Responding to a Changing Climate

2020 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT : Collapsed

Climate change risks represent a serious challenge for our operations, business groups, investments, and supply chain. We believe these risks require action from multiple stakeholders, and we support governments encouraging energy efficiency, renewable power generation, and low-carbon innovation. At MetLife, we are in the business of mitigating risk and protecting families and their futures. We manage risk so that individuals and communities can realize their full potential. The type of risk posed by climate change is unique in human history, and we recognize that we can play a significant part in finding a solution.

In 2020 we took several significant steps to evolve our efforts to combat climate change decisively.

  • Launching new 2030 Environmental Goals (see page 53);
  • Integrating climate risk into MetLife’s risk management framework and developing impact assessment capabilities;
  • Enhancing our global environmental policy and climate change statement which includes Board-level oversight;
  • Launching a Sustainable Financing Framework to further align our business and investment activities with our climate agenda and issuing the U.S. insurance industry’s first “green” funding agreement-backed note–a $750 million issuance through Metropolitan Life Global Funding I, that will support environmental improvement.
  • Managing more than $28.7 billion in green investments2, including energy-efficient real estate and renewable energy projects; and
  • Creating a cross-functional working group around ESG-related advocacy issues.

We also continued our advocacy efforts through our membership in the Climate Leadership Council, active participation through various industrywide working groups and trade associations, and engagement with groups like ENERGY STAR and Fitwel that are transforming the sustainability of buildings.

Learn more in our Statement on Climate Change. >

Traditional and information collaboration areas at MetLife ENERGY STAR GCS site in Omaha. Copyright Andrew Rugge.

Maintaining Carbon Neutrality

For MetLife, carbon neutrality involves taking both immediate action on climate change and navigating a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy. We are proud to have achieved carbon neutrality across our global corporate office portfolio, vehicle fleet, and employee business travel for five consecutive years1. As a carbon neutral company, our first priority is always to integrate sustainability best practices across our global operations and drive continuous improvements in waste, water, energy, and carbon reductions.

In 2020, we saved energy due to much lower occupancy and reduced hours across our offices, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, we saved 48,854 MWh in energy compared to 2019, as well as 22,625 metric tons CO2e in Scope 3 emissions as a result of minimal business travel. We also continued to conduct annual indoor air quality tests at our offices in the U.S. and are looking into upgrades such as bi-polar ionization (BPI) that will increase air filtration within our buildings, while also reducing energy consumption. BPI is a proven solution that supports a long-term, notable decrease in airborne and surface contamination of COVID-19, as well as achieving significant reductions in energy use.

For the GHG emissions that we cannot reduce in the short term through improvements like the ones described above, we purchase renewable energy and support third-party-certified carbon reduction projects in markets where we operate around the world. Each project also helps stimulate local economies, including prioritizing things like job creation, human health, and women empowerment, and aligns to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Looking Ahead

We are also proud of the environmental goals we have set for 2030, which were established after an intensive, cross-functional process, including industry benchmarking, reviewing the latest climate science, and gathering input from over 30 internal stakeholders globally. For instance, our emissions goal is intentionally in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree Celsius recommendations, given the criticality of this decade for climate action.

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1 MetLife’s goals for GHG emissions and carbon neutrality apply to all of its owned and leased offices across the world, its fleet of automobiles in its Auto & Home business line (Scope 1 and 2 emissions), and its employee business travel (Scope 3 emissions).

2 See page 71 for additional details.