As an international insurer and reinsurer, we see first-hand the impacts of a changing climate on our customers, communities and partners. This is why we support an orderly and inclusive transition to a net zero emissions economy.
QBE’s ability to meet our net-zero commitments is related to the actions we take in relation to our own operations, our investments and our underwriting portfolios. Our success is reliant on many factors, including the development of new technology associated with carbon removal and emissions reduction. It also depends on the progress individuals, businesses and economies can make to transition to net zero collectively, particularly in developed countries with net-zero commitments. We seek to understand the climate science and the economic and social factors at play and QBE considers three spheres of influence in delivering on our commitments and driving change in the real economy.
Our approach to responsible investing and underwriting is consistent with our signatory status to the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance and Principles for Responsible Investment. We are also members of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA) and a supporter of the Insurance Council of Australia’s Climate Change Roadmap: Towards a Net-Zero and Resilient Future in our home market.
In 2020, QBE became the first Australian-headquartered insurance company to become a member of the NZAOA, joining an international group of institutional investors committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050. In 2021, we established intermediate targets for 2025, in line with the target-setting protocol of the NZAOA and our commitment to transition our investment portfolios to net zero emissions by 2050. In 2022, we invested in the data, systems and people required for, and made the expected progress against, these intermediate targets.
In 2022, QBE was a member of the working group developing the first Global GHG Accounting & Reporting Standard for Insurance-Associated Emissions with the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials. In 2022, and in 2023, we have invested or are investing in the data, systems and people required to estimate and automate the measurement of insurance-associated emissions across our portfolio. We will then commence formal engagement with priority commercial customers.
QBE creates value primarily through providing a wide range of insurance products, across many industry sectors and countries.
Our customers vary considerably, from large publicly listed entities, other insurance companies, non-listed entities, small-to-medium enterprises and individual consumers. To have an impact on the transition of the real economy to net zero, we recognise we have a role to play in engaging with our customers and insuring the transition. There are many approaches to achieving climate action and our positions, which include exclusions, are codified in the Environmental and Social Risk Framework in relation to sensitive sectors.
In 2022, we also began considering how we can foster an orderly and inclusive transition through our supply chain. We extended our operational targets to include a commitment to formal engagement on net-zero progress with large suppliers, with the goal of setting targets for those large suppliers by 2025.
We are committed to complying with the legislative requirements relevant across our operations and our internal policies such as our Group Environment Policy, which sets out the global minimum standards for our management of environmental issues. We recognise there are important social implications associated with climate risk and the transition. Our Group Human Rights Policy outlines our commitment to respecting human rights and avoiding human rights harm wherever we operate. We are committed to adhering to internationally recognised human rights norms and principles to elevate the importance of dignity and equality for all our employees, customers, communities and suppliers. Our policies are regularly reviewed as part of our governance processes.
QBE also seeks to influence through advocacy, either directly or through industry alliances. Our actions have a focus on influencing the reduction of real-world emissions and other material topics identified through our materiality assessment. QBE has played key roles on the ICA's Climate Change Action Committee (CCAC) that is focused on greater advocacy for more resilience to extreme weather, and for emissions reduction by the insurance industry, to help address insurance affordability and accessibility. The climate resilience series of technical reports developed by CCAC have underpinned successful advocacy for resilient investment from the Australian government in 2022. In advance of COP27, the release of the industry net-zero Roadmap was the culmination of broad engagement across ICA membership to increase literacy on the net-zero transition and implications for the Australian insurance sector. The development of this Roadmap informed the development of policy recommendations for the Australian Government to accelerate climate action alongside the Roadmap.
We report in line with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations through our Annual Report, and further information about our climate-related progress can be found in our Sustainability Report.