In March 2023, the latest final report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change caused a worldwide sensation. It was prepared by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a United Nations institution. There, researchers from all over the world regularly report on the current state of knowledge on climate change. The basis: 10,000 pages of scientific publications from the past three years. The message: there is an urgent and immediate need for action.
A higher temperature rise threatens to have catastrophic effects on humans and the environment. The IPCC has simulated these in various climate scenarios with a global average global warming of 1.5 to 4 degrees Celsius (see figure).
We need to get moving: Even if countries like Austria meet their current climate targets, they would only reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. However, 43 percent would be necessary to reach the 1.5 degree-Paris-target. What can we all do to contribute?
10 First Aid Climate Actions suggested by the IPCC
1. Phase out coal for energy production,
2. invest in clean and efficient energy production, such as wind and solar photovoltaic,
3. higher energy efficiency and CO2 reductions in buildings,
4. reducing CO2 emissions from cement, steel, and plastic production,
5. switch to e-vehicles,
6. increase public transport, cycling and walking,
7. reduce CO2 emissions from planes and ships,
8. stop deforestation,
9. reducing food waste and improving agriculture,
10. change to a mainly plant-based diet.
What UNIQA is doing to achieve the climate targets
The UNIQA Insurance Group has committed itself to achieving climate neutrality in its business model – by 2040 in Austria, by 2050 in the entire Group – and is already implementing many of the "10 climate pledges". Insurance companies and financial institutions play a central role in achieving the climate targets.
The latest IPCC report shows: Sustainable investments are an essential key to achieving the 1.5 degree climate target. By consciously investing in appropriate companies and projects and advocating for necessary regulations, companies can accelerate a change in the direction of the economic system. Likewise, a direct commitment to a rapid transformation to sustainable business supports climate protection. UNIQA, for example, is pushing for decarbonisation in all areas of the company, both in investments and in new business with companies.
By making their own operations more sustainable, large companies can reduce their direct CO2 emissions. At UNIQA, successful models such as energy monitoring, the photovoltaic offensive and the promotion of e-mobility are constantly being developed.
Underwriting policy and sustainability risks
The global rise in temperature is accompanied by an increase in extreme weather events. Insurance companies bear great responsibility as risk carriers. At UNIQA, the NatCat Competence Centre (NCCC) plays a key role in assessing risk and forecasting losses in connection with natural disasters. Its developments support our customers in making appropriate provisions.
For industrial and SME customers, UNIQA also records their impact on the environment by including sustainability ratings in the underwriting policy. We address negative impacts as part of our engagement strategy. If the engagement to transition is not fruitful, it can lead to exclusion of customers with CO2-intensive business models.
We need to get moving: Even if countries like Austria meet their current climate targets, they would only reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. However, 43 percent would be necessary to reach the 1.5 degree-Paris-target.
Better sustainable together
Through various memberships in renowned Austrian and international initiatives, UNIQA is also creating solidarity with other players in the industry, because only together can we reduce global warming to a minimum. One of the most important milestones last year was joining the Green Finance Alliance of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action (BMK).
The new UNIQA Sustainability Report 2022 provides a comprehensive insight into the wide-ranging activities in the areas of environment, social affairs and corporate governance (ESG).
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