Sustainable future

The risks and opportunities of a changing climate are of critical importance to our business and stakeholders. We aim to help society mitigate those risks and respond to changing environmental conditions.

As a major global business, we must limit our own impact and encourage our colleagues, customers and suppliers to do likewise. This year, we improved the quality of our environmental performance data and restated our baseline year for our carbon reduction target.

We continue to be a lead insurer of renewable energy projects and work hard to raise awareness of climate change issues through our products and services, such as severe weather alerts in Europe.

Why is it important?

Our actions are guided by major sustainability issues, including

  • Severe weather events – In 2015, insurers paid out around $27 billion for natural disaster and weather-related claims;
  • Global warming – Average temperatures are widely predicted to rise above 2°C during the 21st century; and
  • Resource scarcity - By 2030, the world will need 50% more energy and 35% more food than it does today

How do we tackle the issue?

We support a transition to an environmentally-sustainable world by helping our customers deal with changing risks and by promoting new ways of working that save energy, resources and create less waste.

We set targets globally for all operating countries to reduce carbon emissions. A CR representative in each country embeds our environmental policy, guarantees legal compliance, limits pollution and improves environmental performance. They also facilitate collaboration between finance, travel managers, facilities teams and procurement to measure and report our impacts.

It is vital that we continue to engage colleagues effectively, empowering people to contribute towards our sustainability goals.

We are involved in insuring 90% of the world's offshore wind production.

Our environmental performance

 Key environmental data for RSA Group   2015 2014 2013
Greenhouse gas emissions (tCO2e) Scope 1A 6,115 12,279 12,968
  Scope 2A 17,275 24,717 25,787
  Scope 3 15,907 16,376 23,901
  Business travelA 13,050    
  TOTAL (gross) 39,297 53,372 62,656
  Gross tonnes of tCO2e per FTE 2.20 2.37 2.60
  Carbon offsets 20,000 21,827 27,278
  Total (net) 19,297 31,545 35,378
  Net tCO2e/FTE 1.08 1.40 1.47
Energy consumption (MWh)    74,320 106,693 114,325
Water consumption (m3)    210,553 282,334 270,572
Paper consumption (tonnes)    1,515 1,734 1,920
Waste production (tonnes)    6,930 5,262 5,014
Waste recycling (%)    79 67 60

Selected data has been independently assured by PwC. For further information, download Key Environmental Data (PDF).

Data notes:

The emissions for 2015 have been calculated using a different organisational scope to previous years, reporting all sources of emissions from operations with 50 or more full time equivalent (FTE) employees. In previous years, emissions from offices with less than 50 employees were estimated, but these have been removed from the scope of the 2015 reported emissions. Previously, some Scope 3 emissions were misreported as Scope 1 emissions. Therefore, we have restated our baseline year as 2015 for our carbon reduction target and amended our target accordingly.

  • Scope 1: Emissions from the Group’s sources that are controlled by us, including the combustion of fuel, company owned vehicles and the operation of our facilities.
  • Scope 2: Emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
  • Scope 3: Emissions from non-owned sources that are related to the Group’s activities, including business travel and the use of water, paper and waste generated.
  • Business travel: Emissions from flights, trains, taxis, hotels and vehicles not owned by organisation. This has been separately assured and reported in 2015.


This year, we are reporting our progress against our original targets set in 2013, as well as how we will achieve our new targets in the future.

Current target Progress
By 2018, we will reduce our carbon emissions by 20% per employee from a 2013 baseline. The emissions for 2015 have been calculated using a different organisational scope to previous years. Therefore, we have restated our baseline year as 2015 and are unable to compare 2014 data with 2015 data.
We will support our customers through the development of products and services that help them respond to changing environmental risks and opportunities. On target

This year, we focused on improving the quality of our environmental performance data within a more tightly defined organisational boundary. Throughout the Group, we implemented numerous carbon saving initiatives. Read more about these achievements in our Highlights here.

We continue to be a leading insurer of renewable energy. We are evaluating the risks of new renewable technologies and prototypes to expand our expertise in these areas. Through these products, we are reducing the risks and costs associated with renewable energy, helping support the transition to a lower carbon future.

We promote climate awareness amongst our customers by providing support and tools which enable them to better prepare for severe weather events. Some of our insurance products and services also encourage our customers to adapt to climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Revising our targets

This year, we introduced new targets to make sure our CR targets reflect the size and strengths of our organisation.

New target Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Reduce our Group carbon footprint by 12% per employee to 1.9t CO2e from a 2015 baseline by 2018. The tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per employee.
We will deliver at least one awareness driving or support campaign each year in each core region we operate to support our customers adapt to climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The number of awareness-driving or support campaigns.

Plans to achieve our new target

We will continue to actively reduce our highest sources of emissions through improved operational efficiency, purchasing more environmentally friendly products and empowering employees to work more sustainably.

Several of our regions delivered awareness-driving campaigns in 2015 to help our customers adapt to climate change, including a Group-wide WinterSmart initiative providing tips on how to prepare for winter.

Future plans

We will continue to collaborate with customers and brokers to raise awareness of our changing climate. Through our products and services, we will support customers to reduce their own carbon contribution.

We continue to review our property footprint across the Group. In the UK, we are managing our spaces more efficiently to reduce our environmental impact. We are also planning an Energy Management System, designed to ISO 50001, to limit our carbon emissions.

In the Atlantic region of Canada, we expect to move into a LEED-certified building in August. We are undertaking a review of our Irish offices too, having already consolidated two of our Galway offices into one.

Our actions inside our workplaces can also help reduce carbon emissions. We continuously raise awareness of more sustainable working practices like double-sided printing, recycling and switching off electrical equipment. Next year, as in 2015, we will use World Environment Day to demonstrate how our colleagues can help meet our carbon reduction target and protect our environment.

Highlights from the group

Supporting customers Be Climate Smart

We’re helping customers prepare for extreme weather

Read more

Advice and help for UK flood victims

We’re helping our customers at the most important times of need

Read more

Celebrating World Environment Day

Helping deliver against our carbon reduction target by supporting World Environment Day

Read more
Download highlights PDF