At Munich Re, our business model is based on responsible, sustainable, and forward-looking action over the long term. We regard the protection of human rights as a particular obligation, one that we strive to meet in line with internationally accepted human rights principles. It is part and parcel of our approach to corporate governance, which embeds economic, environmental, and social requirements into our definition of success. The Board of Management has confirmed this commitment by clearly stating 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 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, which 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 has committed to observing its duty of care on human rights along its value chain, and to respect internationally recognised human rights. To this end, we developed the following processes for human rights due diligence compliance in 2018, and these have been reviewed each year since then:
- 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
Munich Re’s management strives to prevent potential adverse impact on human rights arising from its business operations. To identify such impact, the following four dimensions have been defined: employees, procurement, our core business of insurance and reinsurance, and investment. As regards our insurance business and investment, 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.
In addition to these ESG guidelines, we have created a risk mapping tool for human rights. The tool considers the following topics when mapping risks by country: child labour and forced labour; discrimination based on gender, sexuality, or religion; corruption; threats to communities; restrictions on people’s liberty or freedom; and international and domestic conflicts. On the subject of sector risks, the tool focuses on working conditions, child labour and forced labour, occupational health risks, and the sources of commodities..
For each of the four risk dimensions we have defined (employees, procurement, our insurance business and investment management), we have implemented tools to 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.
The present documents detail how Munich Re abides by its responsibility for human rights: our Sustainability 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 addition, in line with international regulations, a statement signed by the Executive Board on the UK Modern Slavery Act has been published since 2017 and a statement on the Australian Modern Slavery Act was published for the first time in 2021.