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Sustainability in the Environment

Swiss Life supports the Paris Agreement and aims to make an active contribution to climate protection through its own measures. In operational ecology, it pursues the aim of continuously reducing its carbon footprint per full-time equivalent and strives for climate neutrality.

Extract from the Swiss Life Climate Strategy

In its business, Swiss Life contributes directly to society. With its advice, services and products, it enables people to lead a self-determined life. As a comprehensive life, pensions and financial solutions provider founded over 160 years ago and as a major institutional investor, Swiss Life is aware of its responsibility and the need to think long term. It aims to carry out its activities in a way that helps to shape the future without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Swiss Life recognises that climate change, if left unmitigated, will have negative effects on society and the global economy. Swiss Life is committed to playing an active role in contributing to the transition towards a low-carbon economy and to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Further, Swiss Life expects increased transparency requests from stakeholders (e.g. customers, regulators, investors and employees) regarding products and services and increasing demand for sustainable products. Furthermore, Swiss Life’s investments in securities, real estate and infrastructure might be affected by the physical impacts of climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Swiss Life has integrated sustainability and climate aspects into its existing risk management frameworks for the management of its business and assesses present and future climate-related risks and opportunities on a regular basis.

  • Swiss Life now publishes a yearly report based on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which can be downloaded at swisslife.com/reports. Full details regarding the climate strategy can be found in the Swiss Life climate report.

Operational Ecology

Swiss Life has set targets for operational ecology which are set out in a Group-wide directive. At the same time, Swiss Life is helping to make its employees more conscious of environmental and climate protection and organises awareness-raising activities at the various locations.

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

Key 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). By gathering data on an annual basis, Swiss Life is able to determine where progress has been made, where risks lie and where steps must be taken. The VfU’s key figures conform to the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards (Scope 1, 2 and 3). The data are gathered, evaluated and analysed across the Group. All the major Swiss Life locations have environmental officers who collect the data for the individual divisions. The data are consolidated and analysed at Group level. Following the extensive professionalisation of operational ecology, Swiss Life has set itself the goal of continuously improving data quality. Thus, in 2020, additional locations were included in the data collection and the share of extrapolations and estimates could be further limited.

Absolute environmental indicators1

TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION (IN MWH)40 75551 69449 50047 819
Electricity (in MWh)22 64532 57032 01131 557
Heating (in MWh)12 66613 93715 93314 759
District heating/cooling (in MWh)5 4445 1871 5561 503
RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY (IN MWH)20 16723 08015 89017 868
Proportion of renewable electricity (in %)89715057
PAPER CONSUMPTION (IN T)1 0521 2289341 031
Proportion of paper with FSC label (in %)87686663
WATER CONSUMPTION (IN M3)71 870104 380100 94084 361
WASTE (IN T)6271 1181 0091 132
WASTE RECYCLING (IN T)314507542655
Waste recycling (in %)50455458
TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (IN T)13 61123 65724 43622 788
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 (CO2 equivalents in t)5 4236 5969 3418 667
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 2 (CO2 equivalents in t)1 2714 8083 4392 935
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 and 2 (CO2 equivalents in t)6 69511 40412 78011 601
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 3 (CO2 equivalents in t)6 91612 25411 65611 186

Relative environmental indicators per full-time equivalent position (FTE)1

Electricity (in KWh/FTE)2 3063 4913 6313 843
Heating (in KWh/FTE)1 2901 4941 8071 797
District heating/cooling (in KWh/FTE)554556176183
BUSINESS TRAVEL (IN KM/FTE)2 7296 6347 8047 686
WASTE (IN KG/FTE)64120114138
Greenhouse gas emissions Spope 1 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)5527071 0591 055
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 2 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)129515390357
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 and 2 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)6821 2221 4491 413
Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 3 (CO2 equivalents in kg/FTE)7041 3131 3221 362

Evolution of environmental indicators per FTE

In 2020, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic led to some significant changes in key environmental indicators. Total greenhouse gas emissions per FTE fell significantly (–45%) compared to the previous year. This was mainly due to the sharp reduction in business travel (-59%). Meanwhile, the share of electricity from renewable energy sources has been increased further and now stands at 89%. Both paper and water consumption and the amount of waste generated in office buildings were significantly reduced in 2020 due to the above-average proportion of work done at home. Swiss Life is well on track to achieve the Group-wide targets set for the end of 2021 and will prepare new successor targets for the further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations in 2021.

Measures taken within the Swiss Life Group

Swiss Life Group
  • The sharp decline in travel due to the widespread travel restrictions and the increase in virtual collaboration due to the Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. In the year under review, Swiss Life initiated a project to anchor the positive experiences of using digital aids in its processes and corporate culture over the long term, and thus sustainably reduce greenhouse gas emissions from business travel.
  • In Switzerland, Swiss Life is a member of the Zurich Energy Model and has been obtaining all its electricity from renewable energy sources for over ten years. Founded in 1987, the Energy Model Zurich is an association of companies that set themselves voluntary targets for energy efficiency. In setting its new targets for 2020, Swiss Life renewed its pledge to increase energy efficiency at its Zurich location by 1.5% annually until 2030.
  • Swiss Life’s head office in Zurich is virtually carbon-neutral. Since the early 1990s, the building has been cooled and heated with water from Lake Zurich. Rainwater is used for sanitary installations at the Zurich business premises. 30% of the energy used for heating Swiss Life’s Binz Center property is biogas sourced from Switzerland.
  • With its operational ecology programme, Swiss Life wants to make an active contribution to climate protection. This is why 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.
  • In 2020, Swiss Life France introduced targeted measures to further raise employee awareness of environmental protection and sustainability. Employees received further training in environmental and climate issues through a company-wide digital training programme. 93% of staff participated in the scheme. In addition, the local sustainability team held a digital event on the topic of waste reduction.
  • 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 obtains its 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, in cooperation with other companies, undertakes to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy efficiency in this urban area.
  • In 2020, moreover, an energy audit was carried out for Swiss Life Germany in accordance with the Energy Services Act (EDL-G). In addition to sensitising employees to the separation of waste for recycling, the outdoor lighting at the Hanover location was converted to state-of-theart LED technology.
Swiss Life International
  • The offices in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the UK, Austria, the Czech Republic, Singapore and Slovakia are housed in modern, energy-efficient premises. 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.

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

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 2020, Swiss Life improved its rating to B. In the previous year it had been given a B– rating.