Carbon neutrality at Munich Re

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Corporate Responsibility News

14 September 2012

Carbon neutrality at Munich Re

In 2011, we again succeeded in making Munich Re, Munich carbon-neutral. We started by minimising the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from our business activities. By using electricity only from renewable sources, optimising power and heating systems in our buildings and improving the energy-efficiency of our IT system use, we were able to reduce our 2011 emissions per-employee by 3%. For the first time, the consumption data measured were successfully verified according to DIN ISO 14064, which underscores the particularly high quality of the data.

We then offset the remaining, unavoidable emissions of 5,800 tonnes of CO2 by purchasing emission allowances. These allowances stem from a climate protection project in south-west China, where a number of mini- and micro-run-of-river power stations supply the surrounding mountainous, rural region with emission-free energy. These power stations produce sustainable energy without dams, merely taking advantage of natural gradients.

The advantages of sustainable power generation are particularly clear in these mountainous regions, where until just recently light and warmth could be produced only by means of diesel generators or by burning wood, which led to deforestation and soil erosion. Locally generated, renewable power now permits cautious, sustainable development without any emissions harmful to human beings or the environment.

The project itself was certified according to the Social Carbon Standard, while its CO2 reductions will continue to be certified according to the well known Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Selling the certificates also made it possible to fund an agricultural training programme aimed at teaching farmers in the region how to cultivate fruit trees.

Climate neutrality at ERGO
2011 was also the first year in which ERGO Germany's CO2 emissions were offset through certificates. A phased plan approved by the Board of Management in May 2011 provides for measures to make all of Munich Re (Group) carbon-neutral by 2015. In this case, too, the objective is to minimise emissions and reduce power consumption by enhancing the efficiency of installations and IT equipment.

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