Zurich incorporates Corporate Responsibility programs into the business strategy.
Zurich is a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The PRI Initiative is a network of institutional investors as well as asset managers and service providers working together to put the Principles for Responsible Investment into practice and to share and promote best practice in Responsible Investment.
Managing corporate responsibility in business transactions
Zurich works with customers and distribution partners to ensure that it is not indirectly supporting activities that could negatively impact society and the environment. This includes:
- Gaining understanding of the corporate responsibility risks inherent in customers' business operations
- Equipping underwriters with a way to identify potential risks, evaluate and assess them, and escalate as needed.
A dam construction project is submitted and the contract value triggers a corporate responsibility assessment. The underwriter takes a closer look at the environmental and social impacts of the project: they can confirm it is not in a protected area and the impact assessment report issued by the European Development Bank, and passed on by the broker, allays human rights and environmental concerns. The tender and financing process appears to have been transparent and the underwriter can complete his assessment confirming no corporate responsibility “red flags” were identified. The underwriter documents the assessment and continues with the next steps in the underwriting process.
- Zurich has received information that suggests a defence company Zurich underwrites is involved in the manufacture of banned cluster munitions. They alert the Risk Manager who follows up with the relationship leader on this account who in turn approaches the customer with their concerns. During their conversations it becomes clear the customer is aware that risk to their reputation is involved and has already started the process of phasing out their production of these weapons. Zurich assesses the corporate responsibility risk given their plans and timeline, accepts the risk and continues to write this business.
- Another defence company, also an existing customer, is suspected of producing banned cluster munitions. The source is highly credible and Zurich attempts to investigate. It turns out that we don’t have a direct relationship with the customer. Cultural norms and habits make it difficult to get clarity from the broker. The case is escalated. The evidence is weighed along with our limited ability to gain more information from either the broker or customer. The decision is made to abstain from any new or renewal business with this customer at this time.
Zurich is a member of the Chief Risk Officer Forum and, working closely with our peers on the forum, together published the following reports:
- Recommendations for Managing Environmental, Social and Ethical Challenges in Business Transactions (new window)
- CRO Forum Blueprint on Anti Personnel Mines and Cluster Munitions (new window)