Sustainability indicator system for the insurance industry


While there are already some decidedly sustainability-oriented banks in Germany, this is hardly the case for insurance companies so far. So while insurers tend to be laggards in the area of sustainability, they are, on the other hand - especially in the composite sector considered here - strongly affected by climate change and would - e.g. through appropriate insurance products or investment according to ESG criteria - have different starting points for combating climate change, among other things.

Research question

Accordingly, the aim is to investigate whether insurance companies are already actively using these potential levers and starting points, and whether they have thus already set out on the path to greater sustainability. Both the company and the product level are to be examined.

This is to be made possible by creating an independent sustainability indicator system.


The creation of such a system for the insurance industry requires a multi-stage approach. First, the existing ratings, rankings, (transparency) initiatives and indicator sets must be reviewed and checked for their suitability. The gaps identified in this way must be closed by developing one's own indicators. In this context, it is particularly important to link science and practice, which must be ensured on the one hand by a diverse composition of the project team and advisory board, and on the other hand by continuous involvement of the various stakeholders (insurance companies, customers, brokers, etc.). Implications of the "EU Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth" are also to be taken into account in this context.

The key figures developed in this way will then be collected from the insurance companies.


Within the framework of the project, an analysis and rating system consisting of 300 individual indicators was developed with regard to the sustainability of non-life insurance against the background of the EU Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth. The sustainability rating indicators were developed on the basis of a theory-led approach and by taking existing rating approaches into account. The guiding principle was the question of the transformative effects of insurance, in the sense of a leverage function for the climate-neutral transformation of the economy and society. In a first analysis, 19 non-life insurance companies from German-speaking countries were examined and the results of the analysis published.

SponsorDeutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and project partners
SupportersDeutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)
Project Manager HFTProf. Dr. Tobias Popović
Project partnersGreensurance Stiftung, Für Mensch und Umwelt gemeinnützige Gesellschaft mbH
Duration01.10.2019–30.09.2021 extended until 28.2.2022



Name & Position E-Mail & Telephone
Professor / Ethikbeauftragter der HFT Stuttgart+49 711 8926 2962 L 109