Sustainability governance and management

sustainability governance framework

Oversight and accountability of sustainability

The Group Board and Group Committees

Consistent with its charter, the Group Board is responsible for overseeing QBE’s social, ethical, and environmental responsibilities across the business and oversees and guides our sustainability strategy, initiatives and reporting.  This includes our policies and activities in relation to the environment and human rights.  The Group Sustainability team updates the Board on our sustainability performance regularly. 

Our Group Executive Committee (GEC) reviews and approves our sustainability strategy and priorities and is supported by the Environmental and Social Sub-Committee (E&S GEC SC), the Executive Risk Committee (ERC) and ESG Risk Committee.  

The ERC also supports the GEC in managing ESG risks and met six times in 2022.  The ESG Risk Committee supports the ERC in managing ESG risks across the Group.  The Committee oversees actions to identify, review and manage ESG risks. 

The E&S GEC SC was established in 2021, initially comprised of five members of the GEC meeting monthly to take a deeper dive into sustainability issues and support executive decision making. Following the refresh of the sustainability strategy, the membership, and terms of reference of the E&S GEC SC were reviewed. In December 2022, two divisional CEOs joined, enabling regional considerations to be incorporated into sustainability integration activities across the enterprise. This committee expects to meet at least six times per year and met nine times in 2022. 

The Sustainability Committee supports the E&S GEC SC in the delivery and effectiveness of our sustainability strategy, initiatives, and reporting. It comprises senior representatives from across the Group who are involved in the day-to-day management of sustainability issues and are responsible for delivering on the actions associated with QBE’s Sustainability Scorecard and commitments. These representatives come from business units including Risk, Compliance, Underwriting, Finance, Impact and Responsible Investments, Investor Relations, People and Culture, Company Secretariat, Operations and Procurement. The Sustainability Committee is chaired by our Group Executive Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, a GEC member.  

Integrating sustainability across our business
Group Sustainability team
The Group Sustainability team, led by the Group Head of Sustainability, reports to the Group Executive Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, a GEC member. The team drives sustainability across our business, including development and implementation of our sustainability strategy and the development of an enterprise-wide action plan to drive progress on our Sustainability Commitments. This team is also responsible for stakeholder engagement and communications, performance management and reporting. The Group Head of Sustainability is the secretary of the E&S GEC SC. 
Group Underwriting Sustainability and Governance team
To further integrate sustainability and ESG considerations as part of underwriting, we have a dedicated team of individuals working with the Group Chief Underwriting Office. This includes a Group Head of Underwriting Governance, Sustainability and Standards who commenced in the role in early 2022 and reports to the Group Chief Underwriting Officer, a GEC member.
Group Impact and Responsible Investments team
QBE has a dedicated Group Impact and Responsible Investments (IRI) team who reports to the Group Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and the Group Chief Financial Officer, a GEC member. The IRI team seeks to integrate ESG considerations into our investment decision-making process. The team’s activities are overseen by the BRCC and, where appropriate, the Board Investment Committee. The Group CIO and the Head of IRI participate in sustainability-related committees including the ESG Risk Committee. 
Group Finance team
The Group Finance team has commenced an important enabling role in the development of an information governance framework for the reporting of sustainability metrics and the associated assurance activities. This team also supports the measurement of insurance-associated emissions of the underwriting portfolio and the Finance Chief Operating Officer and Chief Underwriting Office have co-sponsored the internal program to measure Net Zero Insurance- associated emissions in 2022.  

Group ESG Risk team

The Group ESG Risk team, led by the Head of ESG Risk, reports to the Chief Enterprise Risk Officer and Group Chief Risk Officer (CRO), a GEC member. The team supports the identification, analysis and management of ESG risks and integration into our risk management practices and systems. The Group ESG Risk team is also responsible for referrals in relation to the Environmental & Social Risk Framework and the modern slavery risk assessment process.  The Head of ESG Risk is the secretary of the ESG Risk Committee. 

Divisional Integration
To support alignment and integration of the enterprise-wide sustainability strategy, the relevant divisional executive sustainability or ESG committees (“Divisional Committees”). In Australia Pacific, sustainability-related responsibilities are addressed through existing executive management forums. In Europe, we have established a separate executive management committee for ESG-related topics in April 2022.  
ESG Management Group - European Operations
The ESG Management Group (ESG MG) reports to the Divisional Executive Management Board and was established to strategically support the Division’s Executive Management in oversight of all elements of ESG including business opportunities, financial risks and regulatory requirements for the Division.  
The ESG MG is supported by the Climate Change Underwriting Group (‘CCUG’), ESG Risk Working Group (‘ESG RWG’) and any subject matter experts or formal governance forums within the Division. The ESG MG will support the Divisional CEO in his maintenance of consistency and information flows to the Group Executive Committees, particularly the E&S GEC SC and the ESG Risk Committee.  
Other governance forums
We have a range of other internal governance forums and working groups whose members possess the specialist skills required to understand and address current and emerging sustainability issues. These include our:
  • Global Privacy Council;
  • Inclusion of Diversity Community of Practice;
  • Health & Safety Working Group; 
  • QBE Global Foundation Committee;
  • Net Zero Insured Emissions Program Steering Committee; and 
  • Net Zero engagement working group.