Zurich International’s success in reducing energy consumption and waste is an excellent example of what businesses can achieve when there is enthusiastic support at all levels.
Thanks to a high degree of engagement among their 300 employees here on the Island, there has been wholehearted support for initiatives that provide simple, practical ways for each individual to make small changes which add up to big reductions. In addition, the business has put sustainability at the heart of its strategic planning; one example being the design of its HQ (Zurich House, opened in 2018) which has BREEAM certification (that means it meets high standards for sustainability and energy efficiency). Those achievements, among many others, contribute to targets set out in the sustainability commitment of Zurich International’s parent company, Zurich Insurance Group, the leading global insurer.
Zurich became the first insurer to sign up to the UN’s 1.5 Celsius Business Ambition pledge to limit the global temperature rise. It was rated as the number one company in the insurance sector for 2020 in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which evaluates the sustainability performance of thousands of companies. The commitment at group level provides a framework which both inspires Zurich’s 55,000 employees around the world to support the company’s existing environmental initiatives, and encourages them to suggest more ideas to further reduce the company’s, and their own personal, carbon footprint.
“Within my role at Zurich International,” says Nigel Simpson, Head of International Markets, “and within the overarching Zurich Insurance Group, I’ve seen many examples of how we, as businesses, can continue to drive the sustainability initiative forward. I’m very pleased to say that in the Isle of Man we have had a tremendous response from everyone in the business, and from our local business partners.”
Here are just some of Zurich International’s achievements here on the Island in recent years:
Energy & waste
- Zurich House uses renewable energy from a hydro-electric plant, and lots of ways have been found to reduce electricity consumption. For example:
- only using digital boards from 6am to 6pm
- Halving the time (from 30 to 15 minutes) that sensors automatically switch off lights if no movement is detected in the office
- Printing has been reduced by 80%, and printer ink cartridges are recycled
- All single use plastics have been removed, and items where it has traditionally been included (e.g. new starter gift packs) have been reviewed
- Collection points for plastic items that can be recycled
- Thanks to a partnership with Cycle 360, employees can commute via eBikes. During lockdown, when employees were working remotely, the bikes were loaned to the police to help officers inform people about social distancing
- Employees can take time out of the office to provide practical help to charities such as Beach Buddies and Isle of Man Woodland Trust
- Zurich International’s Isle of Man employees support a global Zurich group project called ‘Zurich Forest’ which invites every employee to become a shareholder by ‘planting’ their tree
Advocacy, awareness & education
- Zurich International became a UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Partner in 2019. The business adheres to the six-point Biosphere Pledge and is an advocate that actively encourages other companies to support the initiative
- Awareness campaigns, such as a Climate Month campaign in September 2020, highlight the need for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency. Climate Month also involved employees doing voluntary work to help with litter picks and tree planting