Why is sustainability important for Allianz?
Insurers are tied by the nature of their business to healthy and sustainable developments in society. We can and must be a force for good. We help our customers to cope with challenges such as climate change and natural catastrophes, personal safety and data security risks and momentous changes sweeping society. As a global insurer and long-term investor, sustainability is part of our DNA. We think in long-term outcomes and how we can make the world a more resilient place.
What is the focus of your Corporate Responsibility Strategy?
The newly adapted Corporate Responsibility Strategy is built on three pillars: Low-Carbon Economy, Social Inclusion, and Business Integration. And we’re already putting this into practice. We strongly support the renewable energy transition and decarbonization of the economy through sustainable investments in things like wind parks. We have, as a company, shrunk our own carbon footprint. We support children and youth through our Encouraging Future Generations program, which empowers young people to grow with confidence and shape resilient, more inclusive societies. And we integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles throughout our investment and insurance business by holding business decisions up to the light and asking ourselves, ‘Will this benefit society and our customers in the long term?’
How do you apply sustainability principles?
We apply sustainability principles across our entire business. We promote strong, sustainable portfolios using ESG considerations and our customers’ long-term interests. This benefits our business for sure – like I said, we take the long-term view – but it also has a huge positive impact on our employees, our stakeholders, and society at large. In 2016, for example, we introduced the Allianz ESG Scoring approach for investments, which allows us to manage our portfolio taking sustainability into consideration.
What made 2016 special for you?
Perhaps the greatest moment was launching our new Social Inclusion program, Encouraging Future Generations, and our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages. I know we can support young people worldwide and Allianz is deeply committed to promoting equality and social inclusion. I want Allianz to lead a transition in culture worldwide where sustainable, responsible business becomes the norm.
What keeps you up at night?
Climate change poses the biggest threat. This is one reason why we no longer finance coal-intense business models and will double our equity investments in renewable energy.
Embedding sustainability in all parts of our business doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. We have already made great strides and are recognized as best-in-class, as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index rating shows. We rose six percentage points on the scale and climbed to Gold from Bronze in the rating in 2016, making Allianz the highest placed primary insurer.
But we can still do better. We need to continually improve our reporting and transparency practices. This is why we introduced external auditing for our sustainability data and information in 2016 to underscore the accuracy of our Sustainability Report.
Allianz is leading this global transformation from the front. That’s what our customers expect from us and that’s what I expect from the people at Allianz who serve them. Our own self interests are inseparable from those of a healthy, sustainable society. We will use our position of strength to help make the idea of a better, healthier, and cleaner tomorrow become real.