Pages last visited
DE R J (0)
« Business Review »

Sustainability in the Environment –
Environmental and Climate Protection in Operational Ecology

In its operational ecology, Swiss Life focuses on climate protection and aims to continuously reduce its carbon footprint.

Swiss Life wants to make an active contribution to climate protection and to reducing CO2 emissions. Therefore, the company has set targets for operational ecology. These are set out in a Groupwide directive. At the same time, the company wants to further increase employee awareness of environmental and climate protection. It therefore has awareness-raising activities at various locations.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations, Swiss Life systematically integrates environmental aspects into asset management and real estate management (see Responsible investing).

Operational ecology goals of the Swiss Life Group

Greenhouse gas1

Swiss Life wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2021.


Swiss Life wants to increase the share of electricity it uses in its buildings from renewable energy sources, with a target of reaching 100% by 2021.

Fossil fuels

Swiss Life wants to continuously reduce its use of fossil fuels in its business premises within its investment cycles.

1 The reference base for this goal per FTE is 2016 and it covers Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

Operational ecology indicators

Environmental data on operational ecology are gathered annually in accordance with the globally recognised standard of the Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability at Financial Institutions (VfU). Its annual data collection allows Swiss Life to determine where progress has been made, where risks lie and where steps must be taken. The VfU key figures conform to the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol (Scope 1, 2 and 3) standards, and thus to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as well. The data are gathered, evaluated and analysed across the Group. All the major Swiss Life locations have environmental officers and the individual divisions work closely together. Following the extensive professionalisation of operational ecology initiated in 2018, Swiss Life has also set itself the goal of continuously improving data quality and significantly reducing the proportion of estimates.

Absolute environmental indicators1

2019201820172016 2
TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION (IN MWH)51 69449 50047 81949 075
Electricity (in MWh)32 57032 01131 55733 501
Heating (in MWh)13 93715 93314 75913 965
District heating/cooling (in MWh)5 1871 5561 5031 609
RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY (IN MWH)23 08015 89017 86813 905
Proportion of renewable electricity (in %)71505742
PAPER CONSUMPTION (IN T)1 2289341 0311 084
Proportion of paper with FSC label (in %)68666360
WATER CONSUMPTION (IN M3)104 380100 94084 36173 677
WASTE (IN T)1 1181 0091 1321 002
WASTE RECYCLING (IN T)507542655613
Waste recycling (in %)45545861
TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (IN T)23 65724 43622 78826 647
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 (CO2 equivalents in t)6 5969 3418 6678 660
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 2 (CO2 equivalents in t)4 8083 4392 9356 578
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 and 2 (CO2 equivalents in t)11 40412 78011 60115 239
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 3 (CO2 equivalents in t)12 25411 65611 18611 408

Relative environmental indicators per full-time position (FTP)1

20192018 20172016 2
Electricity (in KWh/FTE)3 4913 6313 8434 163
Heating (in KWh/FTE)1 4941 8071 7971 735
District heating/cooling (in KWh/FTE)556176183200
BUSINESS TRAVEL (IN KM/FTE)6 6347 8047 6867 709
WASTE (IN KG/FTE)120114138125
Greenhouse gas emissions Spope 1 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)7071 0591 0551 076
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 2 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)515390357817
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 and 2 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)1 2221 4491 4131 893
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 3 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)1 3131 3221 3621 418

The Swiss Life Group reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 3% in 2019. One contributory factor to that was a reduction in business traffic (–10%). In addition, Swiss Life increased its share of electricity from renewable energy sources by 21 percentage points in the year under review, which helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the share of fossil fuels was further reduced in favour of district heating. Overall, total energy consumption increased slightly, which can be traced back to the cold winter of 2019.

Principal activities of the Swiss Life Group and its divisions

Swiss Life Group
  • In 2019 Swiss Life introduced collaboration software to enable Group-wide digital collaboration and optimal use of resources in the future. Meetings can now be held Group-wide in virtual rooms, with information being made available digitally. Among other things, Swiss Life expects this to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years by reducing business trips and cutting consumption of paper and printing.
  • In Switzerland, Swiss Life is a member of the Zurich Energy Model and has been drawing all its electricity from renewable energy sources for over ten years. This has enabled the company to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 1300 tonnes. Under its energy model, Swiss Life has pledged to improve energy efficiency at its Zurich location by 1.76 % every year up to 2020.
  • Swiss Life’s head office in Zurich is virtually carbon-neutral. Since the early 1990s, the building has been cooled with water from Lake Zurich. Around four years ago, the system was further developed to make use of lake water for heating as well, by means of a heat pump. Over 95% of the building’s heating needs are now supplied in this fashion. All the sanitary facilities at both Zurich locations are equipped with water-saving installations. This enables Swiss Life Switzerland to save some three million litres of water each year. Moreover, rainwater has been used for some sanitary installations for the past 20 years.
  • All printers and copiers use paper from environmentally and socially friendly forestry, certified by the FSC label. Swiss Life also uses paper with the FSC label for larger print-runs, for example for its customer magazine. In the reporting period, all printers at the two locations in Zurich were set to standard double-sided black-and-white printing and separate printers in offices were abolished. The measures implemented in the year under review have already led to a paper reduction of 25 tonnes in the two Zurich office buildings. Moreover, an awareness-raising campaign was run to encourage employees to minimise the use of paper.
  • Swiss Life wants to make an active contribution to climate protection through operational ecology, for which reason it set up the Swiss Climate Foundation in 2008 in cooperation with other Swiss companies. The foundation supports SMEs in becoming more energy efficient and reducing their CO2 emissions.
  • Regular theme days are organised in France to raise employee awareness of environmental protection. Recycling stations were introduced at the Roubaix location in 2019 and measures to optimise energy efficiency were introduced at the main buildings in Levallois and Roubaix in the reporting period.
  • In Germany, the two main Swiss Life branch offices, in Garching near Munich and in Hanover, have repeatedly been awarded the ECOPROFIT seal for their outstanding commitment to corporate environmental protection. The seal rewards efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and save resources. At both locations, Swiss Life sources electricity from renewable sources.
  • Swiss Life Germany has also been represented in the Klima-Allianz der Stadt Hannover (Climate Alliance of the City of Hanover) network for over ten years and undertakes, in cooperation with other companies, to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy efficiency in urban areas.
Swiss Life International
  • The locations in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the UK, Austria, the Czech Republic, Singapore and Slovakia are in modern, energy-efficient office buildings. Environmental impact is steadily being reduced in all areas through progressive digitalisation and optimised use of workplaces. The most important measures include reducing paper consumption and waste and encouraging the use of public transport.


Since 2011, the Swiss Life Group has taken part in the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) survey. The CDP is an independent charitable organisation which holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of corporate information on climate change. In both 2018 and 2019, Swiss Life was awarded a B-rating.