In 2014, the Climate Group launched RE100, a global initiative of +100 influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity, working to massively increase demand for - and delivery of - renewable energy. As a Swiss Re employee and clean energy geek, I was proud Swiss Re was a founding member. Our RE100 commitment has led to the installation of solar plants on the rooftops of some of Swiss Re’s offices in Switzerland, Italy, India and the UK. In Armonk, NY, Swiss Re has built a 2 MW solar plant (inaugurated by Bill Clinton, no less!). And not only is it good for the planet, it’s saving Swiss Re millions in energy costs.
RE100 has also shaped “Swiss Re Next”, the new building at Swiss Re’s HQs in Zurich. Thanks to innovative building technologies, Swiss Re Next cuts energy used per employee by 60%. This week I took a tour of the building and it’s truly state-of-the-art: Solar panels on the rooftop generate 7% of our electricity needs. Advanced materials and insulation techniques mean there is a fraction of the energy wastage you see in older buildings. We even use water from Zurich lake to efficiently cool our building and installations in summer, and to warm them in winter. Read more about Swiss Re Next and see the attached pics and video for more.
But as cool as Swiss Re Next’s low footprint is, and as proud as I am of our RE100 commitment, the vast majority of Swiss Re’s footprint comes from our investments and the risks we underwrite. That’s why for me what matters is that we’ve complemented those efforts with:
- Swiss Re’s long-standing commitment to corporate responsibility (Swiss Re consistently leads its sector on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index)
- A commitment to move its €130 billion portfolio into ethical investments, the first insurer to shift its entire investment portfolio in this way.
- A plan to limit support for thermal coal utilities and mining. You know you're doing great at your sustainability when Greenpeace gives you nothing but thumbs up (check out the insurance scorecard attached)!
In a world of media overload and shrinking investigative journalism, it’s up to all of us, individuals, companies and governments to do the right thing and focus on what matters. Let’s put our energy and talents into building long-term sustainability. It’s good for business, societies and the ecosystems we rely on for our survival and well-being.
This is my story and why I care. Why not share yours below?
Category: Sustainable energy
Location: Zürich, Switzerland