Generali’s Sustainable Transformation Journey

By Lucia Silva, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Generali


At Generali, the journey towards sustainable transformation dates back right to its foundation more than 190 years ago.

For us, Sustainability is about doing business which also has a positive impact on people and the environment.

We act as a sustainable player because we believe that it is the right thing to do and it translates into living our purpose: “to enable people to shape a safer and more sustainable future by caring for their lives and dreams”.

This requires a continuous process of transforming the way we do business to increasingly integrate environmental social and governance factors in what we do.

As Sustainability and the world keep evolving, we have to keep asking ourselves what the most relevant priorities are, striking a balance between stakeholders’ expectations – regulators, investors, clients, civil society all have a view on what Sustainability encompasses – and our ability to deliver on the promises we make.

Our mantra is ‘integrating sustainability into the core business’, and this has led our journey to position Sustainability as the originator of our current strategy, “Lifetime Partner 24: Driving Growth”. Our ambition is for Sustainability to be a true game changer, shaping the way all decisions are made and positioning Generali as a transformative, generative, and impact-driven company.

Our responsible roles

We identify four responsible roles to play as investor, insurer, employer and citizen and we have set clear targets to measure our progress:

As a Responsible Investor, we aim at fully integrating ESG criteria into the investment activities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the investment portfolio to net-zero by 2050, and increasing our new green and sustainable investments, including investments to support the EU Recovery.

As a Responsible Insurer, we provide insurance solutions with ESG components, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the underwriting portfolio to net-zero by 2050, and support the sustainable transition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the SME EnterPRIZE project.

As a Responsible Employer, we carry out dedicated actions to foster and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work environment, continuously upskilling our people, nurturing talent in all its forms, and implementing more flexible and sustainable ways of working. In addition to this, we commit to measuring, reducing, and reporting the carbon footprint resulting from our own operations.

As a Responsible Citizen, we act to unlock the potential of people living in vulnerable circumstances through the global initiatives of The Human Safety Net Foundation, a social innovation hub powered by Generali’s skills and international network, aimed at creating positive social impact.


Our Foundations

In order to achieve our ambition and targets, we strongly rely on foundational elements, necessary to enable sustainability integration: governance, internal regulation, incentives, monitoring and reporting.

The governance of sustainability ensures we have a sound system to guide our journey, and it involves a Board level committee as well as top management.

Our internal regulation cascades a clear set of definitions and rules across our Group, to truly integrate sustainability into our key processes.

We have also integrated sustainability KPIs into our incentive system for our top management and in our share plan for employees, making sure sustainability is a priority driving our actions.

Finally, last but certainly not least, we communicate our commitment and report on our performance to guarantee transparency and comparability of information. Our Group Annual Integrated Report is “the moment of truth” when we assess our yearly performance and present it to our stakeholders.


The importance of partnerships

True change cannot happen one company at a time. Partnerships are essential to tackle the key issues of our time. Think about the impact that financial institutions can have by coming together – one of our focus areas as Generali is climate change and we are one of the founding members of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance and a member of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

Private and public institutions must work together: insurance can contribute to socioeconomic stability an enhance the resilience of communities and local businesses.

For example, we have partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to better understand how insurance solutions can be accessible and affordable for the people who need them the most in developing countries.


Looking ahead and future challenges

We foresee three big challenges coming up for Sustainability:

1. Complexity of regulation

EU regulation is and will be key to shape Sustainability for years to come. We are already facing increasing complexity which we expect to continue to grow as Sustainability evolves: all companies will need to manage this complexity and transform regulation into a strategic opportunity.

2. Polarization

In the current political scenario, where ideological and cultural divisions lead to increasing polarization, Sustainability has also become the subject of conflicting world views, causing companies to have to defend themselves against accusation of both not doing enough and doing too much when it comes to sustainability.

3. Innovation squashed between greenwashing and greenbleaching

The increased focus on greenwashing and the risk of greenbleaching by companies poses a threat to innovation, which is essential to continue our collective sustainable journey.