Krungthai-AXA Life pledges commitment to green future
published : 29 Jun 2022 at 11:30
For a life insurance business, climate change is a medium-to-long-term risk with a complex quantification of impacts on various human activities. A strategy adopted by Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance (KTAXA), under the multinational insurance group AXA, is not only to adapt, but also to take advantage of its resource and expertise through extensive risk management to provide solutions to customers, whom they view as “partners at every stage of life.”
“We are well-equipped with the vast amount of data we collect, the research we conduct, and the funds to address climate-related risks,” said Bubphawadee Owararinth, Chief People and Brand & Communications Officer, Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance.
She explained that environmental issues are actually integral to being a life insurer: “Global warming has caused various health crises for the general public, from increased spread of diseases due to changing climate conditions to poorer air quality affecting respiratory and cardiac systems and to stress-induced problems such as drought in many regions of Thailand. These can all lead to rising medical costs, which pose a significant impact on the insurance industry as a whole. “
Over the past few years, KTAXA has been actively pursuing many climate change initiatives. At its core, it has formulated underwriting restrictions on the coal and oil sands industries and launched green and sustainable products in Life & Savings ranges as well as offering new insurance solutions designed for developing countries. A good example is the company’s latest unit-linked product, KT-EPIC fund launched on March 1, 2022, that provides green fund for customers. Moreover, its investments are now toward responsible green assets, divesting from carbon-intensive industries.
In addition, KTAXA is bringing along the people, the employees and customers, with its green journey. “Our company’s purpose is to ‘act for human progress by protecting what matters.’ Today, we are creating innovative environmental solutions to fight global warming and protect our people, our communities, and our world. We try to educate our customers about climate change impacts. As for our operations, we set direct environmental footprint targets covering energy and carbon emissions, water efficiency, and paper reduction,” said Ms. Bubphawadee.
“For our paper reduction effort, all employees are encouraged to reduce their paper consumption and the company uses the saved funds to purchase and plant trees. 100 sheets of printing paper saved equals 1 tree planting. When distributors use 10 online applications, it equals 1 tree planting. We also have an e-policy where customers can choose to receive policies online via email which equals 1 tree planting.”
“KTAXA partnered with the Wisdom King and Nation-Building Institute to plant 110,000 trees in three years by 2022, which will absorb 990,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year. To date, over 90,000 trees have been planted,” she said.
KTAXA is also considered a leader in ‘smart working’. AXA launched a global policy that promotes a hybrid way of working, combining remote working two days a week and office presence. This new hybrid model will help the company reduce its overall impact on the environment through less commuting.
Moreover, in 2015, KTAXA moved its office to an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, designed to improve performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, better indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Recently, it has been renovated to combine more green space for co-working to accommodate staff, distributors, and customers.
Furthermore, AXA group and KTAXA established the Climate Change Academy in 2021 to train employees about climate change. The online course is designed to advocate protecting the planet. As of December 2021, all of KTAXA’s current employees had completed the training.
Another public engagement initiative KTAXA is trying to take is a ‘Step Life’ activity where employees and the public are persuaded to walk rather than using cars or taking the elevator. Every year, the number of steps counted is converted to monetary terms and used to fund CSR projects. For instance, a tree is planted after 10,000 steps, so in 2021, 77 million steps were converted to 7,700 trees planted.
Also importantly, KTAXA fosters partnerships with thought leaders, NGOs, public sectors and academic research agencies, including AXA Research Fund, to collaborate on climate action projects. For example, the Green Power campaign with Green Wave 106.5 FM awarded top participants who reduced their energy bills the most over a two-month period by paying for their electricity bills. The Bye Bye My Clothes project promoted clothes recycling. The company received 2,500 old clothing items and they were recycled to produce 400 t-shirts for the Bangkok garbage collecting officers.
KTAXA also organised the Green4Good, a project in collaboration with the Foundation of Sufficiency Economy Family that raises awareness of climate change issues among the youth and educates them on financial planning. Since its inception in 2018, over 2,000 students have participated in the program across the country.
In 2022, KTAXA declared an ambition of “#WeCommitToClimate” in alignment with the circular economy philosophy.
“Being a leader in green insurance in Thailand, climate change is one of the key sustainable strategies at KTAXA,” continued Ms. Bubphawadee. “We commit to reducing our carbon footprint by reducing carbon dioxide emission by 15 percent from 2022 to 2024 from power consumption and transportation. We have reduced investment in coal business to zero since 2021 and will increase green investments up to 9 billion baht by 2022. In 2021 alone, KTAXA has invested over 6 billion baht in greening activities. Besides, KTAXA also initiated long term campaign “CommitToClimate” in 2022 which include 1. Think before discarding 2. Live Green Save Green 3. Green Road Good Life and 4. Green Food Good Health. These aim to create climate change awareness and action to save our world sustainably.”
KTAXA will be the first insurance company to be part of the UN Global Compact Network by this year.
KTAXA won most Socially Responsible Insurance Company at the International Finance Awards 2021 and International Finance Awards 2022, 3G Championship Award in CSR from Global Good Governance Awards 2021, Best CSR Insurance Company at the Global Economics Awards 2021, and Best CSR Initiative Award at the International Business Magazine Awards 2021.
The company has also been ranked no. 1 in Asia on the AXA Sustainability Index, assessing corporate social responsibility, for the 6th consecutive year.
“We are extremely proud of our green achievements throughout the years,” concluded Ms. Bubphawadee. “For us, climate change is not simply CSR projects, but a key strategy and purpose of our company.”