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Operational ecology

In 2018, Swiss Life set itself specific quantitative targets in operational ecology for the reduction of CO₂ emissions by the end of 2021. These included:

  • An increase in the share of electricity from renewable energy sources at company buildings to 100%
  • The continuous reduction of fossil fuels at business premises within its investment cycles
  • The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per FTE by 10% compared to 2016

Swiss Life achieved or exceeded these targets at the end of 2021. All company buildings are supplied with electricity from renewable energy sources and fossil fuels are being used less and less. In addition, Swiss Life has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per FTE by about 55% from 3311 kg to 1476 kg by the end of 2021 compared to 2016, thereby significantly exceeding its target.

In its Group-wide programme “Swiss Life 2024”, Swiss Life has set itself new goals for operational ecology in the sustainability strategy:

Climate-related targets within the operational ecology of the Swiss Life Group

CO₂ emissions

Swiss Life aims to reduce CO₂ emissions per FTE by a further 35% by the end of 2024 compared to 2019, primarily by reducing business travel as well as making more use of lower emission mobility and procuring electricity from sustainable production. As part of its investment cycles, it also intends to further reduce fossil fuels for the heating of company buildings.

The measured, unavoidable CO₂ emissions from operational ecology for the 2021 reporting year will be fully neutralised in 2022 by certified projects in the core European markets. As a result, Swiss Life’s operational activities will be net-zero from 2022.

In 2021, Swiss Life further standardised its recording of environmental indicators. It re-evaluated the data collection process and summarised it in a Group-wide company manual. In addition, data collection software was introduced to automate the consolidation and extrapolation of data and the calculation of emissions. This has significantly improved the quality and accuracy of data collection and emission calculation. CO₂ emissions are in accordance with the internationally recognised standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard (GHG Protocol Corporate Standard). The CO₂ emissions of all Swiss Life business locations are calculated using emission factors from the Ecoinvent and Ademe scientific databases. The science-based CO₂ equivalents used for the determination include all relevant greenhouse gases:

  • Scope 1 emissions comprise fuel consumption for heating buildings and for the company’s own fleet of vehicles.
  • Scope 2 emissions comprise consumption of purchased electricity and district heating at the business locations.
  • Swiss Life currently records four Scope 3 emissions categories:
  • Category 1 “Goods and services purchased” comprises paper consumption and water procurement at the operating sites. Other purchased services, such as server capacities, which are also relevant for Swiss Life, are not yet included in this category.
  • Category 3 “Energy activities” comprises the upstream processes for the production of the purchased building energy that are not included in Scopes 1 and 2.
  • Category 5 “Waste” comprises emissions resulting from the disposal of waste at the business locations.
  • Category 6 “Business travel” comprises the kilometres employees travel for business by train, car or plane.

The other categories are either not relevant for Swiss Life or the data is not yet available in a satisfactory quality. Category 7 “Employee Commuting” is among the Scope 3 emissions relevant to Swiss Life but not recorded. The categories 13 “Downstream leased assets” and 15 “Investments” are covered. For these two categories, the weighted average carbon intensity values are reported.

The environmental indicators for 2021 were audited by an independent auditor for the first time.

Due to the comprehensive adjustment of the process for the collection and calculation of environmental data, the historical comparative data for 2019 and 2020 have also changed and therefore been recalculated accordingly. This allowed the data to be adapted retrospectively to current standards and made comparable. It is not possible to compare the adjusted values with the values from previous years’ reports.

The main changes are:

  • The CO₂ balance is now calculated in accordance with the standards of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard – previously the standard of the Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability at Financial Institutions (VfU)
  • The emission factors were updated to contemporary values as per the scientific databases Ecoinvent and Ademe
  • The structure of the metrics has been further standardised
  • The extrapolations have been improved and their share reduced further.

Absolute environmental indicators

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Relative environmental indicators per FTE

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Swiss Life has achieved its goal of obtaining 100% electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of 2021. By the end of 2024, Swiss Life wants to reduce total emissions per FTE by 35% compared to 2019. At the end of 2021, total emissions per FTE were 39% lower than in 2019, partly due to effects resulting from restrictions during the pandemic.

Further information can be found in the Sustainability Report (section “Operational Ecology”).