Climate change stands to increase insured losses from extreme weather events by 37 per cent within just a decade. Allianz’s climate change strategy is the backbone of our efforts to mitigate those effects of a warming world. But Allianz also addresses its own direct impact on the environment.
Clearly, compared to heavy industry, the carbon footprint of an insurance company is relatively small.
Although going digital is a key business priority, insurance is known as a paper business. It does not come as a surprise that paper consumption is one of the three main sources for CO2 emissions. In 2015, the global paper use, including printing and the correspondence with clients, amounted to a stack 1,200 times higher than the Eiffel Tower.
Another big source of emissions is office buildings. With local markets in 70 countries there are a lot of offices to maintain. The amount of energy to keep them running was 720 Gigawatt hours in 2015 – with that we could have staged our own event the size of the 2012 London Olympics. Every month.
And the third big source of emissions is travel. The insurance business requires a lot of client contact and given our international reach, this can indeed add up. So there is definitely room for improvement in that area: in 2015 all travelled kilometers amounted to 910 million which means we went around the world 2000 times every month.
Environmental targets help to stay on track
Allianz is constantly rethinking business models in terms of protecting the environment, for example by deciding to divest from fossil fuel sources like coal. In addition, our own environmental targets help to not lose track on improving Allianz’s environmental performance. Back in 2008, the Allianz board of management agreed on a first set of group wide targets.
Those targets were set to be achieved in 2015 and Allianz managed to exceed all of them.
While the target demanded to reduce the amount of CO2 per employee by 35 percent against a 2006 baseline, it was actually reduced by 43.3 percent. Compared to a 2010 baseline, energy efficiency was to increase by ten percent and actually increased by over 25 percent.
These efforts, together with the investments in carbon projects to offset remaining emissions earned Allianz the official status of a carbon neutral company in 2012.
The buck does not stop here: new targets are already in place
Environmental sustainability continues to grow in importance for many of Allianz’s stakeholder groups: for customers and clients but also along the entire supply chain, the global network of environmental officers as well as partners from our facilities, procurement, IT, and real estate management.
Targets to reduce our impact across the three focus areas energy, travel and paper are already in place and require Allianz to further reduce CO2 emissions per employee by 30 percent, and global energy use by 30 percent, both by 2020 against a 2010 baseline. And for the first time it is set in stone to use 40 percent less paper compared to a 2014 baseline, also by 2020.
Efforts to continue our journey towards a lower-carbon economy and operations are already under way. The new Allianz headquarter in Istanbul, Turkey, which was opened in 2015, for example, is the first LEED Platinum certified building in the country.
When it comes to business travel, Allianz is promoting low-carbon alternatives like train travel for shorter distances or video conferencing to avoid travelling altogether.
And last but not least, more and more Allianz businesses offer paperless solutions for their customers, including digital access to products or customer information.
The first assessment against our new targets will take place in 2020 which will then be the starting date for the second round. Allianz promises to stay green, to 2020 and beyond.