Insurance firm pledges $100 million for social and environmental programmes

30th September 2015


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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation

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IEMA

Insurance group Zurich plans to spend up to 10% of its private equity on strategies that generate positive social and environmental impacts.

Zurich, which has assets of more than $200 billion, says it will invest $100 million with private equity fund managers who are willing to report on non-financial impact metrics that generate social and environmental benefits. This includes helping to mitigate environmental risks and supporting a low-carbon economy. Zurich will also seek to help communities that lack the means to achieve these goals to access capital.

Urban Angehrn, chief investment officer, said: "Our vision is of a future in which we will have a much better understanding of the social and environmental impacts - both positive and negative - of the companies and assets in which we invest, allowing us to achieve positive impact and superior risk-adjusted returns."

Zurich says managing assets in a way that creates sustainable value is a further step towards delivering on its responsible investment strategy. "With impact private equity we can do this already today, at least for one small part of our portfolio. Our hope is to help make this approach more mainstream over the coming years," added Angehrn.

The company's long-term strategy includes a commitment to invest up to $2 billion in green bonds, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from its $5.5 billion real estate assets and integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into its investment processes. Earlier this year, Zurich become a member of the Global Impact Investing Network's (GIIN) Investors' Council, which has been set up to increase the scale and effectiveness of impact investing.

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