As an investment manager, Zurich Life Assurance plc is conscious of the need to ensure that we invest policyholder and shareholder funds responsibly. For us, Responsible Investment is all about ‘doing well and doing good’. Zurich Insurance Group is committed to Responsible Investment and is a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Zurich in Ireland shares this commitment and participates in group-wide practices in relation to Responsible Investment as described below.

"We are proud of our responsible investment efforts. 
We have expertise and we are well positioned
to deliver good outcomes
for our customers in this area."

David Warren

Chief Investment Officer
Zurich Life Assurance plc

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Your questions answered

What is Responsible Investment?

Responsible Investment means different things to different people. For Zurich Insurance Group (the Group), Responsible Investment is all about “doing well and doing good”. 

Within the Responsible Investment spectrum, five main schools of thought have developed:

  1. Ethical screening – systematic rules-based exclusion of certain investments from the portfolio based on specific activities (e.g. alcohol & tobacco; animal testing), ratings or scores, or other criteria.
  2. Best-in-class – systematic overweighting of companies with high Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings while keeping the weight of exposure to different industrial sectors within the portfolio unchanged. A commonly used method to construct ESG indices.
  3. ESG integration (or ‘integrated financial analysis’) – systematic use of ESG data in active portfolio management with the objective to reduce risk and identify securities or assets that may be over or undervalued.
  4. Themed investment strategy – actively managed funds seeking to capitalise on specific opportunities based on social or environmental issues (e.g. cleantech funds; water funds; finance funds).
  5. Impact investing – themed investment strategies focusing on investments that allow for the measurement of social or environmental impacts. Strategies can target either fully commercial returns or deliberately accept lower returns for higher impact.

Of these approaches the Group practices ESG Integration and impact investing. Included in ESG integration is the concept of Active Ownership – active engagement with investee companies and voting across the holdings of actively managed equities.

Why does the Group want to be a responsible investor?

Why does the Group want to be a responsible investor? In conducting its business, the Group seeks to create “sustainable value”, defined in our code of conduct as one of our basic values:

  • “Environmental protection is integral to sustainable value creation for Zurich and society.”
  • “We maintain a high standard of corporate responsibility by proactively addressing environmental, social and governance issues.”
  • “We focus on long-term success over short-term gains.”

Responsible Investment is our way to create that sustainable value, and do both well and good. With over USD 200 billion in own assets under management, The Group’s investment strategy and decisions can have an impact on society and the environment. We recognise the responsibility that comes with being a steward of such a large portfolio of assets. As a result, the Group has a clear strategy for Responsible Investment.

What is Zurich in Ireland doing in the area of Responsible Investment?

Zurich in Ireland is fully committed to the adoption and integration of Responsible Investment into how we manage monies for our customers. We have had a Responsible Investment framework in place for a number of years, and we maintain a key focus in this area. Representatives from Zurich sit on a number of strategy groups across the industry, including the Irish Association of Investment Managers. We are committed to broadening the base of people who understand what Responsible Investment is, its importance and what it can achieve.

Why does Zurich in Ireland want to be a responsible investor?

As an active investment manager we are always refining and enhancing our process. The integration of ESG factors into our investment process can help deliver additional insights which in turn can improve our assessment of investment risks and rewards. Our aim is to have both positive financial and non-financial benefits for all stakeholders by applying sound principles and integrating them in a practical way into our process.