Environmental and climate protection
Environmental data on operational ecology are gathered annually in accordance with the globally recognised standard of the Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability at Financial Institutions (VfU) and published every May of the following year on the website. The data is gathered, evaluated and analysed on a Group-wide basis. Environmental officers work closely with the individual divisions at all Group locations. The aim is to consistently reduce the environmental impact and improve energy efficiency.
In Switzerland, Swiss Life is a member of the Zurich Energy Model and it has been drawing all its electricity from renewable energy sources for almost ten years. This has enabled the company to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 1300 tonnes. The head office in Zurich is also heated and cooled with water from Lake Zurich. All the sanitary installations are equipped with water-saving installations, which allows Swiss Life Switzerland to save some three million litres of water each year. Rain water has also been one of the water sources used for the sanitary facilities since 1999.
In Germany, the two main branch offices, in Garching near Munich and in Hanover, have repeatedly been awarded the Ecoprofit seal for their outstanding commitment to corporate environmental protection. The seal rewards the efforts of Swiss Life in Germany in terms of CO2 reduction and saving resources. For example in Garching, from where the insurance business is managed, Swiss Life uses green electricity and has a new energy-efficient building.
In France, regular awareness campaigns have been held since 2008 to sensitise employees to the urgent need to reduce the impact on the environment. That includes a programme to reduce paper consumption and waste.
Swiss Life also wants to make an active contribution to climate protection. It is for this reason that it set up the Swiss Climate Foundation in 2008 in cooperation with other Swiss companies. Through the foundation, Swiss Life undertakes to consistently reduce its greenhouse gas emissions at all locations in Switzerland. The foundation also supports SMEs in becoming more energy-efficient and reducing their CO2 emissions.
Swiss Life Germany is also represented in the Klima-Allianz der Stadt Hannover and undertakes, in cooperation with other companies, to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy efficiency in urban areas.
Moreover, Swiss Life has taken part in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) survey since 2011. CDP is an independent charitable organisation which holds the most comprehensive set of corporate data on climate change in the world. In its first survey, Swiss Life scored 70 out of 100 index points for transparency (climate disclosure score). Since then, the company has steadily improved and it now rates above the average for the Swiss financial sector at 97 index points.
Ecological construction and renovation
Swiss Life is one of Europe’s leading real estate investors and has the biggest private real estate portfolio in Switzerland. The long-term maintenance and appreciation of its properties is therefore an important aspect of Swiss Life’s investment activities on behalf of its policyholders and customers. This includes outfitting its buildings for the future. Swiss Life invests several hundred million francs a year in the upkeep of its properties, ensuring the responsible use of resources and active environmental management in doing so and meeting its responsibility of reducing the property portfolio’s environmental footprint.
Swiss Life assesses the use of alternative energies and ecologically sound, sustainable construction methods against the relevant standards for its renovation and construction projects. The aim is a steady diminution of the environmental impact through targeted reduction of energy use and CO2 emissions.
When constructing new buildings, Swiss Life aims for the Minergie® standard as a rule or other sustainable construction standards. Renovations are based on a comprehensive approach whereby the first step is to massively reduce energy consumption and then provide the required energy in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. Swiss Life applies the “Variantenvergleich Energiesysteme” (VVES, a standard for comparing energy systems) to its investments and its operating and maintenance costs. The VVES provides reliable figures on alternative power supply methods for properties. Intelligent building technology concepts and universal controls ensure the sparing and optimal use of resources. Extensive documentation and straightforward systems facilitate sustainability in operations and maintenance.
Tenants’ requirements also influence the planning and completion of construction projects. The demands of tenants and property owners have increased considerably in recent years. An optimal location and flexibility in the use of the property are fundamental requirements. People also want space for recreation. Swiss Life advocates increased building density, the application of new construction methods and optimal use of the available space, which is of direct benefit to the environment.