The Santam Group has been a proud member of ClimateWise since 2009, and as South Africa’s leading short-term insurer, was the first African insurer to mobilise the industry in response to increasing climate and weather risks, and has since been joined by Sanlam, our parent company.

We recognise that climate change poses serious risks to the stability and quality of human society and the global economy. We are committed to demonstrating our leadership in the South African short-term insurance sector through our membership by incorporating the seven ClimateWise principles in our business and decision-making. This is demonstrated in our 2020 Integrated Report and our public Climate Change Positioning Statement.

Through our membership, we are committed to demonstrate our leadership in the South African short-term insurance sector by incorporating the seven ClimateWise principles in our business and decision-making. This is demonstrated in our 2019 Integrated Report and our public Climate Change Positioning Statement.  

Our approach to addressing climate change-related risks focuses on adaptation efforts through partnerships with various stakeholders to understand climate-related risks, knowledge sharing, and enhance community risk resilience. We work with relevant industry bodies, local and international research organisations, UNEP FI[1]’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance and the South African National Business Initiative to move climate change mitigation and adaption, with broader Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) efforts forward. This includes collaborations with other insurers, businesses and the government. As a leading short-term insurer, we use our experience in climate-related weather events to contribute to efforts to better understand and manage climate-related impacts.

We are pleased to present a summary of the progress report listing our actions over the year 1 January to 31 December 2020 against the ClimateWise principles.


Principle 1: Be accountable

Ensure that the organisation's Board is working to incorporate the Principles into business strategy and has oversight of climate risks and opportunities


The Board of Santam Ltd and subsidiaries (hereafter referred to as Santam Group) sub-committee for Social, Ethics & Sustainability (SESCO) is responsible for assisting the Board with oversight of social and ethical matters relating to the Group. The SESCO is governed by its Charter as recommended by the corporate governance code in South Africa applicable to all JSE listed entities.

The SESCO oversees the Group’s ESG related disclosures, including the Group’s ClimateWise performance, which is included in the Group’s SESCO Charter

Santam Group Board

Santam Group’s Board has oversight of all ESG-related matters, including climate-related issues and disclosures. In addition to the SESCO, the Board is assisted by additional subcommittees in discharging its duties of overseeing the Group’s ESG performance, including climate-related risks and opportunities. These include the Group Investment Committee and the Group Risk Committee.

The Group Investment Committee is responsible for evaluating the Group’s investment portfolio as well as the performance of investment managers. The committee assists the Board’s oversight of the Group’s responsible investment practices promoting good governance and the creation of value by the companies in which Santam invests.

The Risk Committee of the Board assists the Board in fulfilling its governance duties from a risk and control perspective including compliance and risk management responsibilities. The committee is responsible for identifying, evaluating and effectively managing all significant risks, including enterprise risk which includes climate risk. The committee ensures that Enterprise Risk Management analyses the group’s top inherent risks, which include climate-related extreme weather events.

Looking forward

In 2021, the Group Strategy Unit held a TCFD training for the Santam Group Executive committee and the Group Board to ensure that both the Exco and the Board understand and support the Group’s alignment with TCFD (see appendix C for the training presentation). The Executives, assisted by the Strategy Unit sponsored a board resolution towards TCFD compliance. We are proud to announce that post the TCFD training the Group Board adopted the TCFD recommendations. An update on the Group’s alignment with the TCFD will be shared on the next reporting cycle. Furthermore, the Group has publicly signed up to support the TCFD.

Describe management's (below board-level responsibility) role in assessing and managing climate-related issues

The Group CEO and her executive teams (Exco), in particular the Chief Risk Officer and as well as the Group Strategy Unit in the CEO’s office are responsible for assessing climate-related issues. Climate change is embedded in the Group’s FutureFit strategy.

The strategy has been translated into key performance indicators and collated on a Group FutureFit dashboard. The CEO and the Exco is responsible for the implementation of the FutureFit strategy and report progress to the Board on a quarterly basis. The Group’s ClimateWise performance, and the FTSE Russell’s ESG rating, are included in the dashboard as key performance indicators. These are also presented to and assessed by the Exco on a regular, at least annual, basis.

