Zurich Financial Services Group has launched a global initiative focused on the development of products and services addressing the evolving risks associated with climate change, as well as the establishment of a long-range carbon management strategy.

The new climate initiative will establish a consistent and focused approach to the risk class globally, and facilitate economic and policy-oriented research that can then be integrated into the group’s product development activities. As part of the effort, Zurich has established an internal climate office that will be charged with driving an understanding of climate related risks across its businesses.

Reporting directly to Zurich’s global chief underwriting officer, Mike Kerner, the climate office will be fully embedded in Zurich’s underwriting infrastructure, demonstrating Zurich’s market-focused climate change approach. Zurich has also established a Climate Change Advisory Council consisting of both internal functional leaders and external advisors that will directly report to Zurich’s group management on strategic and operational issues associated with climate change.

Signaling the significance of these roles, Zurich has announced that the first two external members of the Climate Change Advisory Council will be former US Congressman Sherwood Boehlert and Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker, Dean of Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

James Schiro, CEO of Zurich, said: Kicking-off our global climate initiative, I am convinced, sets Zurich on the course of becoming a leader in the identification and management of climate related risks, as well as preparing us to take meaningful and sustainable steps to manage our own carbon footprint.