Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Zurich’s approach to proactively address environmental, social and governance factors as part of our day-to-day business activity supports several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As part of being a responsible and sustainable business, we are focusing on highlighting those SDGs where we can have the biggest impact through our business activities, investments and community programs.
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
As an employer and life insurance, savings and pensions provider, we have a responsibility to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles. We are doing this through different channels:
1) Research and campaigns focusing on increasing the awareness and understanding of the importance of individuals being more proactive to make themselves and their families financially resilient, i.e. finding the right protection at the right time to be able to deal with a potential loss of income due to illness, disability or the loss of a bread winner. Read more
2) Promoting wearable technologies to encourage a healthy lifestyle for customers. In May 2017, Zurich became the first company in Ireland to introduce wearable technology to the life insurance market with a two-year study. The study is carried out in conjunction with providers of GPS technology such as wrist activity trackers, and providers of science-based coaching services. Participants are offered a new fitness watch as well as cashback on their premiums for participating in the trial. Read more
3) Passionate about road safety and proud to be part of the ‘Insurance for Safer Roads’ initiative. Together with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), AXA and Nestlé, Zurich co-authored the report ‘Insurance Guide on Road Safety.’ Read more
4) Catalyzing partnerships through the Z Zurich Foundation at country level with local community organisations around the theme of mental and physical wellbeing:
- ‘Eat Right To Play Right’ in Malaysia: Malaysia has one of the highest rates of obesity of all nations in Asia. The Z Zurich Foundation funds a four-year partnership with One Goal/World Vision Malaysia that supports their ‘Eat Right To Play Right’ program, encouraging young people to learn more about good nutritional habits and keeping them active, helping them lead healthier lives.
- Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia (AAD) in Bermuda: With a three- year grant from the Z Zurich Foundation, AAD has been able to extend both the number of care homes they provide therapy services to, and the types of therapies offered. Zurich employees regularly volunteer as part of these programs. We also recognise the impact that caring for a dementia sufferer can have on relatives’ mental health, and so we run the hugely popular ‘cocktails for carers’ evenings, aimed at providing respite for carers so that they can continue providing the highest quality of care whilst also looking after themselves.
- ‘Tackle Your Feelings’ in Ireland: Ireland has one of the highest youth suicide rates in Europe, particularly among young men. Zurich Ireland have paired up with the Rugby Players Ireland to undertake a three year campaign aimed at changing attitudes and breaking down the stigma around mental health issues, changing behaviors and creating a movement of ‘champions’ in communities across Ireland to keep the message alive in years to come. Read more
- In Switzerland, Zurich has been establishing and funding a network of vitaparcours since 1968, providing health trails for people to use to exercise in the open air. Around 500 vitaparcours are available around the country for everyone, anytime and free of charge.
SDG 3 key targets
3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
3.D Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
The Z Zurich Foundation, through its Local Programs initiative, provides support and funds to help Zurich offices to work with local community organizations to create multi-year programs focusing on youth empowerment and fighting youth unemployment:
- In Spain, our partnership with Junior Achievement helps young people develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, whilst the ‘STEP by STEM’ program aims to inspire the next generation of female talent to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
- In the Nordics and Germany, our partnership with Mentor supports disadvantaged and at-risk young people through structured mentoring relationships and career planning sessions.
- In Austria, our work with ‘Verein für Training, Integration, Weiterbildung’ (T.I.W.) will enable them to increase the number of vulnerable young people they can help secure jobs, and further reduce youth unemployment. Read more
Zurich promotes the Swiss apprenticeship model to be replicated in other countries. Read more
Together with the Jakarta Innovation Lab, Zurich has developed an online financial literacy program targeted at female SME's in Indonesia. Launched in January 2017, the online course is designed to raise awareness about risks and insurance needs, and the different concepts of insurance. Ultimately the program aims to promote new career opportunities for women as insurance agents, providing greater financial security. It will also generate new female SME customers as a result of improving their understanding of risk and insurance both to their businesses as well as their families. Read more
We pay special attention to transactions that might contravene human rights. These are transactions that could:
- Contribute to human rights abuses such as involuntary relocation of local communities, inappropriate use of force or adverse impacts on vulnerable indigenous people.
