CEO's Perspective

Oliver Bäte

On January 21, 1890, Allianz issued its first policy in Berlin to one of its founders.

Today, we have about 100 million customers across the globe with annual revenues of 142.4 billion euros.

Over the past 130 years of our existence, we have witnessed the emergence and disappearance of a number of companies and even industries and overcome several crises, some of which were severe. But we have prevailed and even come out stronger. However, one thing that has stayed constant for us throughout is our determination to do our business in a sustainable manner and support our customers in their quest for lasting success.

That will not change going forward – we will continue to secure the future of our customers and society, sustainably.

Of course, the face of sustainability has changed over time. In these pages, you can read about our current focus topics, the principles that guide us, the framework that we have set up to achieve our ambitions, and the progress we have made in 2019 towards our goals.

Our foundational value of solidarity and cooperation are embedded in our name Allianz, which is the German word for ‘alliance’. Like always, we are collaborating closely with not just our employees, agents and customers but also governmental and social organizations on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy. This spirit of collaboration is reflected in the title of this report – “Collaborating for a Sustainable Future”.

It’s encouraging to see that our efforts are being noticed. 2019 was the third straight year that we topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in the insurers category. Last year, we were also named the world’s top insurance brand by Interbrand.

These honors show that we are not alone in our belief that we are headed down the right path, even if the destination is some distance away.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight one of last year’s initiatives that has kept me busy recently. Our involvement in the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance is particularly close to my heart. It’s a partnership of institutional investors, including pension funds and insurers, who are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions of their investment portfolios to net zero by 2050.

Our involvement in this came from a simple question: How can we, as a financial services provider with considerable reach and a worldwide presence, act as a catalyst in the global movement to reduce emissions?

What does our involvement mean specifically? Among other things, we are talking to companies whose securities we hold in our portfolios. These talks focus on how best they can incorporate sustainability into their operations. Our aim is to create an effective engine that gradually steers the larger economy towards carbon neutrality and consequently, slows down climate change.

Another initiative I would like to tell you about is the Global Investors for Sustainable Development, which is also convened by the UN. The group of 30 business leaders aims at leveraging the insights of the private sector to remove hurdles and implement solutions for mobilizing resources for sustainable development. As vice chairman of the group, I see this as an important step towards helping the UN realize its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It pleases me to know that our employees strongly believe in our vision. This becomes obvious if you look at the strong participation last year in the Allianz World Run, an employee initiative to raise funds for our partner SOS Children’s Villages. In 2019, the fourth edition of the run mobilized 12,300 runners from 98 countries. Together, they covered a total distance of 1.6 million kilometers. The funds raised will help SOS Children’s Villages support many underprivileged children in their journey to adulthood.

These projects are just a few I wanted to highlight. You will find details of many more of our initiatives in this report. The extensive data section will give you a clear look into what material we use for making our decisions.

Why do we consider this non-financial report so important? Because we believe that the more our efforts are recognized and the more transparent we are about our plans, the greater the chances of others being encouraged to consider adopting sustainable strategies.

Despite the disruptions caused by the recent unforeseen events, it is possible for all of us to together slow down climate change, encourage global progress, and develop an equitable society over the long term.

Now wouldn’t that be the greatest gift we can give to our children?