The Swiss Re Group is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, working to make the world more resilient. It anticipates and manages risk – from natural catastrophes to climate change, from ageing populations to cybercrime. The aim of the Swiss Re Group is to enable society to thrive and progress, creating new opportunities and solutions for its clients.
The company believes in taking the long-term view and playing their part in creating sustainable progress. Aligned with this, Swiss Re aims to reach net-zero operations by 2030, alongside commitments to fully decarbonize their business model on the insurance and investment side by 2050. Since 2003, when Swiss Re became one of the first large companies worldwide to become carbon neutral, the company is driving corporate climate ambition. The company followed the principle of “Do your best, offset the rest”, driving emission reductions throughout and using conventional carbon offsets to compensate unavoided emissions.
However, a net-zero commitment requires different action. It requires the company to move away from conventional carbon offsets, where they pay others to avoid their emissions in their place, because emissions still enter the atmosphere and remain there. “Conventional carbon offsetting is incompatible with a net-zero emissions target. Instead, we will double down on our efforts to reduce emissions and compensate what we cannot avoid yet through carbon removal – Do our best, remove the rest!” says Mischa Repmann, Senior Environmental Mgmt Specialist at Swiss Re Group.
Yet, the carbon removal industry is at an early stage. For the world to be at net-zero emissions by 2050, climate scientists predict a need for billions of tonnes of negative emissions. It will be an enormous challenge to bring the nascent carbon removal industry to speed in only 30 years from now. It needs an early market signal by companies committing to net-zero emissions and are ready to pay the first-mover price for carbon removal services.
That is why Swiss Re seized the very first opportunity to participate in the Puro.earth carbon removal marketplace, securing a batch of 100 biochar CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) during the inaugural auction held in May 2019. “We were impressed how quickly Puro.earth was able to bring this marketplace to life. We had little time to reflect if this should become our first proof point for the company's net-zero ambition – which was not public yet at that time. Today we know it was the right decision to put the money where the mouth is and help Puro to grow roots" , says Mischa Repmann.
Learn how Swiss Re will reach Net Zero emissions = Do our best, remove the best
Watch the video of the Sonar 2020 report, Swiss Re's most-read publication on emerging risks and trends. The COVID-19 crisis shouldn’t overshadow the need for the world to transition to a more sustainable economy and a low-carbon future. A transition to a low-carbon economy offers risks and opportunities for the re/insurance industry, such as carbon removal systems.