Zurich charitable arm reveals Urban Climate Resilience Program

Initiative will support urban communities across 10 countries

Zurich charitable arm reveals Urban Climate Resilience Program

Insurance News

By Ryan Smith

The Z Zurich Foundation, a charitable organization established by members of the Zurich Insurance Group, has announced the creation of its Urban Climate Resilience Program (UCRP), set to launch Jan. 1 and support urban communities in 10 countries around the world.

The UCRP is a collaboration between the Z Zurich Foundation, several members of the Zurich Insurance Group, the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance and several city networks.

“The need for adaptation has evolved to be both more urgent and more permanent than what any of us could have predicted,” said Gregory Renand, head of the Z Zurich Foundation. “Against this backdrop, we welcome the launch of the SharmEl-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda at COP27 and are pleased to bring this new contribution, which further complements our existing climate adaptation work. We are excited by the prospects of this new urban program and invite the public and private sectors to join us in this important journey. The time to act is within everyone’s term of office.”

With natural disasters increasing in frequency and intensity, society’s most vulnerable suffer the greatest impact. The UCRP aims to support vulnerable urban communities in adapting to the impacts of climate-related disasters.

“Building resilience at a community level is dependent not only on local action, but on the systems that impact that community,” said David Nash, climate change and partnerships senior manager at the Z Zurich Foundation. “Our program will help identify tailored local solutions which communities can work on with our partners.

“It will also harness Zurich’s own networks to engage the wider private sector in scaling those solutions. And by working directly through our partners with the local authorities, we aim to influence the ways in which systems can be adapted to better support vulnerable people.”

The program consists of a four-step approach:

  • Identify and engage with urban areas in need
  • Conduct a thorough analysis of each community’s climate-related challenges
  • Plan, develop and deliver tailored solutions
  • Capture learning and scale the program

During the past year, the foundation – working with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Plan International, and Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) – has launched pilot programs in approximately 40 communities in Colombia, Ecuador and the US. In 2023, the foundation plan to launch the program in seven additional countries in collaboration with Zurich’s local offices and the following charities:  

  • C40 Cities in Italy, Japan and Malaysia
  • ICLEI in Turkey
  • R-Cities in Malaysia and the UK
  • IFRC in Australia and Spain

“As an insurance provider, we see firsthand how climate change impacts urban areas with multiple and interconnected hazards,” said Linda Freiner, head of sustainability at Zurich. “Zurich’s employees in these 10 countries will volunteer their expertise to support the development and delivery of intervention plans. Our commitment to supporting community resilience and adaptation is unwavering. A sustainable future depends on it.”

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