Royal & Sun Alliance Is Carbon Neutral In The UK

  • R&SA has reduced UK carbon footprint by more than 50 per cent since 2000
  • First UK insurer to go carbon neutral
  • Insurers' environmental standing important to consumers

Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA), and its direct operation MORE TH>N, announced that from today it is the first insurer in the UK to be carbon neutral. The move is part of R&SA's long-term strategy to reduce its environmental impact. Today's announcement comes following research that shows over 75 per cent of consumers think insurers should take climate change into account in their business.

"Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face and legislators around the world have been charged with reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent in the next 30 to 50 years. This can only be achieved if businesses and individuals all play their part, and we recognise that we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment. Today's announcement that R&SA in the UK is carbon neutral is the result of a long-term carbon reduction programme, which we will continue and expand. This is an important step, but it's the start not the finish line for us," said UK CEO Bridget McIntyre.

R&SA has been reporting publicly on its impact on the environment since 1999, and has undertaken a range of actions to reduce its carbon emissions by more than half since 2000, including:

  • Setting targets to reduce its impact on the environment
  • Using 'green' electricity in more than 90 per cent of its offices
  • Working with the Carbon Trust to identify energy savings

R&SA's carbon footprint is now 31,000 tonnes CO 2 emissions, down from 63,000 tonnes CO 2 emissions in 2000-2001. Today's move has seen the company offset its remaining carbon footprint by purchasing voluntary carbon reductions through The CarbonNeutral Company 2 . R&SA is supporting the following projects to achieve carbon neutral status:

  • Methane capture in Germany
  • Solar lighting in rural India
  • Wind farming in India and New Zealand

One third of consumers regularly buy energy efficient products, and 73 per cent recycle as much as possible, according to a study commissioned by MORE TH>N. Nearly 60 per cent of consumers say that an insurer's environmental standing is important.

"Research tells us that consumers think insurers should take climate change into account in terms of their operations, so we believe this is an issue close to the hearts of our customers. We will continue to research products and services, like our hybrid car discount, that reward customers who reduce their own footprint," said McIntyre.

In addition to tracking CO2 emissions, R&SA also monitors a number of other environmental outputs, including waste, energy and water consumption, and employee travel globally. The Group has set a number of environmental targets for 2007 for the UK business:

  • Reduce travel emissions by 10 per cent
  • Reduce electricity use by 5 per cent
  • Reduce waste by 10 per cent and establish targets for recycling
  • Reduce water use by 10 per cent
  • Reduce air travel by 20 per cent

MORE TH>N currently offers a discount for motorists who drive hybrid cars, and is working to expand this principle into other product lines.

Commenting on R&SA's announcement, Dr. Sally Uren, Director of Forum for the Future's Business Programme, said: "R&SA has been a Forum for the Future business partner for over seven years.   We view the announcement today of carbon neutrality as a hugely positive step, particularly as the business has, and is set to continue, to make substantial reductions in its carbon footprint.  We look forward to seeing R&SA continue to educate its customers on reducing their carbon footprints, and develop a wider range of products which promote low carbon living."

Jonathan Shopley, CEO of The CarbonNeutral Company, added: "It's a privilege to be appointed as the carbon partner to R&SA, knowing the importance they place on the integrity of the programme. We bring a rigorous quality assurance process, which ensures that R&SA is supporting a programme and carbon offsetting projects that make a real difference towards tackling climate change."

2 December 2006 Staff

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