Col­lab­o­ra­tion for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment


In order to make the insurance industry more sustainable, the SIA and the individual insurance companies work with various partners in areas including knowledge development, political advocacy and public relations.


SIA activities

The SIA sits on all Economiesuisse’s committees that deal with (environmental) sustainability issues. Together with this umbrella organisation for the business community, the SIA supports the Swiss CO2 Act and the Federal Council’s efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

As a network partner of Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF), the SIA works to strengthen Switzerland’s position in the global sustainable finance market. To achieve this goal, the association is focusing on measures to inform, raise awareness and promote sustainability. The SIA became a supporter of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA) in 2021. The investors comprising this global network are seeking to transition their investment portfolios to net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Dr Gunthard Niederbäumer, a climatologist and Head of Non-Life and Reinsurance at the SIA, attended the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021 as a representative of Swiss business and part of the official Swiss delegation.

The SIA works with the University of St Gallen and its Institute of Insurance Economics (IVW-HSG) on various topics – both on sustainability and on issues relating to the future world of work (including the ‘Skills of the future’ study).


Industry activities

Swiss insurers are mindful of their economic responsibility and endeavour to play a role in the Swiss economy that is consistent with the sector’s contribution to GDP of over 4 per cent. They strive to continually improve their positive social, economic and environmental impact in their work with others and take it upon themselves to add value to the places where they operate.

‘Insurers can get even more involved in the public debate and shape the climate discourse.’

André Müller, Economics Editor, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The following table provides a non-exhaustive overview of the major global sustainability initiatives and main industry networks on sustainable finance and sustainable development to which the survey respondents (42 companies) have signed up:

Member companies (SIA or company level)

  • United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) [27 exponents]
  • Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) [19 exponents]
  • Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) [18 Exponenten]
  • United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Principles for Sustainable Insurance (UNEP FI PSI) [18 Exponenten]
  • UN Global Compact [17 Exponenten]
  • Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA) [11 Exponenten]
  • Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets (GRESB) [9 Exponenten]
  • Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen [4 Exponenten]
  • Swiss Association for Responsible Investments [4 exponents]

Some insurance companies are founding members of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA), which was formed at the International Conference on Climate Change in Venice in July 2021.

Although working on and signing up to global goals and standards marks a significant step for these companies, this does have its limits. Most announcements and pledges, especially on climate issues, are focused on future targets, even though there is a pressing need to act now.

That means the commitments usually focus on the ultimate goal without addressing the more difficult and complex question of how we get there. The insurance industry still believes that there will need to be decisive action and support for transformation in the next few years if the SDGs and targets under the Paris Climate Agreement in particular are to be achieved.