The Swiss Re Responsible Investment Policy and the Swiss Re Voting and Engagement Policy are an integral part of Swiss Re's overall governance framework. These documents are embedded in the Swiss Re Asset Management governance and guidelines that define our approach to responsible investing, specifies roles and responsibilities in the organisation, implementation, and monitoring of ESG criteria in the Group’s investment portfolio.
Swiss Re's Sustainable Business Risk Framework is a Group-wide management instrument to tackle environmental, social and governance risks in its core business. The framework is based on the overarching principles of respecting human rights and protecting the environment, encapsulated in two umbrella policies that are valid for all our business transactions (re/insurance as well as investments). In addition, these overarching principles are complemented by eight sectors or issues in which we perceive major sustainability risks: defence industry; oil and gas (including oil sands and hydraulic fracturing); coal; mining; dams; animal testing; forestry, pulp & paper and oil palm; and nuclear weapons proliferation.
Each of the two umbrella policies and eight sector guidelines of the framework contains criteria and qualitative standards, which define precisely when a transaction may present a "sustainability risk". We assess such transactions through our Sustainable Business Risk (SBR) process, which consists of two due diligence mechanisms - the SBR online assessment tool and the SBR referral tool.
This is a due diligence assessment carried out by Swiss Re's in-house experts to identify potential environmental, social or ethical risks, and to establish whether the principles expressed in Swiss Re's Group Code of Conduct, standards, policies and guidelines may be breached. The assessment results in a recommendation to undertake the transaction, to undertake the transaction subject to certain conditions or to abstain from undertaking the transaction.
In 2019, our underwriters continued to use the online SBR assessment tool to carry out sustainability checks. Based on the introduction of a new policy on thermal coal in 2018 the number of transactions submitted by our underwriters to the SBR referral tool has remained high: In 2019, they referred 238 transactions to our sustainability experts for further assessments. Of the transactions referred in 2019, we issued negative recommendations in 37 cases and positive recommendations with conditions in 42 cases.
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