Germany’s Allianz creates executive committee to promote ESG

Headed by asset management exec Jay Ralph

German insurance giant and UN Principles for Responsible Investment signatory Allianz has created a special executive board to promote environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues companywide.

The ESG board is comprised of Allianz executives Clement Booth, Maximilian Zimmerer and Jay Ralph, who will head it. At Allianz, Booth oversees the group’s insurance business, Zimmerer the investments and Ralph the asset management business for private and institutional clients.

Allianz stressed that the ESG board’s role was merely an advisory one and that the various business units would be in charge of implementation. The new board builds on an ESG committee set up last year for Allianz’s €475.9bn in insurance assets.

For the equity part of that portfolio – between 6-7% of assets – Allianz excludes makers of cluster bombs and biological or chemical weapons.A spokesman also said the insurer engaged with other firms whose stock it holds on ESG issues.

Asked whether Allianz was considering an ESG filter for the massive bond part of the portfolio (90%), the spokesman said the board was exploring the idea.

The rest of the allocation is in real estate (1.8%) and renewable technology like wind parks (0.2%).

Allianz has solid sustainable credentials. Beyond being one of the first German asset owners to sign up to the UN PRI, it has been named as a “gold class member” among the listed firms that comprise the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In addition, Transparency International earlier this month ranked the insurer tenth among 105 big companies on questions of transparency. The rankings were based on such factors as availability of information about anti-corruption systems and transparency in financial reporting.