Following the success in reducing our carbon footprint per employee by 10% across the Group between 2007 and 2013, Zurich set itself a new target to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2020. This target was achieved four years early in 2016. This reduction was achieved by ensuring our new offices were built to the highest environmental specification, increasing the use of ‘green’ energy, increasing energy efficiency standards in owned buildings, improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet and raising employee awareness. In addition, effective utilization of video and telephone conferencing capabilities has reduced air travel, leading to a reduction in carbon and CO2 emissions.
In the UK our use of green electricity (generated by wind, water, waves and biomass) has dramatically increased since 2005, with 100% of owned buildings now totally powered by green electricity. We encourage the landlords of our leased accommodation to do the same.
To help reduce our energy consumption, we have started to implement a number of initiatives including:
- Introducing more efficient lighting, utilising intelligent controls, movement detectors and replacing lighting with more efficient lamps where possible
- Replacing old air conditioning equipment and boilers with newer, more efficient systems
- Reviewing the lighting controls and heating and cooling plants at each building so that they only operate during office hours
- Pre-determining the heating controls to maintain a building temperature of 22°c, ±2°c
- Requiring all building and engineering projects to include a sustainability case.
We are delighted that in 2016 our emissions were down by 19%, compared to 2015. Zurich is carbon neutral, reaching the milestone at the end of 2014 through our internal carbon emissions reduction efforts and by using a forestry project in Indonesia to offset emissions that cannot be eliminated.
Plans for 2017
We will continue to measure the size and shape of the UK’s carbon footprint as well as leading various initiatives seeking to shrink the footprint still further. In particular we will be focusing on our registration and compliance with the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and ensuring on-going compliance with the EPB Directive, both of which will help further improve our energy performance.