As an insurer, we promise to provide our customers with coverage in the future.
In the case of life or health insurance, these promises usually stretch over a period of several decades. So long-term thinking and a forward-looking approach are a core element of our business. In order to continue to "protect what matters" in the future, the Vienna Insurance Group pursues not only economic, but also social and ecological goals.
Thinking ahead, acting responsibly
We believe we have a responsibility to consider future generations
Creating a liveable future
Insurance is sustainable by its very nature: we provide protection against future risks. But our Group aims to go beyond the long-term essence of insurance. We are taking steps to create a liveable future and have also formulated a sustainability strategy.
As a member of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest initiative for corporate responsibility and sustainability, the VIG Group is committed to the ten universal principles of the UN Global Compact in the areas of environmental protection, labour standards, human rights and anti-corruption, and is already taking numerous measures in these areas.
The Group is thus one of the more than 13,000 companies worldwide that have joined this initiative to date. VIG is also committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and works to achieve them within its sphere of influence.
The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at building a sustainable future for the planet. In terms of how our company can play its part, we see the greatest potential primarily in relation to four of the SDGs:
- Good health and well-being
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Climate action
- Gender equality
At VIG, responsible operations begin in our core business, where we take social and ecological factors into account in the investment process.
This extends to our customers – our smart product design addresses new forms of mobility and encourages people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It also influences human resource management, where we give all of our people space to realise their potential in line with our core value of diversity. And it’s also reflected in our efforts to conserve natural resources by implementing recycling and renaturing projects.
In addition, we are working hard to minimise our environmental footprint. In May 2019 we published our climate change strategy, which included strict investment and underwriting guidelines for the coal industry to support the transition to an environmentally friendly, low-carbon future. VIG supports innovative industries committed to being environmentally oriented, providing them with coverage against risks, and is one of the market leaders in insurance for renewable energy generation systems.
Finally, our emphasis on sustainability is highlighted in our detailed analysis of long-term challenges like climate change, digitalisation, safeguarding care services and pensions and affordable housing. The VIG Group supports access to affordable housing. For example, through its investment in the PropTech startup Gropyus, which plans, constructs and manages buildings. Gropyus relies on sustainable materials, automation and digitalization to enable sustainable and affordable housing for all. This is a key consideration among the general population given the steady increase in housing costs. As part of the VIG investment, the activities will be expanded from Austria and Germany to other countries in the CEE region.
We underline our commitment in the area of health and prevention, e.g. with our participation in the biotech company Apeiron Biologics AG and as a sponsoring member of the biotechnology association Biotech Austria.
Wherever people work, we need to keep society in mind
We believe that companies also have a responsibility to society – after all, they not only comprise their core business, but also people who perform a service for the good of society as a whole. We live up to this responsibility on various levels. We behave as a good corporate citizen, and our main shareholder, Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, has implemented a series of initiatives that benefit disadvantaged members of society, as well as culture and the arts.
We have been continuously listed on the VÖNIX CSR index for many years – a clear endorsement of the Group’s long-term sustainability strategy.
VÖNIX is the sustainability benchmark for the Austrian stock market. It contains domestic companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange that are leaders in terms of environmental and social activities and performance. Vienna Insurance Group has been included in the index since it was introduced in 2005.
We are a responsible, forward-looking company which strives to ensure that financial objectives go hand in hand with social and environmental aspects. Our sustainability strategy is another step towards creating a more liveable future.
Our climate change strategy
The VIG Group continues to raise awareness of climate change and the resulting global warming and published its climate change strategy in May 2019 to support environmentally friendly investments and a low-carbon future.
Transition to a low-carbon future
As part of its climate change strategy, the VIG Group is gradually withdrawing from the coal sector until 2035, thereby supporting the transition to a low-carbon future. We have adjusted our underwriting guideline and have not concluded any new insurance contracts for coal-fired power plants or mines since May 2019. Existing contracts are expiring.
In those countries where there is no government exit strategy from coal energy supply, existing contracts can be renewed, but only if the population is dependent on this energy supply and it is necessary due to ensuring a stable and orderly transition to a low-carbon energy source. Furthermore, we need to be presented with a credible coal phase-out plan.
In May 2021, the Climate Change Strategy was updated. It now includes the reinsurance business where we, as a leading reinsurer, can directly influence the conditions.
We are reducing our investments in the coal sector in favour of investments in environmentally friendly alternatives.
EUR 500 million sustainability bond
One of Vienna Insurance Group’s initiatives in sustainable investments is a senior sustainability bond, which was successfully issued in March 2021 in the amount of EUR 500 million. Around 50 investors from 12 European countries have subscribed to the bond with a maturity of 15 years, more than three quarters of them have an explicit focus on sustainability in their portfolios. The sustainability bond of VIG will be used for investments in green and social assets. Therefore, a sustainability bond framework has been drawn up and evaluated by an independent ESG rating agency (Sustainalytics). The net proceeds from the issue were allocated to eco-friendly projects related to renewable energy, green buildings, clean transportation and energy efficiency, as well as social initiatives aimed at providing affordable housing and access to basic services such as education and healthcare.
