Environmental key performance indicators

Environmental indicators

Following Zurich’s approach to materiality, we have determined which operational environmental indicators are material for us:

  • Energy consumption within office buildings and internally managed data centers (electricity, heating) and resulting CO2e emissions
  • Certified renewable electricity purchased (e.g. Renewable Energy Certificates or Guarantee of Origin)
  • Business travel (distance, mode and fuel consumption/type) and resulting CO2e emissions (including air travel, rental cars, rail and car fleet)
  • Copy paper purchased (sheets and weight) including percent FSC certified
  • Of lower materiality, but still tracked and reported on:

Other paper and paper products purchased for office use, and marketing materials

  • Water consumption within office buildings
  • Waste generated within office buildings
  • Environmental reporting basics

    • Zurich reports in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s operational control boundary.
      • Farmers Management Group Inc1 is excluded from Zurich’s environmental reporting
    • Where actual electricity data is not available, Zurich applies an extrapolation methodology to account for 100 percent of operations.
    • Where heating data is not available, and a non-electric heating source is known, Zurich applies an extrapolation methodology.
    • Business travel, water and waste data are not extrapolated.

    (1) The Farmers Exchanges are owned by their policyholders. Farmers Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group, provides certain non-claims administrative, management, and ancillary services to the Farmers Exchanges as attorney-in-fact and receives fees for its services.

Detailed targets and results

  • Carbon emissions

  • Energy consumption

  • Paper
  • Business travel
  • Waste
  • Water

Target #1: total carbon emissions - achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction in total carbon emissions per employee compared to 2015 until 2025

Target #2: facilities emissions - achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction in total facilities emissions per employee compared to 2015 until 2025

Target #3: travel emissions - achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction in total business travel emissions per employee compared to 2015 until 2025

Zurich has achieved its overarching target to reduce total carbon emissions per employee by 20%. Zurich has also achieved its sub-target for facilities emissions. We continue to deliver improvements within our real estate operations. For example, using space more effectively to reduce our overall demand and relocating from inefficient facilities into more state-of-the art workplaces. Our travel emissions have slightly increased compared to the previous year, however, we still continue to maintain our reduction target of at least 20 percent, compared to our 2015 baseline. This is primarily due to an increase in long-haul air travel in 2018, compared to 2017.

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline Target 2025
Absolute carbon emissions CO2e (metric tons) 109,378 92,358 89,574 81,665 (25%) n/a
Carbon emissions per employee CO2e/FTE (metric tons) 2.43 2.08 2.06 1.94 (20%) Achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction
of which from facilities CO2e/FTE (metric tons) 1.18 1.08 1.09 0.95 (20%) Achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction
of which from travel (1) CO2e/FTE (metric tons) 1.24 1.00 0.97 0.99 (21%) Achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction
Scope 1 emissions(2) CO2e (metric tons) 26,478 25,078 27,167 23,293 (12%) n/a
Scope 2 emissions (market based methodology)(3) CO2e (metric tons) 37,439 33,417 33,248 27,563 (26%) n/a
Scope 3(4) CO2e (metric tons) 45,461 33,863 29,159 30,808 (32%) n/a

Parentheses around percentages or points indicate a reduction. The data covers 100 percent of our Group’s operations and the methodology is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

(1) Includes flights, rental cars, car fleet, and rail
(2) Scope 1 emissions include direct emissions from our car fleet and heating produced at our facilities
(3) Scope 2 emissions include indirect emissions from purchased electricity and district heating/cooling. Zurich calculates scope 2 emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s market based methodology
(4)Scope 3 emissions include indirect emissions from air travel, rental cars, rail, energy production and generation losses, and electricity distribution losses

Target #4: energy efficiency - achieve and maintain an at least 20% reduction in total energy per employee compared to 2015 until 2025

Target #5: renewable electricity -Purchase 100% certified renewable electricity across all operations by the end of 2022

Zurich continues to demonstrate consistent year on year improvements in energy performance. While weather has a strong influence on our energy performance, Zurich’s commitment to sustainable buildings is helping drive efficiencies. In 2018, results were most notably influenced by a new headquarters project in Frankfurt, enabling the consolidation of three office locations into one environmentally certified location; closing a large underutilized office location in Zurich Switzerland; and continued energy efficiency achievements at the Zurich North America headquarters. Other countries have also made important contributions by relocating to new, more energy efficient office locations and implementing space efficiency improvements.

In 2019, Zurich announced its commitment to purchase 100% renewable electricity across all operations by end 2022.

