Good for business: how energy productivity and renewable power are saving Swiss Re millions of dollars every year | The Climate Group
As a founding member of RE100 and one year on from joining EP100, Swiss Re – a world leading reinsurer – is going above and beyond its ambitious climate action commitments. In this blog, Lasse Wallquist, Swiss Re’s Senior Environmental Management Specialist, addresses the business case for becoming more energy productive and for switching to 100% renewable power.
At Swiss Re, we’re in the business of calculating risk. We believe that by joining RE100 and EP100, we’ve made a decision to future-proof our operations against the costs of climate change down the road. In terms of emissions reduction, our strategy is to "do our best and compensate the rest". The first step of doing our best is increasing our energy productivity; a constant goal which sits at the heart of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Neutral Programme.
We know that transitioning to 100% renewable power is an essential outcome that we need to deliver on. But, for us, it wouldn’t be sensible to ‘go renewable’ without ensuring we optimize our energy system first.
COMMITTED TO ENERGY PRODUCTIVITY
Energy productivity has always been at the forefront of our emissions reduction transition, and so far, our annual energy costs have dropped by more than US$10 million. Our commitment has been to continuously improve our energy productivity by 2% per year, and at the end of 2016, our energy productivity was halved, compared to 2005. While we’ve reached our EP100 commitment earlier than expected, the campaign continues to support us in creating awareness around ways to increase energy productivity while decreasing our energy costs and our carbon footprint.
We’ve hit our EP100 target already by, for example, decommissioning existing office buildings and moving into more energy efficient workspaces. Our new "Swiss Re Next" headquarters in Zurich has an energy productivity rate per workplace that is 80% higher compared to the former building.
Top management of many companies—due to the nature of their business—are not aware of the cost of their electricity bills. By failing to consider this crucial area of their operations, companies not only miss out on the opportunity to significantly reduce their own energy costs, but they also miss the chance to make lasting changes for a greener tomorrow. As a financial services company, energy productivity might not seem like an obvious objective for our management, but EP100 has helped us in creating awareness of energy productivity and educating our teams about opportunities to do more.