A responsible member of the community
Promoting numerous projects in order to fulfil our social responsibility to people in the countries where we operate reflects how we see ourselves as a company.
Our insurance companies are long-standing, reliable partners to cultural and social projects, and provide valuable impetus in key areas of society. They adapt their actions to the needs and circumstances of the countries concerned.
Our main shareholder, Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, supports and implements many of these initiatives.
Launched in 2012, the Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience shines the spotlight on Group companies’ commitment to supporting social causes. Named after the Supervisory Board President of the Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the award is presented annually to three of our insurance companies which have provided outstanding service to the community through their social activities.
The Award in Recognition of Commitment to Voluntary Activities was launched in 2013 to pay tribute to Group employees who do outstanding voluntary work in aid of others in their free time. The employees are nominated for the award by their colleagues, and a panel of judges chooses the winners from the numerous submissions.
VIG Kids Camp
Our main shareholder set up the VIG Kids Camp initiative to promote cross-cultural understanding among young people. For over a decade now, around 500 children of Group company employees have been invited to Austria every year for the camp.
At VIG Kids Camp, children from countries in which the Vienna Insurance Group is represented, have an entertaining time finding out more about their parents’ international working environment and learning about diversity and multiculturalism.Günter Geyer, President of the Supervisory Board of Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein
Social commitment at VIG’s Group companies
Compensa, InterRisk, Vienna Life, Wiener; Poland: United in the fight against the pandemic
The commitment of our four Polish insurance companies - Compensa, InterRisk, Vienna Life and Wiener - is just an example of the countless social activities of the VIG Group during the COVID 19 pandemic. These companies have joined forces with another 14 insurance companies in Poland in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic by financing the expansion of the pandemic hotline of the State Health Office in Poland. The increase in capacity by 100 additional hotline operators was urgently needed as the staff was severely overloaded.
Other activities of our Group companies include financing urgently needed medical equipment in state hospitals to treat COVID 19 patients, setting up funds to support medical staff and providing a wide range of support to charitable organisations of all kinds.
VIG Holding, Wiener Städtische Versicherung, Donau Versicherung; Austria: Promoting climate protection and inclusion
Since 2011, VIG has been a partner of AfB (Arbeit für Menschen mit Behinderung / work for people with disabilities), Europe’s largest non-profit IT company, which refurbishes and sells hardware that has been supplied by businesses. In the process, AfB also creates jobs for people with disabilities. In 2022 alone, the Austrian VIG companies helped to conserve 32,456kg of raw materials and avoid 143,805kg of greenhouse gas emissions by passing on used IT devices to AfB; two new inclusive jobs were also created.
Kooperativa, Czech Republic: preventing road accidents
The vision of our Czech Group company Kooperativa is to have zero deaths or serious injuries caused by traffic accidents. The company is bringing together various stakeholders in the field of traffic safety, and initiating and supporting numerous projects through its platform Vize nula, which means ‘Vision Zero’. The platform focuses on areas such as improvements in learner driver training, courses for older drivers, wider use of cycle helmets, and early identification of whiplash injuries.
Vienna osiguranje, Bosnia and Herzegovina: supporting healthier schools
VIG insurance company Vienna osiguranje in Bosnia and Herzegovina is working with schools to promote healthier lifestyles through its “In healthy school, healthy kids” campaign. The goal of the initiative is to help tackle the widespread problem of obesity and lack of exercise among children and young people. All of the country’s primary schools were able to take part by submitting their ideas and plans for encouraging their pupils to lead healthier lifestyles. Thanks to the participation of sports and TV celebrities the campaign caught the public’s imagination. The project won the 2019 Gold Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience.
A day for good deeds
Since 2011, our Group has allowed employees to spend one working day a year doing voluntary work for charities and aid organisations. A day for doing good deeds, you might say. The initiative, called Social Active Day, was launched by VIG’s main shareholder.
Every year, our employees in various countries send a strong signal underlining their dedication, charitable spirit and sense of solidarity. On average, over 5,000 Group employees from more than 20 countries take part. This equates to a contribution of over 48,000 working hours to good causes by VIG Group companies.
The VIG companies tried to continue the initiative despite the challenging conditions due to the pandemic. In 2021, more than 6,000 employees from 20 countries participated in more or less modified forms of the Social Active Day. Litter collection was the focus of attention in several countries. One reason for this was that it was relatively easy to comply with distance rules. The employees of Austrian companies, for example, collected litter on the Danube riverbanks that continuously wash up over time.
The Social Active Day initiative has been extremely well received in the various Group companies, the range of activities is wide, and it goes without saying that our senior managers also do their bit.