The insurer hopes to improve ESG resilience among its customers with increased awareness of biodiversity risks

Axa XL has published a new three-year sustainability strategy, entitled Roots of resilience.

Launched on 7 February 2023, the strategy is built on three main themes – valuing nature, addressing climate change and integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into business operations.

The aim of Axa XL’s sustainability strategy is to raise awareness of biodiversity risks, as well as to “inspire clients and colleagues to put nature first” at a time when “the window of opportunity to build a resilient future for the planet is rapidly closing”, explained Axa XL chief executive Scott Gunter.

He continued: “As a leading commercial insurer and reinsurer partnering with many of the world’s major corporations and brands, we know that focusing on sustainability is not just a good thing to do - it’s good risk management.”

Gunter added that consumers’ interest in the ESG standards of the companies they buy from, increased public activism, shareholder pressures and greater regulatory oversight are all “important factors” that are encouraging firms to put sustainability at “the very heart” of their business operations.

ESG action

Axa XL’s key biodiversity goal within its new strategy centres around its continuing partnership with The Nature Conservancy - this aims to increase client awareness of underappreciated nature risks by 2025.

The firm will also plant over 300,000 trees in degraded land or other critical reforestation areas by 2026.

The insurer is planning to provide ESG and sustainability training to all of its employees by 2024 and publish its net zero road map in 2026 - this will include updated 2030 carbon reduction targets across scopes one to three.

According to Carbon Trust, scope one emissions refers to direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, scope two emissions covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company, while scope three emissions includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. 

Axa XL’s other objectives comprise of investing $5m (£4.1m) through its worldwide Hearts in Action philanthropy programme by 2026 and contributing 75,000 volunteering hours.

The philanthropy programme, which was established by the Axa Group’s founder Claude Bébéar in 1991, aims to contribute a positive societal and environmental impact through employee volunteering, expertise and related financial support, as well as in-kind donations.