MANAGING IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The global spotlight on environmental impact and behaviour has significant implications for a short-term insurance business, both in terms of the expectations and perceptions of our stakeholders and in terms of real business risks and opportunities. We recognise that environmental impact spans a number of issues, including water scarcity, emissions, waste and biodiversity. However, an issue that has dominated the headlines over the past year relates to climate change and the increasing climate risks.
We recognise that climate change has long-term direct and indirect implications for our business, supply chain, employees, clients and intermediaries. We also understand that insurers have more incentives than other industries to catalyse global action on climate change. As a consequence we believe that every business unit within Santam has a responsibility and a role to play in responding to the threats posed by climate change and in contributing to constructive initiatives and solutions within their own spheres of influence including:
- Promoting a mitigation focus through reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a result of our direct and indirect environmental impacts,
- Promoting an adaptation focus by emphasising the importance of total climate risk management as a means to reduce the threats of climate change, and
- Using our experience and expertise and leveraging our spheres of influence to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, particularly through the sharing of resources with appropriate partners and clients.
Santam recognises that integrating environmental stewardship into our business requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted policy, supported by clearly defined values, commitments and implementation plans, which we have compiled and introduced to the business.
Santam will, to the best of its practical ability, actively strive to run its business activities and operations in a manner that:
- Is caring and respectful toward people and planet whilst equally respecting the need for company profitability,
- Balances our short-term needs against the long-term consequences of our actions,
- Recognises that the health and well-being of human beings are dependent upon the healthy functioning of earth’s eco-systems, and
- Recognises that the long-term profitability and efficiency of our business are dependent on and enhanced by ensuring the healthy functioning of our society and environment.
Santam will, to the best of its practical ability, avoid engaging in, supporting or investing in activities that:
- Reduce the ability of future generations to meet their needs,
- Are detrimental to human dignity or the well-being of society,
- Reduce the health and functional well-being of the earth’s eco-systems and ecological services, and
- Utilise earth’s natural resources in a wasteful or unsustainable manner
Wherever it is viable and appropriate to do so, Santam business units will introduce environmental policy implementation plans that:
- Have objectives and targets specifically tailored to their particular operations,
- Are sensitive to local cultures, customs and circumstances,
- Monitor and report openly and regularly against key performance indicators, and
- Are annually reviewed and updated to ensure their appropriateness.
Santam is directly affected by increasing climate risks. As part of our strategic planning cycle, we performed an ‘environmental scan’ of the insurance industry, which showed that the local insurance industry and its extended participants were neither prepared for the risks presented by climate change nor for the opportunities presented by a ‘green economy’. It was determined that the speed of the switch to a greener economy will be a key influence in our future short-term insurance sector.
We recognise that through our experience and expertise in risk management, we are well qualified and have a strong role to play in assisting our clients, suppliers and other stakeholders to reduce their environmental impacts and manage their exposure to environmental risks.
Our approach - click to view text
What we did during 2009 - click to view text
Our aspirations for 2010 - click to view text
We believe that by adopting a stewardship position and pursuing environmental best-practice principles, we can enhance our business efficiency and advance our commercial interests whilst positively contributing to a healthy environment. Santam’s environmental policy applies to all Santam business units and includes the manner in which we manage our properties, investments and procurement processes.