The Santam Group Strategy Unit, located in the office of the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) monitors and tracks progress with the FutureFit strategy and compiles the quarterly dashboard and annual ClimateWise and FTSE Russel returns. The Unit is also responsible for the contextual environmental scanning (socio-ecological as well as competitive environments).

The Group’s Chief Risk Officer (an Exco member) supports the Board Committee in fulfilling its governance and executing its risk management responsibilities. This role entails identifying, evaluating and effectively managing all significant risks. The Chief Risk Officer is assisted by a team consisting of a business integrity officer, enterprise risk management officer, and a financial risk management officer who contribute to climate risk-related work. The Group’s is now considering how to embed climate risk in the business and align with TCFD.

The Group’s Chief Financial Officer (an Exco member and Board member) is responsible for the oversight of the Group’s Investment Management, with the assistance of an investment officer. He is also responsible for managing the Group’s relationship with investors and analysts concerning their ESG-related concerns, which include climate risk. He is assisted by an investor relations officer.

The Group Sourcing executive (an Exco member) is responsible for group sourcing and facilities, ensuring that there is resource efficiency in the Group’s facilities, and ensuring that sustainability, including climate risk, is part and parcel of the Santam supply chain management and Santam claims value chain processes.

Principle 2: Incorporate climate-related issues into our strategies and investment

Refer to principle 1 for an overview of the Group’s corporate governance and risk management processes, which shows how climate change, as part of the material matters of the Group, is considered for business performance, investments and key stakeholders.

Evaluate the implications of climate change for business performance (including investments) and key stakeholders

Multi-stakeholder climate risk: Data and Modelling for Africa workshop

Santam Group together with CENFRI, FSDAfrica, UKAid and InsuResilience conducted a climate risk brainstorming workshop for underwriters, climate and risk data experts, development partners and city governments to focus on how to address Flood risk in urban cities.

Market events

In March 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme Principles of Sustainable Insurance (UNEP PSI) 3rd Annual African Market Event was held at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, co-hosted by Zimnat and Santam Group. The purpose of the event was to bring together leading practitioners and thinkers within the African risk management and insurance ‘ecosystem’ to share experiences and ideas that can grow a resilient, sustainable, responsible and profitable African insurance sector. The agenda points included resilient Cities, narrowing the risk protection gap, and the food system & agriculture.

This session resolved to continue driving sustainable insurance practices with a strong focus on ESG in underwriting and climate risk scenario frameworks.

Group Climate Change Position Statement

As a signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a member of ClimateWise, Santam Group takes climate change seriously. Santam Group has a Climate Change Position Statement which highlights the impact of climate change on our business and our plan to understand climate-related risks. The position statement is aligned with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures recommendations, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Group’s Own Risk & Solvency Assessment (ORSA)

The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) team is responsible for evaluating the implications of climate-related risks for business performance. See principle 1.1 for how Santam Group is identifying and integrating climate-related risks in the climate change extracts of the ORSA report.

Group ESG Performance

Contribution to the PSI ESG guide for non-life insurance

Santam Group’s underwriters contributed to the Principles of Sustainable Insurance (PSI) ESG guide for non-life insurance business, which was released in June 2020 by the UNEP FI’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance. The Group’s underwriters contributed to the guide, which will now be considered when the Group’s refreshes its risk appetite. It provides guidelines for supporting decision-making on a range of ESG issues, including climate change.

Climate Risk Assessment Framework

Santam Group has been working on a climate risk assessment framework to assist with the understanding of the impact of climate change on our business and stakeholders and inform our decision-making process. The exercise aims to stress test climate risk according to the TCFD principles, and assess business opportunities emerging from climate change-related changes in the business environment. The exercise is still ongoing.

