UNIQA Group informed that is the first insurance company in Austria to have ambitious targets to reduce emissions confirmed by Science Based Targets initiative.
Insurance plays a key role in mitigating further global warming and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The sector manages around €11 trln in Europe alone.
The green transformation of the European economy can only succeed if this money is invested in companies that operate sustainably.
In addition to the investment portfolio, the interim targets place particular emphasis on UNIQA’s business ecology, which focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from heating or vehicles, but also includes electricity or district heating.
UNIQA also has a clear roadmap for divesting from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
The company is already no longer making any new investments in coal or oil, and no new business is being written in corporate customers’ property insurance (oil from 2024).
The requirements within the framework of the UNIQA transformation plan are becoming more stringent. Among other things, this also means the end of oil and coal for existing investments or insurance cover for corporate customers by 2030.
SBTi is a partnership between the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resource Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The initiative defines and promotes targets based on scientific findings and independently verifies these targets set by companies.
We are aware of our responsibility and have set ourselves ambitious targets: net zero emissions by 2040 in Austria and by 2050 in all UNIQA Group countriesRene Knapp, Management Board Member for People, Brand & Sustainability at UNIQA Insurance Group AG
“We have set science-based Paris-compliant 1.5°C interim targets for 2030 based on the SBTi framework and also engage with legislators, customers and the companies we invest in. Our investment portfolio is therefore consistently aligned with the 1.5°C Paris target,” explained Rene Knapp.
UNIQA is the only Austrian insurance company whose interim targets have been successfully validated. There is also currently no other company in the entire Austrian financial sector whose 1.5°C interim targets have been recognised by SBTi.
These science-based targets are based on a simple principle: they focus on the amount of emissions that must be reduced in order to achieve the central aim of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
We are acting in accordance with scientific findings and principles to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud that UNIQA’s science-based reduction targets have been verified and confirmed by SBTi
This external validation by a renowned institution also strengthens the credibility of UNIQA’s action and public confidence.
The main aim of the SBTi is to enable companies to set ambitious and meaningful carbon reduction targets in line with the latest climate science. It seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and aims for efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
The financial sector is key to reducing emissions globally. We congratulate UNIQA Insurance Group on setting science-based targets that cover not only their operational emissions, but also their investment portfolioLuiz Amaral, Chief Executive Officer of the Science Based Targets initiative
“UNIQA Insurance Group’s targets come at a pivotal moment for the sector, and demonstrate the urgent action necessary to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change.”
Companies participating in the SBTi commit to setting science-based emission reduction targets. These targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they align with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The SBTi provides companies with tools and guidance to set their targets. This includes sector-specific methodologies, allowing businesses from various industries to set tailored and realistic goals.
To reduce its own ecological footprint, UNIQA is taking appropriate action in the area of business ecology.
The commissioning of the new photovoltaic system on the roof of UNIQA headquarters in summer 2023 – the largest ever on a UNIQA company building – is a major milestone: thanks to its output of 125 kWp, it will be able to generate 100,000 kWh of electricity per year in future. This corresponds to the annual consumption of around 30 households and will avoid emissions of around 21 tonnes of CO2 in total.
Targets proposed by companies are independently assessed and validated by the SBTi’s team of experts to ensure they are in line with its stringent criteria. This validation adds credibility to the companies’ commitments and actions.
The SBTi continually updates its criteria and methodologies to reflect the most current scientific understanding and to drive more ambitious corporate climate action.
by Yana Keller