We believe in, and support, the aims and objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which arose through collaboration between governments, civil society, the private sector and academia. The SDGs seek to address the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges and form part of a wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At QBE, we are working to align our sustainability agenda to support advancement of these global goals. As a universal agreement to work towards a better future, the SDGs align closely with our own purpose to give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions.
Integrating the SDGs across our global business
We reviewed all 17 SDGs to understand their relevance to our business and stakeholders. Our assessment considered alignment of the SDGs against our purpose, business strategy, sustainability framework, products and services and business initiatives, as well as the interconnectedness and interdependencies of the SDGs. We used two lenses for this analysis:
- Direct and indirect impacts of the SDGs on our business and stakeholders, including our people, customers and community.
- Opportunities to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through our products and services, advice, thought leadership and community initiatives.
Following this analysis, we performed a deep dive review for each division, considering the different markets and sectors in which we operate. Our divisional analysis considered strategic priorities, business activities and product lines. We then engaged with divisional executive teams to review and agree key insights. This process validated our initial thinking and helped identify nuances to prioritise our efforts at both a divisional and Group level moving forward.
All of the SDGs are relevant to our business in some way. However, we contribute to the achievement of some SDGs more directly than to others. We have therefore chosen to focus our actions on five goals which align most closely to our purpose and strategic business priorities. This is where we can have the greatest impact.
In addition to the five goals, our community engagement activities also focus on Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing. Supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities is a priority for us from a strategic community engagement perspective. Across our divisions, employees engage with their communities via the QBE Foundation which coordinates charity partnerships, grants, events participation, volunteering, awareness‑raising events and employee fundraising.
We also believe that Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals – underpins everything we do and that adherence to that Goal will enable us to help achieve the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will continue to leverage our existing partnerships to collaborate on key sustainability topics and will seek to collaborate with industry, government, community partners and other stakeholders to help achieve the SDGs.
Throughout this Report we have included a range of case studies that show how we have contributed to the SDGs in 2018. We are working with each of our divisions to identify further opportunities to support the SDGs we have prioritised in 2019 and beyond.
In addition, building on our work in 2018, we will undertake a comprehensive materiality assessment process in 2019 which will further integrate our work on the SDGs into our business. We believe the SDGs provide a framework to help guide our thinking, identify sustainability leadership opportunities and engage with our stakeholders to collaborate on the issues that matter.
Our five priority SDGs
Goal 1: No poverty
Building the financial resilience of our customers is core to our purpose. We protect people and businesses against risks – contributing to our customers’ long‑term financial wellbeing. An accident, illness or natural disaster can quickly plunge customers into financial distress. Providing insurance protection for customers and communities helps them to recover, preventing them from falling into, or deeper into, poverty.
Goal 5: Gender equality
QBE is committed to gender equality both in terms of our own people and in the practice of our insurance business. As a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles and with our Group CEO as a Male Champion of Change, there is a greater strategic focus on diversity and inclusion across our business. We have committed to promoting greater gender equality with a target of 35% women in senior management by 2020.
Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
With operations in key areas and markets internationally, enabling sustainable economic growth is fundamental to our business. Our strategic focus on innovation and building for the future enables us to promote sustained economic growth. We provide insurance products that support decent work such as through our workers’ compensation and accident and health solutions. A focus on protecting human and labour rights within our business and across our supply chain is essential for ensuring QBE remains a responsible employer and business partner.
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
We understand that cities and human settlements are rapidly changing due to increasing urbanisation, changing transport and energy systems, building codes and exposure to climate risks. We are committed to building on our existing data, products, services and advice and collaborating with industry and government to identify sustainable solutions to reduce risk and enhance safety and resilience.
Goal 13: Climate action
As a general insurer, we are very aware of the risks and opportunities presented by climate change. We are well‑positioned to use our industry expertise to help customers, partners and communities mitigate these risks and support the uptake of opportunities in the transition to a lower‑carbon economy, consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement.