Human Rights

All humans are entitled to basic rights and freedom. Allianz recognizes the importance of human rights, as both a value-based and a business issue.

Respecting human rights is not just an issue for states and governments. Companies from all industries have an increasing responsibility to incorporate human rights issues into their business standards, wherever they operate.

The Allianz Group is committed to respecting human rights including:

  • International Bill of Human Rights
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • United Nations Covenants on Human Rights
  • Core Labor Standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO)
  • OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights
  • UN Global Compact

Our position

Allianz recognizes the importance of human rights, as both a value-based issue and a business issue. We have been a participant in the UN Global Compact (UNGC) since 2002 and report on our implementation of the UNGC’s Ten Principles every year in our annual Sustainability Report and the UNGC Communication on Progress.

We have a responsibility to respect human rights in our various roles - as an insurer and investor, as an employer, as a company (including our supply chain), and as a corporate citizen. For these dimensions we have different processes in place. However, we and the rest of the industry are still learning about this important topic, and we will continue to work on ways to incorporate it into our business. 

Integrating Human Rights into Core Business

As a corporate insurer and investor, we have developed a human rights due diligence process as part of our overall ESG approach. This process is integrated into our broader risk management system to ensure a quick and rigorous implementation. For our due diligence we use a combination of a sector- and country approach. Allianz has developed thirteen ESG guidelines for sensitive business sectors, which include a sector-specific human rights guideline. Thus, relevant human rights aspects are checked as part of the overall risk assessment for any insurance and investments into non-listed asset classes in the respective sector.

In addition, Allianz has developed a watch list for sensitive countries where systematic human rights violations occur. For any business in those countries, a general human rights guideline is being applied.

When a human rights risk is identified by an underwriter or investment manager by applying the sector guideline or the overall human rights guideline, a mandatory referral process starts for further due diligence by ESG experts and the involvement of central units such as the risk and communication departments. Where an issue is detected and the (re)insurer has leverage (in a lead position or with good contact with the client/broker/ investee company), engagement is encouraged to address and mitigate the human rights risk.

If no mitigation measures exist or if leverage cannot be increased, the risk might be unacceptable. Factors which may influence this decision include the severity of the human rights violation, the significance of the business relationship as well as own values.

Some of the risks Allianz has identified as most critical to its business are:

  • Governance risks  
  • Risks to local communities 
  • Reputational risks 
  • Resettlement risks 
  • Workforce risks

Based on our internal due diligence assessments, Allianz Group is not aware of any direct negative impacts to human rights of any stakeholder, which required us to make remedy or mitigate under any UN guidance. We proactively and continuously review our impacts taking steps as set out in the Allianz ESG Integration Framework.

Grievance Mechanism

 

Allianz Group encourages all its stakeholders to contact us in case there is clear evidence of failure of Allianz Group’s responsibility to avoid any harm of human rights or its involvement in a human rights violation.

If you have information with regards to the above, you can contact the Allianz Group Compliance function at: 

Respecting Human Rights as an Employer

As an employer we respect international human rights standards for our own workforce. We apply the Universal Declaration of Human Rights throughout our worldwide operations. We are a participant in the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and have integrated its ten principles into our globally-binding Code of Conduct. We also respect the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. To support employee rights, we were one of the first companies to create pan-European worker participation standards and establish a European SE Works Council under the legislation for Societas Europaea (SE) companies.

We also endorse the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work, including the ILO declaration on the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. In countries where local law prohibits formalized unions and works councils, we respect local law but do not obstruct parallel means of association and bargaining, and we strive to act in the spirit of the UNGC principles.

In early 2020, Allianz’s CEO Oliver Bäte has signed a pledge to support the Women’s Empowerment Principles, highlighting our commitment to foster gender equality at Allianz.

For more details on Allianz's progress on gender equality and diversity initiatives, see latest Allianz Group Sustainability Report.

Respecting Human Rights in our Operations

As a company, we respect and apply international human rights standards for the workforce of our suppliers and promote sustainability standards in our supply chain. Our Global Sourcing and Procurement department works with current and potential suppliers. In practice, this means ensuring that all suppliers abide by the environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards outlined in the Allianz Code of Conduct and our Purchasing Principles. Both the Code and the Principles are aligned with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards and the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which cover human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption. Allianz is also committed to compliance with the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, both from the perspective of our UK business and the interactions of our wider Group.

Fostering Human Rights as a Corporate Citizen

As a committed corporate citizen, we also support projects and initiatives that foster human rights. Our international network of 14 Allianz-affiliated corporate foundations look at challenges faced by society, in order to try to safeguard the future. This network includes the Allianz Environmental Foundation, dedicated to responsible environmental management, and the Allianz Cultural Foundation, which, through the arts, works to promote intercultural dialogue and cooperation among young people.

Whilst Allianz is keen to donate to charitable organizations, it is important that recipients uphold our human rights standards. The Allianz Guidance for Donations and Charitable Memberships (Corporate Giving) stipulates that corporate giving can only be made to organizations that meet the principles set out in the Allianz Code of Conduct for Business Ethics and Compliance.

Human Rights Governance

Established in 2012, the Group ESG Board is the highest governing body for sustainability-related issues, including human rights.

It consists of five voting members of the Allianz SE Board of Management in charge of:

  •  Operations 
  • Finance, Controlling and Risk 
  • Insurance 
  •  Investments 
  • Asset Management

The ESG Board also involves non-voting representatives of the functions: Group Compliance, and Group Communications and Corporate Responsibility.

The Group ESG Board meets quarterly and is responsible for ensuring ESG integration across all business lines and core processes dealing with insurance and investment decisions. It also takes ownership of corporate responsibility and human rights-related topics and associated stakeholder engagement. Allianz is committed to an open dialogue and regular engagement with NGOs and human rights experts.

In addition to the Group ESG Board, human rights topics are managed by the Group Corporate Responsibility  team in collaboration with Group Compliance, Group Sourcing and Procurement, and local ESG teams across the different operating entities.

Industry-wide Collaboration on Human Rights

Allianz co-led a multi-year project together with UNEP FI’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance initiative which resulted in the publication of the first global guide to manage ESG risks in non-life insurance business in June 2020. The guide shows how insurers can develop a systematic approach to managing ESG risks such as climate change, environmental degradation, protected sites and species, animal welfare, human rights, controversial weapons, and corruption.

The guide includes heat maps indicating the level of potential ESG risk across lines of business and economic sectors—from agriculture, chemicals, defense, energy, healthcare and technology; to infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, real estate, transport and utilities.