Swiss Re underlines business call for climate action and a "comprehensive and solid agreement" at COP

18 November 2015

Mark Way, Head of Sustainability in the Americas for Swiss Re

LONDON: “We need progress in the climate area, and that progress will clearly not happen without the full support of the private sector,” says Mark Way, Head of Sustainability in the Americas for Swiss Re, speaking in an exclusive interview for The Climate Group's Climate TV, on the importance of the business voice in climate action. 

“RE100 represents a wonderful vehicle to demonstrate support and actually start putting in place a series of measures that will reduce the carbon emissions of many corporates around the planet”, Mark Way says in the video. “That’s the aim – to attract as many corporates as we can and send a very clear message to policy makers that we want to see action.”

Swiss Re is one of the founding partners of The Climate Group's project RE100 and has a target to be 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2020. The campaign brings together innovative businesses that are putting sustainability at the core of their business plans. Now with 41 corporate partners, RE100 showcases thecompelling business case for transitioning to renewable electricity and is helping to drive the demand for renewables across the globe.

“The companies that are preparing for that [low carbon economy] and building it into their strategies are going to be the ones who benefit the most – there is a big opportunity for new products, new services, new investment opportunities”, says the Swiss Re sustainability expert, highlighting that forward-thinking businesses are reaping both social and economic benefits when they take action against climate change. “The shift to a low carbon economy offers numerous opportunities, it’s just a question of identifying them.”

MANAGING RISK

In the interview, Mark Way underlines the unique role that re-insurance companies like Swiss RE have in seizing the opportunity to "enhance resilience" to climate change impacts. “What we are about as a company is helping our clients manage risk, it’s as simple as that. We help them understand that risk and help them identify what kind of measures could be taken to best manage it.”

Spotlighting the growing renewables markets around the world, he explains: “Renewable energy is a relatively new technology – it has a different risk to profile and different challenges. If we can help people manage those risks better then we hopefully can spark something new and make those projects more attractive as investment targets, so in that way we have a positive impact as well.”

PARIS CLIMATE TALKS

In the final weeks before the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, Mark Way notes the role businesses must play in international policymaking. “It has always been important that the business community speaks out on this topic. I think in the past it hasn’t been heard as much as it could have been, but now is the time. [...] We want to see action from the policymakers, we want a comprehensive and solid agreement.

The business playing field has changed. We know it’s changing but we need to see that evidence coming out of organizations like UNFCCC to really make it clear that we have taken a decision to make a move in a new direction. That’s what we need to see and what we hope to see post Paris.”

  • To find out more about Swiss RE's commitment to 100% renewable power, read the company's case study here

Text by Jessy Field, video by Ilario D'Amato

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