ESG Performance Rating

The Group is also working on improving its overall ESG performance, which is assessed by the ratings agency (FTSE Russell) as part of the annual review process. The Group’s ESG performance score improved from 4.5 in 2019 to 4.7 in 2020, and the percentile ranking improved from 89 to 99, meaning that the Group is in the top 1% of all participants. The Group Strategy Unit conducted a gap analysis to identify the indicators where the Group does not currently score points in the FTSE Russell rating system, and we are working on addressing these gaps. We are working on improving our climate change performance on the FTSE rating through the ongoing Climate Risk Analysis framework In addition to the Group’s aforementioned ESG performance, the implications of climate change for business performance are further evaluated and disclosed in our annual CDP return in partnership with Sanlam Group, Santam’s parent company.

ESG engagement workshop

In October 2020 Santam hosted ESG engagement workshops with the Group’s business units and subsidiaries, to discuss the Group’s ESG performance, including climate-related performance as per the FTSE Russell assessment. The session identified gaps in the Group’s ESG performance and how these would be addressed.

Measure and disclose the implications of climate-related issues for business performance (including investments) and key stakeholders

Santam Group currently measures and discloses performance on climate-related issues as follows:

  • Annual ClimateWise report is made public and discloses performance against the principles. The Group’s ClimateWise performance improved from 50% to 68%. The strengths in our performance include governance structure for climate-related issues, the inclusion of the ClimateWise principles into the SESco Charter, embedding climate change in in the FutureFit strategy, and collaborating with other stakeholders for climate action.
  • Annual CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) return in partnership with Sanlam Group, Santam’s parent company, discloses the carbon and water footprint of Group. The Group’s CDP performance improved from a score of B in 2019 to A- in 2020. A score of B is in the management band, reflecting that we take coordinated action on climate issues, and a score of A- is in the leadership band, indicating that we are demonstrating strategic best practice.
  • Annual FTSE Russell ratings against key ESG performance areas: See the response to principle 2.1 on the Group’s ESG performance rating.

Santam Group’s Risk Register and ORSA

Santam Group’s ORSA acknowledges climate-related risks facing the Group, and highlights the Groups response to climate change, as well as the Group’s progress in aligning with the TCFD recommendation.

Update on the newsletter publications on weather, climate and agricultural conditions for 2020

Santam Group’s meteorologist provided information with regards to all climate issues, including climate change to clients. One specific example was for the pecan nut industry in the Northern Cape. Climate change trends in terms of temperature were analysed and information presented at an information day at Prieska in the Northern Cape where about 180 farmers attended. The meteorologist also published 38 weekly short climate-related communications and held several radio talks.

Looking forward

The Group participates in the industry led TCFD working group, South African Insurance Association (SAIA) and as well as independent advisory group on Financial Sector ESG & Climate Risk Analytics.

Incorporate the material outcomes of climate risk scenarios into business (and investment) decision-making

Santam is at the beginning stages of assessing and understanding the potential impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the group’s strategy and financial planning (see appendix E). During 2020, in collaboration with experts the Group developed a Climate Risk Scenario analysis framework in line with TCFD recommendations. The starting point of the scenario framework is to consider climate change physical impacts (e.g. increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and more frequent or intense droughts, floods, and storms) for South Africa over a 10 year and 30 year time horizon.

 Santam Group also elected to follow a contingency preparedness scenario planning paradigm, which rests on the creation of a set of future scenarios that the organisation may face, which is then linked to the organisation’s planning activities by considering plausible futures and identifying potential and credible unfolding of events that may impact the business to inform decision-making at different levels in the business.

Looking forward

In 2021, the climate risk scenario exploration work will now for part of the broader TCFD rollout plan. The progress will be shared in 2021 report. Further, Group is in the process of preparing its first TCFD report, this will be published in 2022, alongside the 2021 annual integrated report.

Principle 3. Lead in the identification, understanding and managment of climate risk

Ensure processes for identifying, assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities are integrated within the organisation (including investments)

Climate-related risks

Santam Group’s Enterprise Risk Management team identified top risks for the Group’s risk thermometer, and climate risk is rated 5th. Various drivers have been identified when assessing the top risks. These include growth, claims ratios, expenses, investment income, capital and operational.

Santam Group, alongside Sanlam set greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction target for scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions, focusing on energy, water, waste and paper reduction targets. The GHG reduction targets are available in our CDP report.

