CEO's Perspective

Climate change and economic instability are amongst the biggest challenges we will face in the coming decades. We have no time to waste.

Allianz became the highest-ranked insurer worldwide in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017.

Oliver Bäte

An achievement like this doesn’t just happen overnight. Many ambitious and dedicated colleagues have worked together over a number of years to achieve this goal. While there are still challenges to come, we have made great strides in recent years. We have further embedded environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into our proprietary portfolio (the money we manage on behalf of our insurance customers), by rolling out the ESG Scoring approach across our debt and equity investments. This allows us to make even better investment decisions that foster sustainable markets and societies, while meeting long-term interests. We have also grown closer to the community, having expanded our Corporate Citizenship Program and launching the Future Generations Award for helping underprivileged youth.

These steps forward have helped us to win the trust and recognition of our employees, customers and policymakers that enable us to be a leader of sustainable business standards in the financial community.

Three pillars that make an impact

Large, responsible companies can, and do, have a measurable impact. We do this by focusing our Corporate Responsibility (CR) approach on three pillars: Low-Carbon Economy, ESG Business Integration and Social Inclusion. These pillars support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), demonstrating our dedication to global sustainability.

What does that mean? We take action to protect the environment and embrace the Paris Climate Agreement. We applied ESG criteria to our €690 billion portfolio. Furthermore we divested €265 million from coal and invested €5.6 billion into renewable energy.

We want to keep supporting children and youth through our Encouraging Future Generations Program, too. So far, we have distributed €250,000 through the Social Innovation Fund to five of our operating entities. The SOS Children’s Villages have been heartily supported by our employees via the 2017 Allianz World Run – with tailor-made emergency preparedness packs amounting to a total value of €500,000.

We will not stop there, either. Our finger is on the pulse of sustainability market standards to identify potential challenges, listen to stakeholder expectations, and stay ahead of trends. We constantly monitor customer needs, regulatory developments and scientific advances to be involved in all important developments in this field.

The need to innovate to find suitable solutions

The how is just as important as the what. We need to continuously innovate: market-based solutions are one way in which we can go further in promoting economic growth and social innovation. Just like governmental or donation-based programs, they can help lift people out of poverty. In particular, many regions in Asia and Africa need such solutions to tackle climate change risks, healthcare and other issues that directly affect people’s standard of living.

Our latest investment in leading microinsurance platform BIMA is one example of this. With just a few clicks on their mobile phones, 24 million citizens now have access to affordable insurance and healthcare. Our investment will allow the company to deliver against their ambition to reach one billion customers. Digital technologies enable faster, simpler solutions that strengthen local communities.

My personal motivation for engaging in sustainability

Climate change and economic instability are amongst the biggest challenges we will face in the coming decades. We have no time to waste. It’s not a question of getting the wheels turning, but rather how fast we can drive the change. We will listen to our stakeholders’ concerns and continue to go forward. When we meet our stakeholders’ expectations, we are also meeting those of our own: to work together to reach a more sustainable future.