Providing impetus for the green transformation
The green transformation of the economy is an enormous undertaking. Insurers supported the goal with their own initiatives. They can also drive renewal in other sectors: as investors, risk takers, and prevention experts. What other political positions on sustainability does the insurance industry hold?
The goal of an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable society is both a challenge and an obligation to present and future generations, thus determining the federal government's action program. Politicians, businesspeople and civil society must join forces to tackle the transformation to a climate-neutral and sustainable economy. The insurance sector, in its dual function as risk carrier and capital provider, intends to provide key impetus for this.
It has anchored this claim in an ambitious sustainability strategy:
- By 2025, insurers in Germany will make their business processes climate-neutral;
- by 2025, they will realise measurable CO2 reductions in portfolios in line with the Paris climate protection targets and make the sector's investments greenhouse-neutral by 2050;
- finally, they will no longer take on commercial or industrial risks in the portfolio in the long term if their business partners do not develop their own sustainability commitment.
Our positions on sustainability
The German government wants to make Germany the leading location for sustainable finance and has announced corresponding measures - from expanding the range of green bonds to activating private capital for transformation projects. Public-private partnerships are to be made possible for individual projects and procurements. These measures are important and the right thing to do. If more appropriate green investment opportunities are designated, from renewables to infrastructure projects, insurers' capital can help fill investment gaps. The long-term investment horizon of insurers makes them predestined investors in green bonds and green infrastructure.
Making sustainability reporting transparent and unbureaucratic
For a sustainable and climate-neutral commitment, undertakings need comprehensive, reliable and easily manageable information about the risks and impacts of their business practices. With the so-called “taxonomy”, a unique classification system is being created in the European Union for this purpose, defining what sustainable management is. Insurers looking to invest in undertakings in the real economy need this information so they can gauge how sustainably they are investing or whether they can take on certain risks. In the future, undertakings are to make this sustainability information available in a standardised and comparable form on the basis of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. Through a "European Data Access Point", the information will be digitally accessible and automated. In this way, the basis for sustainable investment decisions is constantly being improved. Insurers are both users of sustainability information and providers of data (as investment objects). From this dual perspective, they have put forward proposals to ensure that sustainability-related reporting requirements are not overloaded. The principle of proportionality must be upheld and the reporting effort must be contrasted with concrete added value.
Insurance coverage for sustainable and secure solutions
The expansion of renewable energies, innovative technologies and changed production principles are essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption. The federal government has set its sights high here: an ambitious recycling strategy, the establishment of a hydrogen market and aggressive expansion targets for electricity and heat from renewable sources.
Insurers support these developments by developing insurance coverage for innovative processes and risk technologies. We want to contribute our many years of experience in damage prevention so that resources are not consumed by avoidable damage: Innovation and change must proceed swiftly and safely at the same time. This also creates acceptance among the population.
Recycling management, for example, requires sufficient operating space to be able to store, sort and process materials until they are fed back into manufacturing processes. This strengthens the protection of persons and property.
High safety standards should continue to apply to the installation and operation of photovoltaic systems, biogas and energy storage systems, especially with regard to fire and environmental protection.
We also welcome the German government's initiative to make the features "service life" and "repairability" product features with the "sustainability by design" principle. This supports our work on solutions to anchor guiding principles for sustainable action such as "repair instead of buy new" or "build back better" in insurance products.