Engagement initiatives for Zurich employees
The Z Zurich Foundation is more than a select group in a room deciding what is best for the world. We are thinking outside the ticked box by equipping Zurich employees to become activists in their communities. We unite NGOs and governments, businesses and local heroes to work with those most in need. By championing the champions and together looking at the bigger picture – in all its complexity – we have a better chance of addressing our society’s most pressing issues.
We recognize community investment as an important engagement tool and have a number of initiatives in place to maximize Zurich employees’ engagement with the Foundation. We are also identifying and piloting new initiatives to engage our wider stakeholder group.
VolunteeringEvery business unit signed our ‘Volunteer Pledge’: all permanent Zurich employees are entitled to a minimum of one day per year paid volunteering.
Each year, the Z Zurich Foundation allocates a budget to match Zurich’s employee volunteering hours with donations to good causes.
In 2019, Zurich employees volunteered 142,200 hours of which about 31,800 were skill-based. Since the scheme started in 2016, the Z Zurich Foundation matched CHF 1.83m.
Community Hero AwardsIn 2017, we launched a program to recognize Zurich employees who make significant contributions in their communities. Employees can nominate their colleagues for a wide range of activities, including fundraising, volunteering and campaigning. Each winner will receive a one-off donation of CHF 25’000.
The nominations are shortlisted by an employee panel of judges. The final winner for each category is selected by an external panel comprised of some of our charity partners.
In 2020, we received over 150 nominations from across the world. More to come on our 2020 winners!
FundraisingThrough its matching scheme, the Z Zurich Foundation matches the donations made by Zurich’s employees to support the charitable causes close to their heart.
The Z Zurich Foundation matched CHF 4.78m of Zurich employee donations since the scheme started in 2013.
In 2020, we have opened our matching schemes to other stakeholders through our campaign appeals to support vulnerable communities in Australia after the devastating bushfires and also in Lebanon following the explosion in Beirut.
School buildingIn February 2019, 35 Zurich employees from more than 25 business units (including colleagues from Zurich-Santander and Cover-More) came together in Nepal to pilot a new project – building schools in underdeveloped areas with the charity buildOn, an experienced non-profit working across the world to deliver education to the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Nepal was chosen because of the levels of extreme poverty, and consequently our ability to create significant impact, and because of existing links to the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance.
Zurich employee volunteers stayed with host families in order to connect with the community and better experience and understand their traditions and culture. The construction of the schools was financed by the Z Zurich Foundation, with participants raising funds to cover the cost of adult literacy programs. With most of the village illiterate, providing adult literacy classes is vital if the children attending the school are to receive help and support at home. 100% of participants describe their participation as a life-changing experience.
Zurich Community WeekEach year, Zurich encourages its local offices to celebrate the work they do in their communities. We call this Zurich Community Week. Some offices use the week to conduct fundraising or volunteering activities, some use the week to highlight important causes, while others tell stories about their achievements over the past 12 months. No matter how it is structured, we believe employees should use it as an opportunity to reflect on and be proud of their commitment to improving the lives of others.
Disaster MatchingCrises and emergencies happen regularly and can strike anywhere in the world. When a disaster strikes, it is imperative to provide relief as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. While the Z Zurich Foundation cannot respond to all crises, we do provide assistance for two types of disasters:
1) Disasters on a global scale that are so large that they cannot be dealt with by the usual in-country coping mechanisms, and merit a much broader response. The Z Zurich Foundation will launch a global appeal for employee support, with the Z Zurich Foundation matching all donations made, capped at CHF 250,000 maximum per appeal. An example of a campaign we have launched after a disaster has occurred was for the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia.
2) Local disasters, when a major disaster hits a country in which Zurich has an office but where it is not so large as to need a global response. At the request of the local office, the Z Zurich Foundation will launch a local appeal for employee donations, with the Z Zurich Foundation matching all donations made, capped at CHF 10,000 maximum per appeal. Recent examples of disasters for which we have launched campaigns include mudslides in Mocoa, Colombia (2017), and earthquakes in central Italy (2016).
In addition to the cases mentioned here, the Z Zurich Foundation also contributes CHF 500,000 annually to the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. This fund allows local Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies access to emergency funding in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, ensuring relief can still be provided even though donations to public appeals may not yet have begun.