Climate change is already beginning to transform life on Earth. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising. Expectations that companies’ long-term profitability should go hand-in-hand with protecting the environment are gaining ground and are only set to increase and intensify, as the need to move to a truly sustainable global economy is understood by companies’ financiers, customers and other stakeholders.
This case study is based on the 2014 Sustainability Report by Allianz published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.
Among other key material issues, global warming and climate change, as well as the company’s environmental footprint, stand out as of crucial significance for Allianz and its broad spectrum of stakeholders. Prioritizing these issues, Allianz took action – after measuring and setting targets – on reducing its carbon footprint and energy consumption, as well as on engaging its employees and raising their awareness of climate change as a key issue for its business. Additional policies and measures included furthering the integration of sustainability in products and services and reducing total waste production.
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Allianz has identified;
- How Allianz proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Allianz to reduce its environmental impact and combat climate change
What are the material issues the company has identified?
Allianz has identified, in its 2014 Sustainability Report, a number of material issues, such as demographic change, product & service quality & innovation, digitalization, customer engagement and satisfaction. Among these, climate change stands out as a truly global issue of rising significance that Allianz is striving to deal with in a responsible and timely manner.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Allianz engages with:
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
Allianz fosters stakeholder relationships at both Group- and local-levels through regular and systematic forms of dialogue, such as meetings, conferences, workshops, road shows and surveys. Allianz conducts Group-level multi-stakeholder dialogues to discover stakeholder opinions and the most relevant topics for key stakeholder groups. This is in addition to the stakeholder-specific dialogues and engagement activities conducted by Allianz’s operating entities in their local markets.
These Group-level activities include the global Stakeholder Expectations Survey, conducted every two years, which takes various stakeholder perspectives into account to identify the economic, environmental, social and governance topics that are material to Allianz’s sustainability strategy and its business success. The Survey targets politicians, the media, NGOs, scientists, corporations and Allianz’s own management staff. The most recent survey took place in 2014.
During the second half of 2014 Allianz carried out a systematic stakeholder consultation to learn how its stakeholders perceive Allianz’s sustainability reporting. The feedback was gathered across three channels: face-to-face interviews across different (internal) business units, a competitor and peer review and an online user survey.
In 2014 Allianz involved its local operating entities directly in the overall Group materiality process by asking them to prioritize and consolidate defined material issues around economic, social and environmental sustainability in their local businesses. At Group level Allianz conducted the same survey with relevant business units. These results were combined with output from the Stakeholder Expectations Survey and discussed during an internal sustainability expert workshop.
In its Sustainability Report 2014 the following targets were set by Allianz regarding the reduction of its environmental impact and acting on climate change, based on the Group’s approach to materiality – on taking action on what matters, where it matters:
- Reducing Allianz’s carbon footprint by 35% per employee by 2015
In 2014 Allianz further reduced the Group‘s carbon footprint, taking the overall CO2 reduction since 2006 to 41.3% per employee. As its target period ended in 2015, Allianz started developing post-2015 environmental targets.
- Reducing Allianz’s energy consumption by 10% per employee by 2015
- Engaging employees
Employees across the Group were engaged in activities to reduce Allianz’s carbon footprint, with some focusing on functional responsibilities and others on awareness-raising and effecting individual change and action. For example, Allianz run campaigns aiming to raise awareness of climate change as a critical issue for its business by providing employees with background information on climate change and stimulating discussion on what can be done to tackle the problem and the implications for Allianz.
- Being carbon neutral
Allianz has made a commitment to be a carbon-neutral business from 2012 onwards. However, instead of simply buying credits on the carbon market, it invests directly in high-quality carbon projects that generate credits which it can then use to offset its remaining carbon footprint. In 2014, 322,529 credits, each accounting for one metric ton of carbon avoided, were retired from its own projects.
- Furthering the integration of sustainability in products and services
Allianz has a range of “green” solutions that help mitigate climate change or take its environmental impact into account. In 2014 it offered 156 such solutions ranging from asset management to insurance and services. Furthermore, Allianz continued to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects into its underwriting processes.
- Furthering public awareness and understanding
In 2014 Allianz issued several publications concerning climate change, such as “Investing in green cities: Mind the gap” and ”The future costs of power generation in Germany“. Allianz seeks to raise awareness among the general public by providing background information, facts and news on climate change via its global Allianz Open Knowledge website.
- Furthering sustainability in own investments
The total sum of Allianz’s direct investments in renewable energy projects stood at over € 2billion at the end of 2014. Its renewable energy portfolio includes 48 wind and seven solar parks in France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. Furthermore, Allianz continued to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects into its investment processes.
- Reducing total waste production
Allianz’s total waste production was reduced from 26,280 metric tons in 2013 to 22,277 metric tons in 2014.
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:
1) G4-EN3: Energy consumption within the organization – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization
4) G4-EN16: Energy indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 2) – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 305-2 Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions
5) G4-EN17: Other indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 3) – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 305-3 Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions
8) G4-EN23: Total weight of waste by type and disposal method – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 306-2 Waste by type and disposal method
1) This case study is based on published information by Allianz, located at the links below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the following links:
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