Allianz Life: A local leader shares insights for global impact

The Sustainable Growth Coalition Best Practices & Learning Lab series event hosted by member organization Allianz Life offered great insights to other members who are not part of the financial services industry. Founded in 1896 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global financial services company leading and engaged in conversations about the needs and opportunities to drive positive impact through ESG investing. Led by Allianz Investment Management’s (AIM US LLC) Chief Administrative Officer Diane Gates, the ESG Strategy and Climate Change Approach event drew members from all sectors to learn about Allianz Life’s experiences related to incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles into their investment process and policies and offered suggestions on how organizations might apply these principles.

Allianz’s ESG strategy is based on the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals and shaped by its roles as an insurer, investor, employer and committed corporate citizen. The six-pillars of ESG investing is a multi-faceted approach being used to reach the goal of net-zero GHG emissions investment portfolio by 2050, with an interim goal of 25% GHG reduction by 2025. The voice afforded by Allianz SE’s global corporate size and reach allows them to engage and dialogue with investor companies to encourage shifts toward sustainable business models, disclosing sustainability data, and taking positive steps toward change.

From the perspective of a global organization, anticipating risks in climate change and focusing on a just transition for those people who are at greater displacement risk and who will be most impacted by climate change is not only a business concern for Allianz, but also a human concern.

As a founding member of the U.N.-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Allianz SE committed to an investment approach with reduced GHG emissions as a documentable outcome. The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance was launched during the UN Climate Week in 2019 and includes an international group of 61 institutional investors. With current, combined investments of 10 trillion dollars, the opportunity to impact and influence business practices is significant. Interim goals will be set every five years to track progress toward the “net-zero by 2050” benchmark.

Externally, Allianz Life is monitoring financial disclosure and reporting. The Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure is already widely accepted in the European Union and is taking hold in the United States as a framework for reporting. The Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory entities are evolving their disclosure requirements, and it appears many are preferring the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure. Accountability and transparency are additional ways organizations can respond to the recent IPCC report.

Balancing policy and financial obligations is a daily practice informed by the Allianz Life’s ESG strategy in place. With the growing reminders of climate change and disproportionate impacts, Allianz Life is compelled to stay engaged, spread the word, and target their own actions to be effective financial and sustainability leaders.

Taking the lessons learned from Ms. Gates, organizations and individuals have opportunities to act now.

  • Identify and implement ESG-based investment strategies.
  • Begin tracking progress toward ESG goals and commitments – for the organization and its investors.
  • Communicate the work your organization is doing.
  • Never stop looking for opportunities to increase your organization’s impact.

Thank you to Allianz Life for hosting this Best Practices & Learning Lab Series event. The Best Practices & Learning Lab series is hosted by members of the Sustainable Growth Coalition to expand awareness of leading edge issues and practices leading us to a circular economy.