk Officer (Group CRO) is responsible for providing the BoD and Group EC with independent assurance that all of Swiss Re’s risks are being appropriately modelled, governed and managed, and that adequate controls are in place. As part of executing these responsibilities, the Group CRO is charged with establishing the Group’s Risk Management Framework for all risk categories, including sustainability and emerging risks. In addition, the Group CRO chairs the Group Sustainability Council (GSC, see below). In this role, he guides the GSC's sustainability activities across the Swiss Re Group.
  • The Group Chief Investment Officer (Group CIO) has overall responsibility for Group Asset Management and its investment result, and with that also for the consistent integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects along the investment process. The Group CIO is responsible for investment decisions within the Strategic Asset Allocation implementation, including those related to Responsible Investing and is informed of ESG updates through various channels including the Asset Management Investment Committee.
  • The Group Chief Financial Officer (Group CFO) is responsible for the Group-wide Finance function with a focus on steering and achieving the Group’s financial targets. He is also responsible for Swiss Re’s investor relations and public disclosures, including the Group Annual Report, which includes our climate-related financial disclosures (TCFD).
  • The Group Chief Underwriting Officer (Group CUO) is responsible for steering capital to the most attractive areas in underwriting that are of strategic importance for the Group’s underwriting, as well as overseeing Swiss Re Institute's research and development, which improves both capital allocation and risk selection. The Institute’s research agenda also includes sustainability and resilience-related topics.
  • The Group Chief Operating Officer (Group COO) is responsible for the Group-wide operations functions. This responsibility includes overseeing Communications, Human Resources, the Corporate Real Estate & Services (CRES) division, Global Sourcing and IT. CRES steers and monitors the reduction of Swiss Re’s operational footprint and is in charge of Swiss Re’s Greenhouse Neutral Programme to reduce our own CO2 emissions as well as the new commitment to reach net-zero CO2 emissions in our operations by 2030.
  • At the business level, the Business Units Reinsurance and Corporate Solutions, the iptiQ Division and Public Sector Solutions implement the Group Sustainability Strategy, including the Climate Action Plan.

Group Sustainability Council

To optimise coordination and alignment at the Group level and to monitor progress on the implementation of the Group Sustainability Strategy, the Group EC has established the Group Sustainability Council (GSC), an advisory body chaired by the Group Chief Risk Officer. The GSC reviews the annual sustainability assessment as well as the sustainability-related performance targets, which are considered for determining the Group API pool (see below, and Sustainability Report 2020 for details). The GSC is composed of Group EC members and other senior management representatives.

Sustainability-related targets linked to compensation

To reinforce our sustainability governance and further embed sustainability in all our business activities, we have continued to strengthen the link between remuneration and sustainability performance. As of 2020, the Group introduced sustainability as a distinct qualitative assessment dimension for determining its variable pay, ie the Group Annual Performance Incentive (API) pool. This establishes a clear connection between sustainability targets and compensation for all employees, including the Group Executive Committee and the CEO.


Related content