At Munich Re Group, our business model is tied to responsible, sustainable and forward-looking action over the long term. Beyond the fact that we believe this approach helps make us more successful, it is the right thing to do. With this in mind, there’s no question that we respect and uphold human rights in line with internationally accepted human rights principles. It is part and parcel of our approach to corporate governance, which builds economic, environmental and social requirements into our definition of success. And the Board of Management has confirmed this commitment by clearly stating the Munich Re Group`s declaration of principles on human rights.
In addition to observing the standards specified by the UN Global Compact, PSI, and PRI, Munich Re Group is committed to respecting human rights as defined in the following human rights-specific principles:
- UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- International Bill of Human Rights, wich consists of:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Key components of human rights management
Munich Re Group has committed to observing its duty of care on human rights along the entire value chain, and to respect internationally recognised human rights. To this end, we have developed a due diligence process that covers the key components of human rights due diligence:
- Commitment of the Board of Management to respect human rights
- Identifying and assessing human rights risks and impacts
- Implementing measures and monitoring
- Reporting and communication
- Remedy and grievance mechanism
In a systematic evaluation of potential risks, Munich Re Group defined the following four dimensions as critical to upholding human rights: employees, procurement, our core business of primary insurance and reinsurance, and investment management. For each of these dimensions, we identify, assess and, if necessary, mitigate potential risks with regard to the infringement of human rights.
We place particular emphasis on core business and investment because of its potentially high impact. With this in mind we have specific analysis tools in place to monitor it. As regards our insurance business and investments, we systematically take environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria – including the observance of human rights – into account as part of the risk assessment and decision making processes. Find more information in the core business chapter in our Corporate Responsibility Report (page 20).
In addition to these ESG guidelines, we have created a risk mapping tool for human rights. This tool is designed to aid all employees in insurance and investment in categorising and evaluating countries and economic sectors as per various indices and human rights topics. We consider the following topics when mapping risks by country: child labour and forced labour; discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality or religion; corruption; threats to communities; restrictions on people’s liberty or freedom; international and domestic conflicts. When we analyse sector risks, we focus on working conditions, child labour and forced labour, occupational health risks, and the sources of commodities.
For each of the four risk dimensions that we have defined – employees, procurement, our core business and asset management – we have implemented measures, guidelines, and governance instruments. This enables us to reduce or mitigate risks with regard to violations of human rights; these approaches also guide our decision-making in line with conscientious management practices.
Suitable monitoring systems help us examine the effectiveness of our measures. We strive to continually improve our processes of due diligence and expand our screening of risks; we also regularly raise awareness of human rights among our staff and business partners. In the interest of raising awareness of human rights, all Munich Re Group employees worldwide must complete training and pass a test on our Code of Conduct every two years. This ensures that they know the key compliance rules and understand the need to always follow these rules at work. This training course includes information on topics such as the German General Act on Equal Treatment, reporting of infringements, data protection, and corruption.
If a violation of human rights is reported, or we learn of it by any other means, the Munich Re unit responsible for compliance will look into the violation. An investigation is launched, which follows a procedure defined in an internal set of guidelines. Every potential instance of misconduct will be investigated and clarified. If we learn of human rights violations in an existing contractual relationship, we will engage in dialogue with the responsible stakeholders and seek to put risk-mitigating measures into practice.
We explain in the following documents how Munich Re Group abides by its responsibility for human rights: our Corporate Responsibility Report, our combined non-financial statement, our annual UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (CoP), our annual reports on the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In line with the UK Modern Slavery Act Munich Re and relevant subsidiaries issue an annual statement on the ways in which they combat human trafficking and forced labour.