Swiss Re's roadmap to a net-zero investment portfolio

The current climate crisis requires all hands on deck. Institutional, long-term investors have an important role to play in achieving the net-zero emissions target and can have an amplifying impact with their substantial collective asset base. By outlining the latest considerations on our way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and financing the transition to a low-carbon economy, we aim to help accelerate the collaboration needed to achieve a 1.5°C world.
 
Sustainability has been at the core of Swiss Re’s business for over 40 years. More than ten years ago, we started integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into our investment decisions. In the latest Responsible Investments publication, "Responsible Investments: Our roadmap to net zero" we illustrate how Swiss Re is addressing climate change comprehensively in its investment portfolio – outlining key takeaways and lessons learned.

Key takeaways

  • Ambitious mid-term targets supported by action: On top of the 30% reduction achieved from 2015 to 2018, Swiss Re targets an additional 35% reduction in carbon emissions for its listed equities and corporate bond portfolio by 2025.
  • Selection rather than exclusion: With almost all sectors and countries sizably above the 1.5°C pathway, Swiss Re found that targeted security selection is more impactful than abandoning an industry altogether.
  • Real economy engagement: Swiss Re actively engages with companies in its listed equity portfolio with a carbon intensity at or above 100 tonnes CO2 emissions per USD million revenue. By 2020, Swiss Re already engaged with 48% of its portfolio companies and targets to engage with the top 20 emitters at least once a year to support them in aligning their business models toward a 1.5°C pathway.
  • Multi-stakeholder approach: Without the action of investors and other financial market players coupled with the public sector, society will fail to reach the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming.
  • Amplifying impact of long-term investors: With approximately USD 80 trillion in assets under management, long-term investors can meaningfully accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.

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​Responsible investing in practice

“We make the world more resilient” is Swiss Re’s vision. More than ten years ago, our Asset Management unit embarked on a journey to not only generate risk-adjusted, stable long-term returns, but to also consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects in our investment decisions.