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Great Eastern Life focuses on sustainable development

Head of Sustainability Winnie Tan outlines insurance firm’s initiatives to foster partnerships in promoting sustainability in Southeast Asia.

As companies across various industries continue to recognise the urgent need for sustainable practices, Great Eastern Life has been spearheading sustainability initiatives and forging collaborations with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and stakeholders to contribute to a more consistent resource-efficient circular economy.

Great Eastern is a leading life insurer in Southeast Asia and its focus on integrating sustainable practices throughout its operations was brought to fore by its head of sustainability, Winnie Tan, in a recent interview with Insurance Asia.

Tan said their company’s commitment to mitigating adverse environmental impact can be drawn from the fact that they have a significant presence in the region, particularly in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

In this sense, Great Eastern Life acknowledges its responsibility in helping customers plan for unforeseen circumstances and providing support in times of need.

“In the event of future climate change issues, we are well-positioned to contribute in a couple of ways,” Tan explained. “Firstly, through our investment portfolio, we focus on decarbonization to support the global low-carbon transition. Secondly, we offer insurance solutions that aid climate change mitigation and address social issues, such as our green single premium and partnership with the special needs trust fund.”

At the same time, Great Eastern Life’s integration of sustainability criteria into underwriting and risk assessment processes showcases its inherent commitment to responsible business practices.

“From a board and management perspective, prioritizing sustainable development is crucial,” said Tan. “We embed sustainability and climate considerations within our Enterprise Risk Management framework, allowing us to make informed decisions on investments and underwriting that align with our sustainability goals.”

The company also focuses attention on collaboration, recognising that the journey towards a low-carbon economy requires joint efforts.

Laying stress on the importance of partnerships with regulators and governments, Tan said: “Working closely with regulators helps us provide feedback on sustainability reporting standards, enabling a smooth transition towards more sustainable practices.”

Also, Great Eastern Life actively engages with its clients to improve datasets and information sharing, facilitating better risk assessment and profiling.

“We work with our clients to enhance their profiling capabilities and acquire more comprehensive data,” Tan said. “This collaborative approach ensures that we collectively progress in the right direction.”

As a leader in the insurance industry, Great Eastern Life is committed to not only managing risks associated with sustainability challenges but also identifying opportunities for positive impact that ultimately benefit the company and its clients.

With a focus on reducing carbon emissions, responsible investments, and strategic partnerships, Great Eastern Life continues to be a driving force in shaping a greener future for Southeast Asia and beyond.

Its sustainable development initiatives have earned admiration from peers in the industry, making the company an example for others to follow.

“Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond corporate responsibility; it’s a core value that defines our actions,” Tan stressed. “We look forward to furthering our sustainable development efforts and inspiring other organizations to join us on this transformative journey.”

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