- Support regimes, governments, government officials or other politically exposed persons in countries with poor governance (for example failed states, conflict or war zones, ineffective rule of law) or poor human rights records.
- Enable harmful child labor, forced labor, poor health and safety conditions and unfair remuneration.
We have drawn up an issue brief that sets out our position and best practices. We also provide guidance and training for underwriters and other relevant stakeholder groups, and have established risk assessment and referral processes. Read more
SDG 8 key targets
8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Zurich believes that doing business responsibly today, shapes a more resilient tomorrow. This can be achieved by enhancing risk prevention and mitigation. Zurich has therefore invested in a number of resilience enhancing activities:
- Passionate about road safety and proud to be part of the ‘Insurance for Safer Roads’ initiative. Together with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), AXA and Nestlé, Zurich co-authored the report ‘Insurance Guide on Road Safety.’ Read more
- The Zurich flood resilience program was launched in 2013 to help improve community resilience to flooding. The work focuses on communities and looks at how, by improving the way that they build, maintain and use all their assets, they are able to continue on their development path, despite floods. The program has developed the first applicable resilience measurement tool focusing on assessing resilience to floods at a community level. Read more
- The Global Resilience Partnership’s Water Window Challenge: Through a grant from the Z Zurich Foundation, we are funding innovative projects among vulnerable communities in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa; and South and Southeast Asia to become more resilient to shocks, including the types associated with climate change, urbanization, pandemics and conflicts. Read more
- Zurich’s Swiss business has developed a user-friendly online tool, the Natural Hazard Radar to allow people to detect risks to property from floods, landslides, mud and rock slides. This free of charge tool has been developed in collaboration with engineers and geologists from GEOTEST AG, a Swiss earth sciences service provider, and with the support of the Swiss federal government and cantons. Read more
- Zurich supports SBP, a US-based resilience organization that rebuilds disaster-affected homes, consults with local governments on disaster recovery planning and trains homeowners and small businesses on disaster resilience.
SDG 11 key targets
11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Zurich’s global flood resilience program takes a collaborative approach to supporting communities at risk of floods. Together with members of the Zurich flood resilience alliance, we use our in-house expertise as an insurer to help communities reduce flood risk. Read more
As a responsible investor, we use capital markets to search for and fund solutions to many of the pressing social or environmental issues of our time. To date, our primary areas of impact investing are in private equity, green bonds, and in our real estate portfolio. Green bonds provide capital exclusively used to finance projects with environmental benefits. Our investment in green bonds has grown substantially and in 2017 exceeded our USD 2 billion target. We currently hold over 150 green bonds in our portfolio, supporting green projects ranging from renewable energy generation to sustainable real estate or energy efficiency improvements. Read more
As a responsible business, it is important for Zurich to take accountability for the impact our operations have on the environment. We set a Group-wide target to decrease carbon emissions per employee from our office buildings, and business travel, by 50 percent by 2020 compared with 2007. This target has been achieved ahead of plan and therefore Zurich has set a new target to achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction in total carbon emissions per employee compared to 2015 until 2025. Read more
Since 2017, Zurich has supported the ‘Wetterfroscher’ education program devised by Meteotest and has co-authored the module's ‘Weather and Climate’ and ‘Natural Hazards’ sections. The program is geared toward 10 to 13 year-old schoolchildren. By discussing weather-related issues, the children learn how to interpret the effects of climate change, identify potential hazards and protect themselves. Read more
The Umwelt Arena in Zurich, Switzerland, is an exhibition and event platform which brings the themes of environment and sustainability together in tangible form under one roof. Zurich is funding an exhibition In the Umwelt Arena which focusses on the consequences of global warming. Read more
SDG 13 key targets
13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
"On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind."
United Nations Sustainability Agenda