Environmental metrics

It is widely recognised that continued global warming will lead to unpredictable catastrophic events and have significant economic and social consequences.

This is evidenced by the series of global catastrophic events occurring during 2017, causing $306 billion in damages 1, leading to the costliest year in history for the insurance industry, with a record $135 billion in claims 2.

As well as the physical risks associated with climate change, potential transitional risks (e.g. legal, policy and market risks) are emerging from the Paris Agreement and the global shift towards a lower-carbon economy.

QBE has established a senior cross-functional Climate Change Working Group to coordinate our approach to managing climate-related risks and opportunities. We also welcomed the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations released in June 2017 and are reviewing our readiness to disclose in line with them, including setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets.

Emissions profile by source
(% CO2e)
Emissions profile by division
(% CO2e)

Our reporting on environmental data follows the guidelines outlined in:

  • the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards’ requirements for Emissions Disclosures 305-1, 305-2 and 305-3;
  • the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Corporate Accounting and Reporting and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards;
  • QBE’s ESG Reporting – Greenhouse Gas Reporting Framework which governs our data collection process.

The Group’s GHG emissions reporting is driven by our global insurance operations across the world. We calculate emissions using the energy content and emission factors considered most relevant to each region, based on information sourced from:

  • Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy’s National Greenhouse Account Factors, 2017;
  • UK Government’s Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) Greenhouse Gas Reporting: Conversion Factors, 2017;
  • US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidance: Direct Emissions from Stationary Combustion Sources, 2016;
  • US EPA’s eGRID database, 2017;
  • International Energy Agency’s CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2017.

Group GHG emissions inventory

  1. National Centers for Environmental Information – Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters: table of events (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/summary-stats, as at the date of publication of the 2017 Sustainability Report).
  2. Natural catastrophe review: Series of hurricanes makes 2017 year of highest insured losses ever. Munich Re, Press Release, 4 January 2018.



Emission intensity


Energy consumption


Travel



Resource efficiency initiatives

  • Converting major offices in North America, Australia and Europe to energy-efficient LED lighting and occupancy sensors, to reduce energy consumption.
  • Promoting electronic documents, to reduce storage and paper waste.
  • Encouraging staff to minimise waste by re-using and recycling e.g. our Plantation Place office in London now recycles all waste, avoiding landfill completely.
  • Encouraging customers to register for electronic billing and communications.

Greenhouse gas emissions by scope

(CO2e tonnes) 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Scope 1 – Direct emissions 7,754 8,686 12,400 11,144 10,777
Scope 2 – Indirect emissions 1 20,828 22,324 30,639 33,517 33,639
Scope 3 – Other indirect emissions 1,2,3 20,452 21,752 10,698 11,166 11,847
49,034 52,762 53,737 55,827 56,263
KPI: Operational GHG emissions intensity (Scope 1 + Scope 2/GEP 4 US$M) 1.98 2.11 2.88 2.70 2.48
KPI: Total emissions/GEP US$M 3.39 3.58 3.60 3.38 3.15
KPI: Total emissions per employee 3.47 3.71 3.70 3.96 3.64

Energy

  2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Total energy consumption in QBE offices MWh 35,692 41,813 49,402 53,981 52,851
KPI: Energy consumption per employee MWh 2.52 2.94 3.40 3.83 3.42
KPI: Energy consumption/GEP US$M MWh 2.47 2.84 3.31 3.27 2.95

Travel

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Total travel km '000 132,851 124,195 97,569 98,236 103,425
KPI: Travel per employee km '000 9.40 8.73 6.71 6.98 6.69
Air travel % 89.0 92.5
Road travel 5 % 8.9 4.7
Rail and bus travel % 2.1 2.7

Water

  2017 2016
Total water consumption 6 kL 218,156 183,906
Water consumption per employee kL 15 13

Waste

  2017 2016
Total waste 6 tonnes 2,739 2,403
Paper recycled tonnes 1,169 1,094
General waste tonnes 1,526 1,289
Other recycled waste 7 tonnes 44 20
KPI: Waste per employee kg 194 169
Recycling rate % of waste 44.3 46.4

Office paper

  2017 2016
Total office paper consumption 6 tonnes 618 505
Paper consumption per employee kg 43.7 35.5
  1. Estimates were required in certain office locations and activity data streams where actual activity data was not available, and were based on comparable offices in the same region.
  2. Scope 3 emissions from 2016 onwards include waste disposal and water consumption.
  3. Scope 3 emissions from business air travel from 2016 onwards include DEFRA’s required distance uplift and exclude radiative forcing. For 2015 and before, these emissions exclude distance uplift and radiative forcing.
  4. Gross earned premium.
  5. Road travel includes business travel by rental car, taxi and private car.
  6. The increases in water consumption, waste and office paper usage in 2017 are mainly due to improved estimation techniques applied to activities in office locations where actual activity data is not available.
  7. Includes recycled IT asset waste and mixed plastics, cardboard and glass.