Sustainability strategy and ESG integration

We carefully address those conditions that we consider conducive to a better life. To do this, we enter into dialogue with stakeholders, experts and the public, share our own approaches and play an active role. Sustainability is therefore a key part of our actions. Thanks to our clear position on this matter, we can encourage understanding and support from all our stakeholders, namely employees, customers, investors and the public.

Our sustainability strategy is designed to be holistic. It ties our economic ambitions to a clear environmental and social commitment to protecting the environment and social responsibility.

Our sustainability strategy was approved in October 2020 and is based on five pillars in addition to our People and Culture base and Governance framework:

  • ESG investment policy
  • ESG product policy
  • Sustainable operational management
  • Transparent reporting
  • Stakeholder management

Our fundamental objective in 2023, as in the previous year, was to put this sustainability strategy into operation and embed it within the company by using milestone schedules. Our operational focus is on pillars 1 to 3, supported by transparent reporting (pillar 4) and stakeholder engagement (pillar 5). There is also particular focus on our climate strategy, which we pursue in accordance with recognised regulations (SBTi – Science Based Targets initiative) and as part of the memberships we have joined (NZAOA, GFA, PSI, PRI). More details can be found in the Environmental matters section.

Materiality concept

UNIQA’s success is built on the fact that we understand how the world is changing and how we need to be able to respond to this. Our last materiality analysis took place in 2021 and identified those ESG issues deemed by our stakeholders and our business to be the most important. In 2021, we also conducted a new stakeholder identification process, including the associated weighting. We defined four stakeholder groups from this who are directly affected by our business activities, namely customers, employees, investors and the public.

The materiality analysis forms the basis for our sustainability approach, sustainability strategy and our reporting. The four most important material topics from a stakeholder perspective in 2021 were cyber risks, digital service and customer focus, advice and prevention for natural disasters as well as training and education of employees.

The five most important topics from UNIQA’s perspective were the health and safety of employees, data security and processing, training and education, commitment to the environment as well as diversity and equal opportunity.

In the 2023 financial year, we initiated a group-wide project aimed at preparing us for the reporting requirements of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), where a “double materiality analysis” redefines the reporting limits. The analysis includes the initial collection and assessment of impacts, opportunities and risks along the value chain, involving key stakeholders such as NGOs and rating agencies. It will be completed in 2024 and will form the basis for our future reporting.

ESG integration

The Supervisory Board deals with sustainability reporting each year in the advisory body of the Audit Committee. Here it decides on the sustainability strategy to be pursued. The Group Executive Board reports to the Supervisory Board on a quarterly basis, looking at progress with regard to environmental and social targets. The ESG Committee is embedded in the governance of the UNIQA Group and is responsible for advising the Group Executive Board. The Supervisory Board also undertakes training sessions every year in order to improve collective knowledge, skills and experience as regards sustainable development. The Annual General Meeting decides on the assessment of the Supervisory Board’s performance when granting the annual discharge.

Our key body for sustainability agendas is the Group ESG Committee, which was formed in 2021. It consists of members of the Management Board of UNIQA Insurance Group AG and heads of key departments, meets on a quarterly basis and provides the Management Board with recommendations to help them make decisions on ESG matters. The Committee is responsible for integrating and enhancing ESG factors in insurance, investment and asset management activities, along with the strategic definition and continuous development of ESG-related ambitions for the entire UNIQA Group. Its tasks also include drafting and introducing appropriate guidelines. In addition, the Committee is responsible for supervising the implementation of the Group-wide climate strategy and environmental management, as well as supporting the implementation of strategic initiatives and projects in the subsidiaries.

The Sustainability Management team is part of the Sustainability, Ethics and Public Affairs department, which was newly created in early 2020. It is responsible for operationally managing the integration of ESG factors into the UNIQA Group’s core business lines. Proposals regarding ESG integration within the company are drawn up and discussed in ESG working groups formed of ESG specialists and/or representatives of various operational units and departments.

In 2023, we started to integrate strategic ESG coordinators into the local organisational structure and governance in all the UNIQA Group’s countries and regions. The aim is to establish sustainability in local structures to a greater extent and to tailor relevant initiatives, products and strategies to the countries or regions’ specific circumstances.

Part of the variable remuneration for the Management Board of the UNIQA Group and managers in our Austrian core market is linked to climate-related interim targets. Linking the short-term incentive programme and sustainability performance highlights the priority given to these targets. This model will be extended from 2024 onwards to the Management Boards in other markets and will also be linked to a social objective. The Management Board of the UNIQA Group had a remuneration target in 2023 on reducing CO2 in operational management at our larger Austrian locations. This target had a weighting of 25 per cent of the annual target bonus. In addition, individual targets were set for the CEO, the CFO and the Board member responsible for ESG with regard to reducing the weighted average carbon intensity of our investment portfolio (WACI), which accounted for 20 per cent of their annual bonus. The long-term incentives (LTI) also reflected this prioritisation of ESG targets. In each case, 20 per cent of the targets were linked to reduction of the WACI and an increase in the proportion of investments that meet the Paris climate targets (in accordance with the criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative, SBTi). Similarly, a provision was introduced for managers in the Austrian core market that 5 per cent of their variable component is to be allocated in each case to CO2 reduction in operations management and to increasing the proportion of Paris target issuers in our investment portfolio, based on the WACI. We report on the progress of the key figures relevant to remuneration in the section on environmental matters.