Working with customers on corporate responsibility risks

Zurich works with its customers, brokers and other distribution partners to ensure responsible and sustainable business practices and to protect reputations, while promoting best practices in managing environmental, social and governance risks. Our aim is to promote international best practice standards that help ensure that potentially adverse social, environmental and economic impacts are adequately managed. By doing this, we integrate our commitment to corporate responsibility and the UN Global Compact in our underwriting and business decisions. We believe it is better to engage with customers to understand their business and operations, and work together to ensure responsible and sustainable business practices are in place. This enables us to make better-informed decisions on how we can support customers in developing best practice.

In 2013, Zurich developed and implemented a three-step approach that systematically detects, assesses, and mitigates major environmental, social and ethical risks that are inherent in specific business transactions. Both our GI and Life segments have in place a Corporate Responsibility Decision Group to assess sensitive or complex corporate responsibility risks and provide direction as to the appropriate mitigation actions. The outcome of the risk assessment and risk mitigation efforts are being tracked and analyzed and management receives information on the results and effectiveness of managing corporate responsibility risks in business transactions.

Using our proprietary risk-profiling methodology, we have prioritized four key areas of concern: banned cluster munitions and anti-personnel land mines; and governance, human rights and environmental risks in dam construction, mining, and oil and gas activities. For each area of concern, we have drawn up a corporate responsibility issue brief that sets out our position and best practices. We also provide guidance and training for underwriters and other relevant stakeholder groups, and implemented corporate responsibility risk assessment and referral processes. In 2013, we also started to engage with brokers and corporate customers to promote best practices in corporate responsibility.

Zurich is a member of the Chief Risk Officer Forum and, working closely with our peers on the Forum, together we have published:

  • CRO Forum blueprint on oil and sands
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    Recommendations for managing environmental, social and ethical challenges in business transactions
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  • CRO Forum blueprint on anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions
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