Creating a sustainable framework using low-carbon strategies

In the face of challenges such as water pollution and an ageing population, our company’s core values ‘Be Positive, Enrich Life’ are helping to underline an approach to a sustainable future, writes Fubon Life Insurance


Fubon Life Insurance – the second biggest insurer in Taiwan – offers a full range of life protection, savings, annuity, accident and health insurance for customers. Authorised to conduct long-term insurance business in Hong Kong in 2016, through our strategic partnership with banks and independent financial advisors, we are committed to helping customers in protection, financial planning and the environment and society through our environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

In recent years, global investment in ESG has grown exponentially. Threats relating to climate change and ageing populations are real, prompting increased action from financiers and banks around the world. As a leading Asian economic centre, Taiwan is part of this trend. In 2020, socially responsible investment in the country grew 32.6 percent year-on-year to NT$17.6trn ($635bn), with its proportion in total assets under management hitting 37 percent, up from 30.2 percent in 2019, according to a report by National Taipei University. With a March 2023 net profit of NT$4.8bn ($156m) and cumulative net profit of NT$7.2bn ($235m), Fubon Life Insurance is in a strong position to invest in its ESG programme.

Insurance policy for the environment
As part of our ESG framework, we pursue a programme of sustainability using four key low-carbon strategies: green procurement, a friendly workplace, paperless services, and environmental protection charity efforts. All of these are in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We use our influence to promote green concepts and hope to achieve our vision of a low-carbon lifestyle and environmental sustainability through encouraging our customers’ participation.

We led the industry with the first ‘Work for Green’ initiative

Carbon saving and environmental sustainability are no longer just slogans. Fubon Life Insurance takes practical action to promote reforestation and protect water sources, and to bring people closer to Taiwan’s rich ecology. In 2022, we collaborated with the Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation to select tree planting sites with the goal of restoring the natural ecology. We led the industry with the first ‘Work for Green’ initiative, linking green sustainability to performance by pledging to plant a tree every time a tied agent met their target.

Our green finance strategies have now been adopted by more than 460 sales agencies and 20,000 tied agents across Taiwan and we have planted tens of thousands of trees alongside other ecological conservation and environmental sustainability groups in the country. In response to our parent company’s ‘Run for Green’ initiative, Fubon Life Insurance is promoting coastal windbreak reforestation. In 2022, we called on our employees and the public to plant 85,000 trees in order to make our insurance business a driving force for environmental sustainability.

Tackling river waste
We are also instrumental in promoting river conservation in Taiwan, recognising the crucial role of water resources in our health, safety, biodiversity, and sustainable development. In 2021 we began work with the Society of Wilderness (SOW) to lead Taiwan’s enterprises in launching a three-year continuous quick screening survey of river waste.

Over the past two years, Fubon Life Insurance has helped SOW conduct surveys of important watersheds in Taiwan’s central and northern regions. A watershed is a land area that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays and the ocean. Supported by the River Management Office of Water Resource Agency under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the project has convened a cross-agency coordination platform to discuss waste disposal strategies, demonstrate the value of the surveys, and showcase the benefits of public-private cooperation. The project plans to expand the survey to all major watersheds in Taiwan to increase its impact.

Recently, we collaborated with Taiwan’s Commonwealth magazine to publish the River Conservation White Paper. This includes highlights of the waste screening surveys from important watersheds in Taiwan’s central and northern regions, as well as perspectives from various stakeholders in government, industry, and academia. By turning survey data into sustainable action plans, we hope to raise public awareness about the severity of river waste issues, enhance sustainable consciousness, and connect relevant public agencies, local schools, and communities to work together to help the waterways.

Plastic pollution
According to the SOW survey, disposable plastic products are the most common waste in rivers and streams. In addition to continuing to advocate the core concept of ‘reducing plastic at source and stopping river waste from entering the sea,’ the new edition of the White Paper also introduces the perspective of environmental molecular science for the first time, focusing on the relevance of river waste to the overall environment and human health.

Professor and Director of the Institute of Analytical and Environmental Sciences at Tsinghua University, Chou Hsiu-Tsun, said that the bottom sediment pollutants of river waste will cause water and soil contamination, and these invisible harmful factors will return to the human body through the biological chain. Research data also pointed out that the reduction of male fertility is most likely related to the pollution of the water environment. Human power is national power, and the issue of river waste urgently needs the participation of everyone to improve.

Protecting society
We also acknowledge the societal aspect of ESG – Fubon Life Insurance pays increasing attention to Taiwan’s ageing population. Taiwan is facing serious challenges: while the birth rate has been declining for decades, in 2020 deaths outnumbered births for the first time. It seems inevitable that Taiwan will soon join nations such as Japan, Germany and Italy, where more than one in five of the population is aged 65 or older.

Fubon Life Insurance is in a strong position to invest in its ESG programme

In response, Fubon Life Insurance is proactively helping the public to prepare for a potential ‘dementia tsunami’ by strengthening our protection offering against the risk of disability and long-term care, as advised in the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Long-term Care 2.0 Plan. This plan was promoted by the government in response to Taiwan’s ageing population and has achieved major breakthroughs with regard to raising budgets, increasing care service locations, and upgrading services.

We recognise that the ‘global dementia clock’ is ticking ever faster: in Taiwan, every 40 minutes one more person is diagnosed with this cruel disease. Our cross-generational exchange platform aims to connect ‘Green and Silver’ – the young and the elderly – creating engagement between generations. And, for seven consecutive years, we have supported the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly, the largest elderly welfare organisation in Taiwan, by promoting its ‘Love Bracelet’ programme, designed to prevent elderly people from getting lost. Together with over 100 medical institutions in Taiwan, Fubon Life has implemented a service of giving away a free bracelet with any doctor’s diagnosis of dementia.

The bracelet helps wearers contact a helpdesk if they get lost; healthcare professionals have been able to track down 100 percent of people thus far. In addition, Fubon Life Insurance sponsors specialised support groups for families caring for a family member with early signs of dementia. The support consists of sharing experiences, expert knowledge, and breathing and relaxation exercises, as well as raising awareness of the disease among the general public. We also promote corporate-wide guardian angel programmes.

In 2022, Fubon Life Insurance introduced the Social Return on Investment (SROI) assessment to highlight the effectiveness of the Love Bracelet programme and its social contributions.

Tech for society
We are also committed to developing the latest search and rescue equipment and promoting dementia recognition and education. By integrating digital technology, we hope to help reduce the risk of elderly people with dementia wandering off. Furthermore, the company has invited a leading Japanese dementia expert to share unique clinical perspectives, creating a platform for cross-border dementia prevention and care experiences, and leading Taiwan towards becoming a dementia-friendly and inclusive society.

For Fubon Life Insurance, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and ESG are not just popular buzzwords, but policies that require action and real effort. Fubon Life advocates for environmental sustainability and care for the elderly with dementia. We work with industry, government, academia, and related organisations to expand care efforts and uphold our brand spirit of positive influence. We will continuously strive for societal balance in economic development, environment and culture, and create more possibilities through our actions and our promotion of sustainable insurance and financial values.