Why does Allianz need an ESG Board?
Jay Ralph: The concept of ESG is still very young. The term refers to a management approach that includes environmental and social aspects in corporate governance and decision-making processes. The fundamental idea is not new. ESG is all about creating a more sustainable business, a principle that Allianz, as a leading insurer and long-term asset manager, has successfully put into practice for some time now. The establishment of the ESG Board serves to further elevate these issues in our Group corporate governance. So our move to set up this committee with Board member leadership is a logical one.
What triggered the establishment of the ESG Board?
Allianz has enjoyed the status of "Gold Class Member" of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for nine years now, which means it is one of the most sustainable companies in the world. Only a few days ago, a study by Transparency International referred to Allianz as the most transparent company in its sector. At Allianz, sustainability and transparency are two important guiding principles. We have achieved a lot in this area and the commitment to put these principles into practice can be felt throughout the company. Better coordination within the Group and with our stakeholders will allow us to put this positive energy to good use and improve our effectiveness in this area. An ESG Office built on existing internal resources will support our efforts.
At the same time, we are receiving more inquiries from customers, politicians and non-governmental organizations. The topics they address are important. They include issues such as climate change, demographics, the use of micro-insurance to fight poverty and the impact of commodity investments on food prices. Leveraging our Group know-how in dialog and collaboration with our stakeholders will allow us to not only keep up with change, but help shape it.
What is the added value for your stakeholders - namely your customers, investors, employees and society?
We are experts in managing risks. We are experts in investing Allianz and client funds in sustainable businesses. We are often involved at a very early stage in technological and social developments. Progress can only make it onto the market when risks can be insured and when capital is made available via debt and equity financing. Our expertise in these areas can help our customers manage their private and business risks and to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Promoting sustainable business by incorporating ESG principles in our insurance and investing activities is not just the right thing to do; it gives Allianz a competitive advantage in the market.