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline Target 2025
Absolute energy consumption MWh 194,500 185,689 172,113 153,316 (21%) n/a
of which electricity MWh 144,241 132,648 119,697 105,792 (27%) n/a
Non-renewable electricity MWh 63,986 57,127 55,002 47,628 (26%) n/a
Renewable electricity MWh 80,256 75,521 64,695 58,164 (28%) n/a
of which heating MWh 50,258 53,041 52,416 47,524 (5%) n/a
Energy consumption per employee MWh/FTE 37,439 33,417 33,248 27,563 (26%) Achieve and maintain an at least 20 percent reduction
Percent renewable electricity out of total electricity consumption % 56% 57% 54% 55% (1pt) purchase 100% certified renewable electricity

Parentheses around percentages or points indicate a reduction. The data covers 100 percent of our Group operations

Zurich continues to explore ways to continue to reduce the amount of paper consumed as part of doing business, and use more environmentally-friendly paper produced through sustainable forest-management programs (Forest Stewardship Council – FSC).

Target #6: copy paper -achieve and maintain at least 80 percent FSC certified paper purchased compared to 2015 levels

Zurich successfully transitioned further operations to FSC certified paper in 2018, most notably the United Kingdom and Germany. Zurich’s North America business also transitioned to purchasing FSC paper at the end of 2018, with results to be seen in 2019. Further, Zurich’s North America business also delivered notable results, reducing their overall copy paper purchased by approximately 25% in 2018. Following close behind is Switzerland, at approximately 20 percent.

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline Target 2025
Absolute copy paper purchased kg 1,315,013 1,069,563 866,128 779,086 (41%) n/a
of which FSC % FSC certified 68% 43% 38% 48% (20 pts) Achieve and maintain an at least 80 percent FSC certified copy paper purchased compared to 2015 levels
Other paper purchased kg 340,900 292,827 221,804 258,453 (24%) n/a

Parentheses around percentages or points indicate a reduction.

Zurich does not have a target on distance traveled for business purposes. The figure below is an aggregate of all kilometers traveled across air, rental car, car fleet, and rail. In 2018, data coverage for air travel was 97 percent, rental car 78 percent, and rail 65 percent. It is expected that fleet coverage is close to 100 percent as there are many countries that do not offer a fleet program.

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline
Distance traveled km 371,799,555 296,944,190 287,184,552 285,841,996 (23%)
Car fleet emissions (scope 1) CO2e (metric tons) 19,694 18,584 21,180 17,633 (10%)
Air travel emissions (scope 3) CO2e (metric tons) 34,185 23,998 19,331 22,069 (35%)
Rail emissions (scope 3) CO2e (metric tons) 786 635 666 780 (1%)
Rental car (scope 3) CO2e (metric tons) 1,357 1,156 1,121 1,195 (12%)

Zurich does not have a target on waste. Where Zurich is directly responsible for waste management services, we have been very successful in ensuring the majority of waste is recycled5. Currently Zurich captures waste data from approximately 57% percent of the space we occupy globally.

As part of our waste management approach, in 2018 Zurich has increased awareness of single-use materials within business operations. Steps are being taken to reduce the amount of single-use materials, replacing them with more sustainable alternatives; there is a special focus on reducing single-use plastics.

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline
Total Waste kg 3,295,664 3,055,923 3,377,565 3,625,679 10%
Total non-recycled waste kg 1,143,443 1,321,920 1,238,917 1,023,156 (11%)
Waste recycled kg 2,152,221 1,734,004 2,138,648 2,602,523 21%
% Recycled waste % 65% 57% 63% 72% 7 pts

Parentheses around percentages or points indicate a reduction.

(5) The majority of Zurich’s facilities are managed by a third party, building management company

Zurich does not have a target on water. Zurich currently captures water data from approximately 47 percent of the space we occupy globally6. Where possible, Zurich commits to initiatives such as installing low-flow water fixtures and native landscaping to ensure efficient use of this resource. Good practice examples can be seen at our headquarters locations such as the Zurich North America headquarters in Schaumburg Illinois, USA.

Schaumburg, Illinois

What Unit of measurement 2015 (Baseline) 2016 2017 2018 2018 change relative to baseline
Water m3 307,649 279,367 305,617 257,616 (16%)

Parentheses around percentages indicate a reduction.

(6)The majority of Zurich’s facilities are managed by a third party, building management company

We consider an operational environmental indicator material when:
  • It is directly related to our core business (i.e. our insurance products from underwriting to claims handling)
  • It could potentially disrupt business operations if not handled appropriately
  • We are able to measure, manage and reduce the environmental impact
  • Our stakeholders consider it relevant
  • Verification of data

    We are working to increase data transparency, quality and coverage of our environmental performance reporting. From 2013, Zurich engaged an external auditor (Pricewaterhouse Coopers AG) to verify all of our environmental data. PwC has provided limited assurance and has issued an assurance statement. More information and details about our environmental performance is provided in the sections above.

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