Swiss Re’s vision is to make the world more resilient. In addition, the company is committed to achieving net-zero emissions in their business operations by 2030, and in their business dealings by 2050. Their new 5-year global employee programme NetZeroYou2 (NZY2) addresses the role that employees play in helping the world achieve net-zero in both a ‘corporate’ and ‘personal’ sense. A key driver for the initiative was the realisation that the household carbon footprint of their 13,000 employees was greater than their operational carbon footprint. NZY2 aims to educate, encourage, and inspire Swiss Re employees to reduce the environmental impacts of their lifestyle choices through long-term, sustainable behavioural change.
Built on innovation and partnership
The core of NetZeroYou2 is for colleagues to ‘Do their best’ to reduce emissions and ‘Remove the rest’ by supporting carbon offset and removal. Through a dedicated app, employees can calculate their carbon footprint, compete in challenges, complete personalised climate actions, and track emission reductions. In one of the first of its kind, Swiss Re has teamed up with emissions technology experts to offer employees access to the same high-quality carbon certificates and long-term projects in the mix that Swiss Re uses to compensate operational emissions.
The power of local leadership
NetZeroYou2 is run by a core team but, in under a year, has grown to be regionally owned and co-created. Because the impact of climate change varies regionally, the company knew local ownership was essential to having the largest impact. Early on, they invited passionate colleagues to shape NetZeroYou2 through monthly catch-up calls, run local events, and customise environmental content. The central team now empowers regions to do more: they’ve recruited a network of Regional Champions and given them communications upskilling classes, so they can communicate the programme with impact and increase their personal influence.
Changing behaviour through community connection
With NetZeroYou2 a ‘whole-brain’ approach has been taken, dialling up the power of emotion and storytelling in addition to key statistics. At launch, a call was hosted with a critical population of people leaders, with over 1,000 attending, providing resources to help spark team conversations. The community of the company’s social network (over 2,000 people) hosts informal dialogue, supports networking and best practice sharing. The Programme hosted several events during the year, including an Earth Week in April and a NetZero Day in November. The events featured expert guest speakers, inspirational panel discussions, and practical learnings on less carbon-intensive lifestyles.
In the 12 months since NetZeroYou2 launch, 4,502 employees have calculated their carbon footprint; 243,905 individual climate actions have been recorded in the app and over 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions have been compensated via high-quality carbon certificates.
NetZeroYou2 has built employees’ confidence and communication skills around the topic and given people hope and inspiration around climate action. It has also built relationships across the globe and a sense of camaraderie that extends well beyond the programme. A colleague commented: “I really respond to the community side of NetZeroYou2 …. Earth Week was one of those moments when I realised what NetZeroYou2 can really bring – these stories of people with passions who inspire others to do more. It brought a whole community together.”
For the company it is a unique programme aligned with its values and commitments.
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 Reaching net-zero means that the residual sum of emissions entering the atmosphere must be zero. In other words, for every tonne of GHG emissions that cannot be avoided, an equivalent amount of CO2 needs to be removed from the atmosphere and stored permanently through carbon removal solutions. (IPCC 2018 – SR15).