Last month, ICMIF member Unipol Group (Italy) announced that it has joined the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, making it the seventh ICMIF member organisation to join the Alliance.
The Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance is an international group of 73 institutional investors with USD 10.6 trillion in assets under management, delivering on a bold commitment to transition their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Following the signature of the Principles for Responsible Investment in 2017, joining the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance represents a further step for the Unipol Group in integrating environmental, social and governance factors in its investment decisions and in emphasising the social role of insurance and in its potential to contribute to sustainable development and to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement.” said Matteo Laterza, Managing Director, Unipol Group.
Unipol joins six other ICMIF members* that are part of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance: Folksam (Sweden) and ICMIF Supporting Member Swiss Re – both of which were founding members of the Alliance; Co-operators (Canada); Maif (France); African Risk Capacity (ARC); and HUK-Coburg.
Unipol reports an increase in sustainable investments in 2021 – but sets out ambitious targets in next 3-year strategic plan
The Unipol Group has long taken a systematic approach to steer investment of its financial assets towards ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria of responsibility and protection. At the end of 2021, assets subject to monitoring in accordance with ESG criteria amounted to EUR 51.9 billion (83% of the total assets under management).
Investments that support the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development grew by a total of 41% in 2021, amounting to EUR 862 million. Among these, investments supporting the tackling of climate change and protecting biodiversity grew by 50%. The EUR 600 million target for investments to support the 2030 Agenda as set out by the Strategic Plan for the end of 2021 had therefore already been achieved by 2020 and exceeded.
The main areas of investment include renewable energy, digital networks and sustainable mobility. The Group also issued its first Green Bonds in 2020 for a total amount of EUR 1 billion in accordance with its Green Bond Framework published in September 2020. As at 31 December 2021, income allocated to refinancing or financing projects that are in line with the criteria defined in the Green Bond Framework amounted to EUR 550.6 million.
Joining the Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance was announced alongside a number of other sustainability targets and ESG commitments that form part of Unipol Group’s new 2022-2024 strategic plan “Opening New Ways”.
By 2024, Unipol targets to have:
- 30% of products with environmental and social value;
- EUR 1.3bn investments in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- Reputation score higher than average in the insurance sector (according to RepTrak® methodology);
- 20% of the Unipol management incentive system linked to ESG targets.
The group also announced it will contribute towards achievement of the SDGs. More specifically:
- Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being: through development of the health products taking a life-cycle approach, identifying proposals that respond to the changing needs of both individuals and society over time.
- Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: with enrichment of the property offer in a synergic, integrated way, offering services that reliably support homeowners taking a responsible approach to critical supply chains.
- Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: through a sustainable motor insurance approach that promotes behaviour that will help support the Paris Agreement targets.
- Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production: through environmental qualification of the claims management process with a view to the circular economy and increasing the ESG component in life products.
- Goal 13 – Climate Action: through a strategy that confirms how the group deals with climate-related risks and opportunities, contributing to achievement of the Paris Agreement target to limit global warming to 1.5°C with reduction of direct and indirect impacts and by joining the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
Unipol is one of the biggest insurance groups in Europe and the leading company in Italy in the non-life insurance sector, (especially in motor liability and health business), with total premiums of EUR 13.3 billion, of which EUR 7.9 billion in non-life and EUR 5.4 billion in life (2021 figures). Unipol adopts an integrated offer strategy and covers the entire range of insurance and financial products, operating primarily through the subsidiary UnipolSai Assicurazioni. The Group is also active in direct motor insurance (Linear Assicurazioni), transport and aviation insurance (Siat), health insurance (UniSalute), supplementary pensions and it also covers the bancassurance channel (Arca Vita, Arca Assicurazioni and Incontra).
As one of ICMIF’s founding members, Unipol Group will be the host of the ICMIF Centenary Conference (25-28 October 2022) in Rome, Italy: the city where ICMIF was founded 100 years ago. The topic of sustainability will be a core theme on the agenda during the plenary sessions and breakout discussions, with sessions looking at embedding the SDGs and the transition to net zero.
In the lead up to the Conference, ICMIF is hosting a number of centenary webinars throughout 2022 that highlight the range of topics that will be discussed in Rome. ICMIF recently hosted one of these webinars on “The road to net zero” in which leaders from Folksam and Co-operators – members of Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance – shared insights and learnings to help other ICMIF members in their own journey to transition to net zero. The recording of this webinar, along with a transcription, are available for ICMIF members to access via this link or the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.
*Aviva plc, the parent company of ICMIF Supporting Member Aviva Investors, is also a member of the Alliance; and Achmea (Netherlands) is a member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA). For a full overview of the ICMIF members that have made net zero comittments or signed global principles, download the ICMIF Members Sustainable Investment Report 2021.