Climate-related opportunities: Specialist underwriting

Santam Group’s Specialist Business portfolio covers large and complex risks in niche market segments of business in South Africa, rest of Africa and in other emerging markets. This business is conducted through an underwriting management agency business model. Two of the underwriting managers, namely Mirabilis our specialist engineering underwriter and Emerald our specialist corporate property underwriter, provide insurance cover for the renewable energy sector.

Mirabilis is the largest engineering underwriter in Africa and has in-depth expertise, experience and understanding of engineering insurance, in particular large project risk. They insure a number of renewable energy projects throughout South Africa, the rest of Africa, and international projects.

Emerald is a leading provider of corporate property and associated engineering insurance products on the African continent.  It offers solution driven insurance products to corporate policyholders throughout Africa, including the Indian Ocean Islands and internationally in the Middle East, as well as the South-Central, Eastern and South-East Asian regions. They also provide insurance cover for various renewable energy projects in South African and throughout the African continent.

Climate-related opportunities: Crop insurance

Santam Group provides crop insurance to farmers which acts as a hedge against climate, environmental and other risks. Financial settlements for weather damage not only made it possible for growers to continue their livelihoods, but also help stabilise the region's food supply. To underwrite these agricultural policies, Santam uses its risk assessment expertise and decades of weather-related data to estimate the frequency of major weather events.

Santam Resilient Fund

Santam Group has a Santam Resilient Investment Fund (SRI), which targets investments in companies that address environmental, social or governance needs, specifically those that reduce long term systemic risks to Santam’s business. Through the SRI, the Group incorporates climate change into the cluster’s business strategy and planning.  The SRI invests into unlisted credit opportunities that address ESG issues through providing loans. The fund deploys capital with the intention of generating social and environmental impact alongside a competitive financial return. The Fund has to date focused largely on investment opportunities including those that promote clean/green and affordable energy. As at December 2020 the fund amounted to R125 million. The fund is managed by Sanlam Investments.

Support and undertake research and development to inform current business strategies (including investments) on adapting to and mitigating climate-related issues

Santam’s P4RR Programme

Santam Group has a Partnership for Risk Resilience (P4RR) Programme, which brings together our proactive risk management activities in municipalities, our CSI spend, stakeholder relations functions and sustainability initiatives, and is fully aligned with the ‘Help Build Resilient Societies’ theme of Santam’s FutureFit strategy. Through P4RR, the Emthunzini Community Trust invests in risk reducing interventions that are managed by Santam and other willing partners, such as the South African Special Risk Insurance (SASRIA). The objective of P4RR is to strengthen the institutional and participatory development capacity of local municipalities to proactively reduce the impact of fire and flood disaster events. Ultimately our efforts helps to contribute to climate adaption efforts. We do this by assisting service delivery and providing support to local government infrastructure, economic development, and governance.

BSR Collaborative Initiative: Value Chain Risk to Resilience

Santam Group is a member of BSR’s Value Chain to Resilience initiative. This initiative aims to increase the ability to diagnose physical climate risks and the understanding, adoption, and implementation of climate resilience measures throughout corporate value chains to deliver both societal and business value. Santam’s aim in this initiative is to be able assess climate risks along the value chains, implement the TCFD recommendations on governance and enterprise risk management (ERM) and use output, outcome, and impact metrics to measure climate resilience. BSR is a global nonprofit organisation that works with its network of more than 250 companies to build a just and sustainable world.

Principle 4. Reduce the environmental impact of our business

Encourage our suppliers to improve the environmental sustainability of their products and services, and understand the implications these have on our business

Santam Supply Chain Management

Santam Group is working towards ensuring that sustainability, including climate risk, is part and parcel of the Santam supply chain management and Santam claims value chain processes. To ensure that suppliers meet the requirements of the selection criteria, high level Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) criteria are incorporated into ‘Site Evaluation’ questionnaires and are either verified by means of a physical site evaluation (vehicle part suppliers, motor body repairers) or by means of electronic photographs (for example glass fitment centres). As part of the SHE criteria, manufacturers are required to be ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems) certified.

