Folksam moves closer to net zero emissions with new reporting of sustainability data

Monday, 01 June 2020

In line with its goal to be a leader in sustainability in the insurance industry, ICMIF member Folksam (Sweden) is starting to report its own carbon footprint every quarter. For the first time, it published key figures linked to its sustainability work in its interim report for the first quarter of 2020. Folksam is the first in the industry to publish this sustainability data in its quarterly reports, which traditionally only contains economic key figures, and it hopes other insurers will follow their lead.

“If we are to push through our ambitious goals, we need to show that we can integrate sustainability aspects at all levels. Then it is important that our reporting also shows sustainability figures” says Karin Stenmar, Sustainability Manager at Folksam Group (pictured).

Karin, together with colleagues in the Department of Asset Management and Sustainability, has developed the areas that Folksam report on, including the amount of CO2 emissions in its operations (the target is net zero emissions in 10 years), energy consumption in its properties, and the carbon footprint in its investment portfolio.

“We take the climate issue very seriously - it is crucial for the insurance companies' future and, above all, for the survival of customers and the next generation. Now Folksam is moving both our and other industries forward - because if you measure something, it will be done. Then it becomes focus” says Karin Stenmar.

Folksam has been at the forefront and driven social development in the past with issues such as gender equality in the business community, environmental aspects in injury regulation and the importance of injury prevention measures to create security for customers.

It reports both direct and indirect emissions. The goal for its own operations has been set up in a scientific way, to ensure that the long-term goal of net zero emissions can be achieved in 2030. At a general level, it is about supporting the Paris Agreement's ambition to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“In the outcome for the first quarter of the year, it looks good - we reduce emissions from our own operations by 14% compared to the 2019 figure. That's a lot because of the travel restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, but not only because the most important thing is that we have a long-term trend that shows that we will achieve our goals”, says Karin Stenmar.

Folksam are one of the founding members of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. Together with some of the world’s largest pension funds and insurers, it has committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In March, Emilie Westholm, Head of Responsible Investments, participated in an ICMIF webinar on Responsible investing to drive action on climate change. In this webinar, Emile shared Folksam’s Sustainable investing and responsible asset ownership journey, from incorporating and prioritising ESG issues into all investment decisions, to becoming a global leader in green bonds and an influential advocate for climate-smart finance which is driving action on climate change.