There is an activist in all of us
At the Z Zurich Foundation, we work alongside Zurich employees, businesses and NGOs in pursuit of a future where people can thrive in the face of increasing climate hazards, where those of us feeling the stresses of life are empowered to speak up, and where the marginalized in our society can reach their full potential.
What we all have in common is our willingness to turn belief into positive action and impact. For us, this kind of activism could be a Zurich employee volunteering for a local charity event or encouraging others in their team to stand up for issues in their own communities. And it could be uniting organizations and governments to bring about policy-level changes that benefit the many. We are taking pride in redefining what a corporate foundation can be by really getting involved with the causes we champion, on the ground, day after day.
Emergency steps to help victims of the Ukrainian crisis
We have set in place various initiatives to help the huge numbers of people impacted by the war in Ukraine, alongside Zurich.
After monitoring the situation and discussing with charitable organizations involved in response efforts, we have made an initial donation to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) to provide immediate help to people fleeing their homeland.
We also launched a campaign to support humanitarian efforts, pledging to match donations up to a value of CHF 1 million. In just four weeks, it raised CHF 2 million (including our matching) to help the victims of the crisis. The amount raised from individual donations was the largest in our 49 years of existence. In addition to this campaign, which benefits three international organizations (International Rescue Committee, International Committee of the Red Cross & Save the Children), we made over 20 donations to smaller local and international organizations assisting people affected by the crisis, also looking at the mental wellbeing impact of this crisis and the growth of inequalities.
Our COVID-19 response
In 2020, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided immediate assistance to hundreds of charitable organizations and funded local initiatives proposed by Zurich's business units that focus on providing food and medical emergency relief, supporting mental well-being and adapting to the “new normal” by giving people access to technology.
Thanks to the commitment of local charities and Zurich Insurance Group’s people, we have been able to act rapidly and help over 1 million vulnerable people worldwide.
In April 2021, we committed to support UNICEF’s efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses to the most vulnerable through the COVAX Facility. Zurich Insurance Company Ltd’s offices, employees, customers and distributors joined us in the race to end the pandemic. Our global campaign raised enough funds for UNICEF to deliver two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 1.7 million people.
Engagement initiatives for Zurich employees
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.
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 and runner-up receive a one-off donation to the charity of their choice (aligned with our giving guidelines).
In 2022, we gave away 27 awards to recognize individuals/teams for going above and beyond to support their local communities.
Through its matching scheme, the Z Zurich Foundation matches the donations made by Zurich’s employees to support the charitable causes close to their heart.
We have opened our matching schemes to other stakeholders through our campaign appeals to support vulnerable communities in Australia after the devastating bushfires, in Lebanon following the explosion in Beirut, and as part of our responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist people fleeing Ukraine.
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. We collaborate with humanitarian organizations, our charity partners, and Zurich's people to develop a tailored response, giving options for Zurich employees to contribute to relief efforts if they wish to.