QBE is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and headquartered in Sydney. We employ more than 11,000 people in 27 countries. QBE is a general insurance and reinsurance company.
Across our operations, we offer commercial, personal and specialty products, and risk management solutions to our customers. Our purpose is to give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions. As a company that helps people and businesses protect themselves from risk, QBE takes a holistic, long-term view to create value for our stakeholders and protect the sustainability of our business.
Identifying and responding to current and emerging environmental, social and governance (ESG) trends is an integral part of achieving our purpose. It also helps us understand the needs of our customers and ensure the sustainability of our own business. We are committed to good corporate governance, being a great employer, and making a positive and impactful contribution to the societies, economies and communities in which we operate.
As a responsible global investor and signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), QBE integrates ESG factors into our investment decisions. We believe this investment strategy is good for long‑term, risk‑adjusted financial returns and aligned to our stakeholders’ expectations, it will contribute to social wellbeing and sustainable development.
A summary of QBE's governance and oversight of environmental social and governance factors is provided below. Further information is available in the QBE Sustainability Report 2019 and the QBE Annual Report 2019, which includes our TCFD Roadmap.
The highest governing body for sustainability-related issues is our Group Board of Directors. The Board is supported by the Board Risk & Capital Committee (BRCC) which oversees and guides QBE’s sustainability approach, initiatives and reporting requirements. The Group Sustainability team provides an update on sustainability performance and activity to the BRCC at each of its meetings, which includes an update of Impact and Responsible Investments. Our Group Executive Committee (GEC) reviews and approves our sustainability agenda and priorities and receives updates on these throughout the year. An Executive Non-Financial Risk Committee (ENFRC) was formed in 2019 to support the GEC in managing non-financial risks.
Group Impact and Responsible Investments team - QBE has a dedicated Group Impact and Responsible Investments (IRI) team, which reports to the Group Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and through to the Group Chief Financial Officer, a GEC member. The IRI team aims to integrate ESG considerations into our investment decision-making process. The IRI team’s activities are also overseen by the BRCC and, where appropriate, the Board Investment Committee. The Group Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and/or Head of IRI or delegate participate in numerous sustainability-related committees including the ESG Risk Committee and Climate Change Steering Committee.
Group ESG Risk - The Group ESG Risk team reports to the Group Chief Risk Officer (CRO), a GEC member. The team is responsible for coordinating the identification, analysis and management of ESG risks and integration into our risk management practices and systems. The team supports our climate change working groups on managing our approach to climate risks and opportunities.
ESG Risk Committee - The ESG Risk Committee, formerly known as the ESG Business Policy Committee, was established in late 2018 by the Group CRO. The Committee is responsible for managing and overseeing activities to identify and review ESG risks and develop appropriate policy and decision-making frameworks. In addition, the Committee considers and recommends policy positions on ESG risks that impact underwriting, investment and/or operations across the Group to the ENFRC.
Climate change is a material risk for QBE and across our operations, and we have developed a detailed approach for how we manage climate-related risks and opportunities. In 2019, we made further progress on our Climate Change Action Plan commitments and further enhanced our disclosures, in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Among the measures introduced in 2019 was the publication of our QBE Group Energy Policy. QBE committed to and maintained zero direct financial investment in thermal coal from 1 July 2019, and we have committed to phase out all direct insurance services for thermal coal customers within the next decade. We also joined the RE100 and set an ambitious target to use 100% renewable electricity across our operations by 2025 and we maintained carbon neutrality across our operations. We are also working closely with our customers in a range of sectors around the world to support their transition to a lower carbon economy.
Impact Investing - Premiums4Good
QBE is committed to investing responsibly, and to impact investment. In 2014, we established a unique offering, Premiums4Good. It is a unique and innovative collaboration between QBE, our customers, partners and shareholders: we invest up to 25% of select customers’ premiums into investments that have additional social or environmental benefit, at no extra cost to the customer. These investments include social impact bonds (SIBs), social bonds, green bonds and infrastructure. The program is evidence of our belief that we can deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns and business value, while also seeking to deliver positive social and environmental impact. In 2019, we announced the ambition to grow our impact investments to USD1bn by 2021 (of USD23bn in AUM) and by year end 2019 we were on track and Premiums4Good classified investments reached USD663m. We have expanded this ambition to USD2bn by 2025.