Organisational implementation of sustainability
The highest management body responsible for implementing the sustainability strategy is the Corporate Executive Board, chaired by the Group CEO. The Board of Directors, as the highest authority for strategic issues, is regularly informed about measures and progress as well as reporting and due diligence obligations in the area of sustainability and is involved in the decision-making process.
The Swiss Life Board of Directors attaches great importance to the issue of sustainability with reference to environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects. An integral part of Swiss Life’s risk strategy and risk processes, sustainability issues are continuously addressed at the committees of the Board of Directors and by the Board of Directors as a whole. Sustainability topics are regularly discussed by the Board of Directors and its Investment and Risk Committee, particularly in the context of self-assessing the risk situation and capital requirements (Own Risk and Solvency Assessment, ORSA) and reporting to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
The principles of the Group-wide sustainability organisation are set out in a directive and are enshrined in the Group-wide directives system. The directive summarises the key sustainability principles of the Swiss Life Group and describes the roles and responsibilities within the sustainability organisation.
The variable compensation components are linked to the strategic objectives of the Group and the individual divisions, and the associated financial and HR-related targets. Qualitative goals relate in particular to project, risk management or compliance goals and to leadership, sustainability and ESG (environmental, social, corporate governance) requirements. Personal performance based on the specified quantitative and qualitative objectives is assessed annually in the employee appraisal procedure implemented throughout the Group (Group Performance System, GPS).
The sustainability organisation is aligned to Swiss Life’s multi-divisional organisation: it comprises sustainability delegates from all divisions as well as specialist delegates from various areas, including Group Finance and Risk. The sustainability delegates from the divisions ensure that the Group-wide sustainability strategy is implemented on site with corresponding measures and initiatives, taking account of local regulatory requirements. They also ensure that the management teams and divisional CEOs are involved in the decision-making process. Swiss Life has defined eleven subject areas for specialist management which are assigned to corresponding specialist delegates and in which representatives of the divisions participate. In total, Swiss Life Group’s sustainability organisation comprised around 64 FTE in 2022.
The Swiss Life Group Sustainability team is responsible for the coordination, steering and implementation of measures at Group level. This team ensures that the focus areas defined by Swiss Life’s Group-wide sustainability strategy are integrated within and implemented by the divisions. Furthermore, the team ensures the involvement of the Corporate Executive Board as a steering body, reports on progress and engages in dialogue with key stakeholder groups at Group level. The Swiss Life Group sustainability team is part of the Corporate Functions division and reports to the Head of Group Communications and Strategic Marketing, who in turn reports to the Group CEO.
As part of its Group-wide sustainability strategy, Swiss Life is also integrating sustainability and climate-related aspects into its existing risk management structure. The independent risk management function is managed by the Group CRO, who reports to the Group CFO and to the Investment and Risk Committee of the Board of Directors.
Within the Corporate Executive Board, the Group CIO is responsible for Swiss Life’s investment strategy and responsible investment approach. Climate-related risks and opportunities are systematically taken into account in risk and investment processes.
The Responsible Investment governance of Swiss Life Asset Managers is aimed at integrating ESG into all core asset management processes. These core processes encompass all areas and functions of Swiss Life Asset Managers. The ESG Board of Swiss Life Asset Managers is responsible for implementing sustainability in terms of asset management in the divisions and processes. This Board decides on Responsible Investment policies, addresses crucial ESG matters and advises the Executive Committee of Swiss Life Asset Managers as well as other bodies on ESG issues. The ESG Board is lead by the Head of ESG at Swiss Life Asset Managers.
The ESG team at Swiss Life Asset Managers designs and coordinates the Responsible Investment policies and ESG investment strategies in close cooperation with the divisions and in accordance with their local requirements. In addition, it helps to integrate the investment policies and strategies into existing processes. The Swiss Life Asset Managers ESG team also plays a key role in sharing knowledge on sustainability in asset management. The Head of ESG at Swiss Life Asset Managers reports to the Group CIO.
Further information can be found in (section “Risk Management”, in the Sustainability Report (section “Sustainability Strategy”) and in the Responsible Investment Report.