In addition, the Santam Quality Service and Compliance unit work with supplier selection criteria guidance to encourage suppliers (e.g. Plumbing and building contractors, and Incident Managers) to meet the selection criteria and agreements.

The Group started a project with the International Forum on Sustainable Value Chains (ISVC) and Golden for Impact Foundation to assess our supply chain sustainability on motor and property suppliers.

Disclose our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions and Scope 3 GHG emissions using a globally recognised standard

Santam's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions

Santam's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting is done using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard methodology. 

Measure and seek to reduce the environmental impacts of the internal operations and physical assets under our control

Santam’s environmental initiatives

Santam’s facilities team manages and measures the environmental impact of the Group’s facilities through energy, water use, and waste management, which are then reported to Sanlam Group, our majority shareholder. The Sanlam Group (including Santam’s facilities) manages and reports its emissions using the operational control approach, which requires a company to account for its emissions by entities and activities under the organisation’s the direct control.

As part of metrics and targets setting, Santam Group measures its internal environmental performance by monitoring consumption patterns such as energy, water, waste, and recycling through an internal IT system. The Group’s facilities that are monitored for environmental performance include Santam Head Office, Santam Auckland Park, Santam Garsfontein, Santam Alice Lane, and Santam Glacier. Santam also tracks some material scope 3 emissions.

Looking forward

In 2021, the Group reviewed and updated its environmental targets in partnership with Sanlam Group for the period 2021 to 2025. This is in line with the Santam’s FutureFit strategy.

Engage our employees on our commitment to address climate change, helping them to play their role in meeting this commitment in the workplace and encouraging them to make climate-informed choices outside work

Santam Employee and Client Climate Change Awareness

Santam Group published a climate change-related article for our employees and clients to create awareness on climate change and the role of insurers in climate resilience efforts. Climate change poses a significant risk to the global economy.  The insurance industry actively insures the economy against unpredictable events and has a history of helping society understand and adapt to emerging risks, therefore, they are best placed to play a leading role in addressing the impacts of climate change. The article published by Santam highlights these factors and the industry’s role in evaluating the potential impact of climate change-related risks and adopting the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations by raising the profile of climate risks.

In October 2020 Santam Strategy Unit hosted ESG engagement workshops with the Group’s business units and subsidiaries, to discuss the Group’s ESG performance, including climate-risk assessment as per the FTSE Russell assessment. The session identified gaps in the Group’s ESG performance and how these would need to be addressed.

Looking forward

TCFD Training

As part of employee engagement, in 2021, the Group Strategy Unit engaged with the Group Executive committee and the Group Board, training them on the TCFD recommendations to ensure that they understand and support the Group’s alignment with TCFD. Further details on the outcome of the training will be shared in the next reporting cycle.

ESG engagement session

In May 2021, the Santam Strategy Unity hosted an ESG engagement session that discussed the ESG global trends, including climate risk and the Group’s response to the TCFD recommendations.

Principle 5. Inform public policy making

Promote and actively engage in public debate on climate-related issues and the need for action. Work with policy makers locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to help them develop and maintain an economy that is resilient to climate risk

The Group contributed commentary on the drafting of the Draft Technical Paper on Financing a Sustainable Economy, as a framework for financial institutions to better disclose public information on their green practices and investments. The objective of the Draft Technical Paper is to enable the assessment of how financial institutions are taking account of climate change and other environmental and social risks.

The Group’s contribution supported the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), a representative body of the short-term insurance industry, in drafting some sections of the technical paper.

Prudential Authority Event

Santam Group took part in the Prudential Authority event in March 2020, to discuss the South African general insurance industry level. The conversation included the global insurance perspectives as per ClimateWise and the UNEP Finance Initiative Principles for Sustainable Insurance. 

