Environment and climate protection at Munich Re – Systematic and targeted

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Environment and climate protection at Munich Re – systematic and targeted

A key component of our Group-wide environmental and climate protection strategy is the continuous reduction of our consumption of resources and the resulting carbon emissions. With our internal environmental management system, we set out the structural framework for measuring the material direct impact of our business operations on the environment and climate, and continuously realising improvements in this area.

Our strategy

In 2012, Munich Re (Group) introduced a standardised, binding internal environmental management system (EMS) for all Group locations. It is based on the requirements of the internationally valid DIN ISO 14001 standard and sets out the environmental guidelines and key performance indicators (KPIs) we use to determine our carbon footprint. In addition, our EMS describes the processes required for this, and also the organisational responsibilities. In 2017, 83% of our staff members were working at sites integrated in the EMS. 38% of Group employees work in companies that are certified to the DIN ISO 14001 standard by an external auditor.

At Munich Re (Group), the full Board of Management is responsible for the Group-wide environmental and climate protection strategy, and for all activities in the field of environmental protection. The full Board is represented by the Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Joachim Wenning. Anja Hirsch, Consultant Corporate Responsibility, in the central division Economics, Sustainability & Public Affairs, is the designated environmental officer. The Group Committee determines the Group’s environment and climate protection strategy. Environmental managers at Group level handle implementation of the strategy, of the environmental management system, and of data collection across the business fields of reinsurance, Munich Health, ERGO and MEAG. Local environmental managers are responsible for implementation of the EMS at the individual locations. This includes achieving the environmental targets and programmes, introduction and implementation of measures to reduce carbon emissions, and the collection of environmental data.

The carbon footprint from our business activities is the key indicator in the assessment of our environmental performance. We calculate carbon emissions on a yearly basis from our consumption of energy, paper and water, our business travel, and generation of waste. This calculation takes a standardised form and is of a high quality. An external audit company confirms that we have met our objectives for environmental figures in 2017 throughout the Group (see downloads).

Our objectives

The Munich Re (Group) Strategy Committee decided in September 2015 to continue our successful environmental and climate protection strategy until 2020 with the following objectives:

  • Further savings in Group carbon emissions: 35% (kg CO2 per employee) in 2009–2020, whilst preserving carbon neutrality;

  • Procurement of more electricity from renewable energy sources: 100% Group-wide if possible;

  • Consistent increase in the percentage of environmentally friendly consumables procured (e.g. paper, vehicles);

  • Enhance motivation on the part of employees to behave in an environmentally friendly way.

Our successes

The consistent implementation of strategy has paid dividends: we have already reached our carbon emissions savings target of 35% less carbon dioxide (kg per employee in 2009–2020) today. Of particular help in making the savings was the application of measures with a high degree of leverage. Examples of these are the increased energy efficiency in and occupancy of our buildings, the ever-expanding use of digital communication, the rigorous shutting down of computers overnight, and the procurement of environmentally friendly consumables. Approximately 78% of the electricity purchased Group-wide in 2017 came from renewable, emission-free energy sources. Alongside the standardised conversion factors of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) and the Association for Environmental Management in Banks, Savings Banks, and Insurance Companies (VfU), we have also taken individual factors into consideration since 2016 when calculating our carbon footprint, for example for the carbon emissions of our vehicle fleet. This ensures that using environmentally friendly vehicles has a direct positive effect on the carbon footprint of the respective site, motivating the staff there to take further measures.

Since 2015, Munich Re (Group) has been carbon-neutral. Unavoidable carbon emissions are neutralised by purchasing carbon credits. We have strict requirements when selecting projects: At least one project must meet a gold standard and be realised in a least-developed country. Alongside the technologies used to avoid carbon emissions, we attach great importance to social aspects when making a selection. For example, we support projects that promote health, facilitate education, develop local infrastructure, avoid deforestation and maintain biodiversity. Munich Re has financed efficient cooking stoves for schools in Uganda since 2017. Not only do these save a significant amount of firewood, they also enable hundreds of schoolchildren to be served hot meals.

To achieve carbon neutrality for the 2016 fiscal year, we obtained carbon certificates from the following projects:

Wind farms in the Shandong region in China (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Efficient cooking stoves in Uganda (PDF, 2.3 MB)

You can find comprehensive key indicators for our environmental performance in the section "Environmental indicators" under the heading "Key figures".

GRI Content Index: G4 DMA Category Environmental, G4-EN3; G4-EN6; G4-EN7; G4-EN8; G4-EN19; G4-EN30; G4 DMA Audit

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