Zurich to roll out new renewable energy products in 2022 and cut air travel by 70%

Zurich is expanding its products and services, including for renewable energy, to help customers transition to net zero, as part of new measures to cut carbon emissions.

The insurer said the suite of sustainable products has been expanded with the launch of the insurance industry’s first carbon-neutral equity fund for life cover. Its renewable energy underwriting will be expanded with the launch of more products and services in January next year.

“Helping our customers on their journey to net zero is a priority,” CEO Mario Greco said. He added that Zurich wants to help customers lower emissions and increase resilience to climate change.

In a new pledge to speed up cuts in its own net-zero emissions target, Zurich will cut air travel by 70% from 2022 and switch to electric or hybrid new company cars with immediate effect. It will remove engine-powered vehicles from its existing fleet by 2025.

Mr Greco said “there’s no going back” from the changes in work and daily life that started with the pandemic. “Now is the time to push boundaries, embed new behaviours,” he continued. Mr Greco said Zurich will “use every lever available” across its operations, investments, insurance products and services.

Zurich has also decided to move from paper communication with customers, which accounts for 80% of the group’s paper consumption, to become fully digital by 2025. It will additionally roll out its sustainable buildings programme to a further 50 offices by the end of next year and all company restaurants will serve healthy and regionally sourced food, alongside running food waste-management programmes.

“The climate crisis calls for urgent action and small steps taken by each of us – individuals, organisations and businesses – will add up to a giant leap over time,” Mr Greco said. Zurich has pledged to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, taking it to 70% by 2029 and achieving net zero by 2050.

In a whitepaper published ahead of COP26, Zurich says global reductions in carbon emissions during the pandemic risk being reversed. It calls for “concrete short-term action to translate positive developments over the past 12-18 months into a stable path to net zero”.

It also urges COP26 delegates to “provide greater clarity and confidence for the private sector on the approach to transition”.

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