Operational ecology

Swiss Life focuses on energy-saving measures, renewable energy sources and active environmental management in terms of its in-house operations and as a real estate owner.

Goals of operational ecology

  • To enhance energy efficiency on an ongoing basis
  • To promote profitability and sustainability within the company on an equal and concerted basis
  • To create an awareness among employees of the necessity to make economic use of resources in day-to-day business operations.
  • As a member of the Zurich Energy Model Swiss Life Switzerland undertakes to improve energy efficiency at its Zurich office by at least 1.87% each year until 2020. The target is a total efficiency increase of 15% by 2020. The annual target in previous years was set slightly lower at 1.5%. Swiss Life always succeeded in meeting or even exceeding this target.
  • Since 2006 the company buildings of Swiss Life in Switzerland have procured their electricity from 100% renewable energy sources, thereby reducing the company’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 300 tonnes.
  • Since winter 2013/14, lake water has been used to heat the Swiss Life head office building at Zurich Enge. In very cold temperatures, gas is additionally used. Oil-fired heating is no longer in use.
  • Since winter 2014/15, a heat pump and lake water has also been used for the hot water supply at the Swiss Life head office building.
  • At the head office in Zurich water-saving installations have been fitted in all sanitary facilities. This enables Swiss Life to save some three million litres of water each year. Furthermore, rainwater has been recycled for some of the sanitary facilities since 1999, likewise exerting a positive impact in terms of water consumption.
  • During 2014 the computers and partly also the monitors of all Internal Services employees in Zurich will be replaced. This switch to more modern devices will produce annual power savings of 284 000 kWh.

  • Swiss Life promotes the use of public transport and makes a financial contribution towards its employees' travel passes. In addition, the company promotes videoconferencing when working with the individual market divisions, thus cutting down on unnecessary business travel.
  • Swiss Life in Munich and Hanover has repeatedly been awarded the ECOPROFIT seal of environmental quality for its outstanding commitment to corporate environmental protection. These awards acknowledge the efforts made by Swiss Life in Germany in terms of CO2 reduction and saving resources.
  • The insurance business in Germany is managed from Garching near Munich. The electricity for this location comes entirely from renewable energy sources. Since January 2010 a regional hydroelectric power station operator has guaranteed the delivery of green electricity. The branch has thus reduced its CO2 emissions by around 1400 tonnes per annum. TÜV Süd has certified the energy provider and guarantees that the saved emissions are not offset by trading emission rights elsewhere.
  • In mid-2014, Swiss Life moved into a new building in Garching. Environmental protection and sustainability were made a priority in its construction. The construction and subsequent operation were planned from an environmental perspective, for example in terms of the material selection. The use of LED bulbs in the offices in place of normal fluorescent tubes has in itself produced savings of some 375 000 kWh per year. The building has been awarded the German Sustainable Building Council's gold award ("DGNB Gold").
  • Swiss Life is continually making improvements to its Hanover premises by investing in the technical installations, for example the retrofitting of heat recovery technology in ventilation systems and use of LED lights. The installation of a combined heat and power unit at the end of 2013 has reduced CO2 emissions by up to 435 tonnes a year. Swiss Life in Germany is represented in the Klima-Allianz der Stadt Hannover association.
  • Swiss Life in Germany is increasingly corresponding electronically for its insurance business, e-mail for example, instead of sending conventional letters. In so doing the company saves about 900 000 sheets of paper a year.

Swiss Life in France has launched a new approach to develop corporate responsibility and create sustainable value. Environmental performance is one of our main goals. Successful initiatives have been implemented:

  • Changing to a paperless system:
    Swiss Life France operates a dematerialization program by reducing the production of paper documents for communications internally and with customers.
  • Waste processing and control of energy consumption:
    Swiss Life France has installed facilities for sorting waste at all sites. In 2015, 74 tonnes of waste paper was recycled, and in Roubaix batteries, cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, neon bulbs and clothes have also been recycled.
  • Environmental information campaigns:
    Since 2008, various events (online quiz, conferences, exhibitions, sensibilisation campaigns) have been organised to make employees aware of the need to reduce the impact on the environment. In 2015, with the COP 21 which has taken place in France, Swiss Life France has organized a special event about eco-friendly gestures. The goal was to prove to the employees that they can act for climate thanks to small actions.

Since 2014, Swiss Life France produces each year a CSR report to explain all its actions towards the environment, its employees, its customers, etc.

Environmental Indicators (VfU)

Since 2008 Swiss Life’s specialist unit for environmental management has produced an annual compilation of the Group’s key environmental indicators.
In accordance with the standards set by the Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability at Financial Institutions (VfU), this report collects and analyses data on electricity, heating, paper, transport, water and waste disposal and proposes measures for improvement.