Resource environment | Activities and focus
Our environmental policy: climate protection
Baloise’s environmental policy concentrates on supporting renewable energies, the value-adding expansion of infrastructure and measures for increasing the recycling rate. All activities contribute to climate protection. We handle natural resources responsibly and carefully. This responsibility comes into play when dealing with issues related to our own energy requirements, such as purchasing, investments and the procurement of products and third-party services, and is deeply incorporated in our Vendor Code of Conduct (PDF, 419 KB). Baloise has been publishing a group-wide life cycle assessment since 1998.
All activities contribute to climate protection and and promoting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular No. 7 (affordable and clean energy), No. 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), No. 12 (responsible consumption and production) and with a special focus on No. 13 (climate action).
Responsible Investment Policy
The Responsible Investment Policy (RI Policy) for insurance assets integrates environmental and social criteria, as well as criteria for corporate governance, in investment decisions. In addition to this, the Responsible Investment Policy was also expanded to include all products managed by Baloise Asset Management on behalf of third-party customers. Our new climate strategy came into effect on 1 February 2021, and reinforces the focus on the issue of climate and climate protection within our responsible investment approach. To express our commitment, Baloise signed the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2018.
Baloise Asset Management also includes the Real Estate division. Baloise is one of the largest property owners in Switzerland. For us as a responsible investor, sustainable real estate investments and long-term returns are closely linked. In the case of new construction projects, we strive for certification - in the case of renovation projects, this is checked on a situational basis. For this purpose, the consumption figures (energy and water consumption) of the properties are systematically recorded and evaluated. With the help of the cantonal building energy certificate (GEAK), the energy efficiency of each property is determined and concrete measures for improvement are derived.
Reduction of CO2 emissions and life cycle assessment
As an insurance company, Baloise is not a producer of goods. The greatest energy requirements at the Baloise sites come in the form of electrical power and heating energy consumption. We consider energy efficiency in the IT infrastructure and in our buildings at all sites, and have thus been able to consistently reduce our CO2 emissions for years. This reduction is documented in our enviromental audit (PDF, 79 KB). In addition to general material and energy flows, we calculate our absolute and relative CO2 emissions according to VfU guidelines. Since 2000, Baloise has achieved huge reductions in both absolute and relative CO2 emissions. In absolute terms, emissions have been cut by 74.4 per cent.
When it comes to our climate-friendly company buildings, we apply state-of-the-art construction standards and renovation methods and run the buildings in the most resource-saving manner possible. At all of our locations in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, we obtain 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable energies in buildings where we are able to determine the energy mix ourselves.
In addition to optimising operations at the sites in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, consideration is also give to sustainable construction for new buildings. The construction of the three buildings in Baloise Park in Basel, Switzerland, was based on the Sustainable Construction Standard Switzerland (SNBS) and thereby considerably exceeds legal requirements regarding energy efficiency. The buildings' occupants moved in in 2020. A new waste separation concept at Baloise Park increases the recycling rate and improves the return of valuable materials to the production cycle. 100 per cent renewable district heating is used.
In addition to the optimisation of operations in Hamburg, which includes the switch to LED, and the start of projects in Bad Homburg to switch to LED and to install a photovoltaic system, the site in Bremen was relocated. The new site in a more efficient building (EUROPA-CENTER Airportstadt in Bremen) enables sustainable energy and cost savings. Among other things, these savings are made possible owing to the smaller site and better space efficiency.
The new office building in Leudelange, Luxembourg, will be the first in the country to be made entirely of wood. The wood used to construct this office building, called “Wooden”, comes exclusively from sustainably managed forests in Greater Luxembourg. Wooden is equipped with photovoltaic modules and is aiming for the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) Excellent environmental certification.
In addition to its constructive qualities, Wooden is also the second building in Luxembourg to be part of the WELL Building Standard® certification process. In contrast to other labels in the construction sector, the focus here is placed on residents, namely through ten concepts that enable a holistic approach to well-being in and around the building: air, water, food, light, physical activity, temperature, noise, materials, spirit and community. The new office building will be better accessible via public transport. This measure will thus also hopefully reduce indirect CO2 emissions. In addition, Baloise relies on consistent waste separation at the Luxembourg site to return valuable materials to the production cycle.
Baloise in Belgium is investing in a prototype for the office life of the future. In March 2019, the company purchased the sustainable building The Link from Ghelamco, making it the largest office proprietor in Antwerp. The office building has been awarded the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate. Thanks to an E-level of 40, the building received a BEN certificate, which indicates that the building is virtually energy neutral. The energy used within the buildings is obtained entirely from renewable energies.
The Baloise Phoenix in Brussels, Belgium, has over 17,000 square metres of office space and was comprehensively renovated in 2020. The process focused on achieving the European energy standard ISO 20121. These standards involve the renovation of existing non-residential buildings that require almost no external energy (zero-energy building). Baloise occupies three floors of this building for its own use.
Promoting e-mobility and renewable energies
Baloise promotes e-mobility both through the gradual changeover its own fleet and through offers that enable its staff and other building tenants to charge their electric vehicles.
With a view to supporting the 2020 Electromobility Roadmap by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, which aims to see 15 per cent electric vehicles among new registrations by 2022, a project was launched to promote charging infrastructure in Baloise properties. The promotion of e-mobility, in combination with the promotion of renewable energy, is also an integral part of Baloise’s operational ecology. At various locations, Baloise has its own charging stations that can be used free of charge by both staff and customers.
Employees: raising awareness and promoting climate-friendly mobility
By raising awareness among its staff and providing information about environmental issues, Baloise is also aiming to offer sustainable alternatives to provide staff with more possibilities for action. In addition to periodic information about the implementation of our environmental model, this also includes promoting sustainable mobility during working hours and while commuting. Such measures include:
- The introduction of a bicycle leasing offering for employees in Belgium
- The option for customers and employees in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland, to charge their electric cars with solar power free of charge
- The provision of electric bicycles for our claims inspectors in Switzerland
- Promoting the use of public transport through discounts on ticket purchases
- Employees are given the opportunity to use public transport whenever possible and to strictly separate waste