Support and undertake research on climate change to inform our business strategies and help to protect our customers’ and other stakeholders’ interests. Where appropriate, share this research with scientists, society, business, governments and NGOs in order to advance a common interest

United Nations’ Principle of Sustainable Insurance

In March 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme Principles of Sustainable Insurance (UNEP PSI) 3rd Annual African Market Event was held at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, co-hosted by Zimnat and Santam Group. The purpose of the event was to bring together leading practitioners and thinkers within the African risk management and insurance ‘ecosystem’ to share experiences and ideas that can grow a resilient, sustainable, responsible and profitable African insurance sector.

This session resolved to continue driving sustainable insurance practices with a strong focus on ESG in underwriting and climate risk scenario frameworks. It further agreed to engage with policy makers with the aim to enable sustainable business for smallholder farmers, insurers, financiers and other role players.

C40 Community of Practice workshop

Santam Group participated in the South African C40 Community of Practice (CoP) online workshop to discuss stakeholder climate-related action and sharing lessons. The workshop also covered the impact of Covid-19 on climate action and the lesson to be taken from the responses to the pandemic. The objective of the workshop was to help the Group understand the impact of climate change on our business and stakeholders in the short, medium and long-term; and inform our decision-making and next steps.

Prudential Authority TCFD Research

The South African Prudential Authority has been engaging with insurers, asking questions regarding insurers’ action plans that relate to the changing environment, and encouraging insurers to align with the TCFD recommendations. Santam assisted the prudential authority by sharing progress update on the Group’s efforts to align with the TCFD recommendations.

Principle 6. Support climate awareness amongst our customers/clients

Communicate our beliefs and strategy on climate-related issues to our customers/ clients

Our climate-related issues are shared on our annual CDP report which is publicly available to our clients on the CDP website. Our CDP report discloses our climate change risks and opportunities.

Santam’s Group Strategy Unit and Agri team have supported an online course with Yale University, the Natural Capital Course, for a number of years. The Santam crop insurance case study forms part of the course material and assignment work for a distance learning MBA. The Yale course developers consider crop insurance in a developing world context as an excellent illustrative example of how climate change can affect businesses and stakeholders, and therefore offers it as part of the compulsory assignment material for their global online MBA student audience in a case study format. Two Santam employees (the Head of the Group Strategy Unit and the Head of Agri Business Development) were guest lecturers on this course held in April 2020. 

Inform our customers/ clients of climate-related risk and provide support and tools so that they can assess their own levels of risk

Santam Agri Business: Silage competition and drought risk

Santam Group assists farmers with climate related risks management through sponsoring a national agriculture silage competition annually to contribute towards the promotion of good silage practices. The competition is meant to assist farmers to adapt to climate-related risks such as drought. Silage is the production of animal feed using compacted maize, forage sorghum and oats. Climate change is altering weather patterns, water distribution and availability leading to ecosystem disruption and extreme weather events. This is expected to have an impact on agriculture. Therefore, good silage practice allows for the safe storage of animal feed thus providing a buffer to extreme weather events such as extended droughts

Santam Group communicates climate-risk initiatives with clients through broker communication shared by the Group’s Executive Head of Commercial & Personal (C&P). In 2020 the Head of C&P shared communication on impact of climate-related catastrophic events on the business, and the Group’s risk management initiatives.

Principle 7. Enhance reporting

Submission against the ClimateWise Principles

ClimateWise progress

Santam group’s ClimateWise progress report has been included on the Santam website to highlight to our stakeholders and investors how we are aligning our group activities with the ClimateWise principles.

The impact of climate-related risks is also disclosed in our Integrated Report as part of the risk disclosure process conducted by the ERM team and the Group’s risk register.

Public disclosure of the ClimateWise Principles as part of our annual reporting

Climate Risk Disclosure

Santam Group’s work against the ClimateWise principles is available on our website. Our ClimateWise disclosure is also reported on our United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (UNEP FI PSI) progress report.

Santam Group’s work against the ClimateWise principles is also highlighted in the Group’s Integrated Report where we give an update on our ClimateWise response and rating, as well as well as our efforts to align with the TCFD recommendations through responding to the ClimateWise principles.

Santam Group’s Social, Environmental, and Sustainability (SES) charter was updated to include the updated ClimateWise principles and the Group’s efforts to align with the principles.