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QBE Insurance names new Group Head of Sustainability

Nicola Schroder replaces Kate Lyons, who left the role in December 2023 after two years.
Melodie Michel
QBE Insurance names new Group Head of Sustainability
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Australian insurance firm QBE has promoted its Head of Environment and Transition Nicola Schroder to Group Head of Sustainability.

Schroder replaces Kate Lyons, who left the role in December 2023 after two years to join the Insurance Council of Australia as Chief Information Officer.

As Group Head of Sustainability, Schroder’s responsibilities will include sustainability governance, strategy implementation, human rights and modern slavery initiatives, as well as driving social impact through the QBE Foundation.

Schroder chairs the Insurance Council of Australia’s Net Zero Working Group and is a member of the UNEPFI Principles for Sustainable Insurance board, QBE’s AUSPAC Foundation Committee and the ICA’s Climate and Resilience Committee.

She joined QBE in 2019 as Head of Environment and has progressed within the group’s sustainability department over the last five years – including a six-month stint as interim Group Head of Sustainability. 

"Nicola has been instrumental in driving our sustainability initiatives over the last five years. Her deep expertise and leadership will be invaluable as we continue to integrate sustainability across the enterprise,” said Viv Bower, Group Executive, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability. 

QBE has now begun looking for someone to fill Schroder’s previous role.

QBE sustainability journey

QBE Insurance is working towards achieving net zero emissions in its own operations by 2030, and a net zero underwriting portfolio by 2050. As of 2023, it had converted to 100% renewable electricity use in offices and reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75% from a 2018 baseline.

The group is currently mapping and assessing its portfolio emissions, an exercise it says is not without challenges: “Insurers, including QBE, have a material data challenge in measuring and disclosing attributable emissions in relation to their underwriting portfolios as policyholders can range from small and medium enterprises, with limited publicly available emissions data and where emissions disclosures are yet to be standardised, through to large corporates.

“Our work is ongoing, as emissions data coverage and quality is expected to continue to improve globally, driven predominantly by growth in sustainability reporting regulations.”

QBE left the UN-backed Net Zero Insurers Alliance in 2023 (along with  AXA, Scor, Allianz, Lloyd’s, Sompo, Zurich, Swiss Re, Hannover Re, and Munich Re) after anti-ESG campaigners in the US started accusing members of the group of violating antitrust laws, but says it “remains focused on supporting an orderly and inclusive transition to a net‑zero economy”.