Travelers creates sustainability chief role

Aug 20, 2019
Yafit Cohn to lead company’s ESG efforts

The Travelers Companies has appointed Yafit Cohn to the newly created post of chief sustainability officer. She now leads Travelers’ ESG efforts and sits on the company’s ESG and disclosure committees.

In her new role, Cohn reports to Christine Kalla, executive vice president, general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer.

Cohn joined Travelers in September 2017 as associate group general counsel. She was previously counsel and a member of the public company advisory practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. In that role she advised corporate management and boards of directors on corporate governance and securities law matters. She is presently chair of the Society for Corporate Governance’s new sustainability practices committee.

Travelers, under Cohn’s leadership, recently launched a new sustainability website that tackles 16 topics the insurance company has identified as its main ‘drivers of sustained value.’ These are: business strategy and competitive advantages, capital and risk management, climate strategy, community, customer experience, data privacy and cyber-security, disaster preparedness and response, diversity and inclusion, eco-efficient operations, ethics and values, governance, human capital management, innovation, investment management, public policy, and health and safety.

The company developed this sustainability website taking into account leading sustainability disclosure frameworks. It also features stand-alone reports responding to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board standards for the insurance industry and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

‘Deeply rooted in our culture is the recognition that industry-leading results are inextricably linked with gratified customers and business partners, engaged employees and healthy communities,’ Travelers chair and CEO Alan Schnitzer says in a statement. ‘A chief sustainability officer will enable us to deepen the sophistication of our sustainability efforts, tell our story more effectively and engage more broadly as a thought leader in the related and evolving public policy dialogue.’

Cohn says in a statement: ‘I’m honored to step into this new role at a company with a history of demonstrating that long-term success depends on a commitment to all stakeholders… I look forward to continuing to help articulate Travelers’ view of sustainability and further contributing to the important public conversation surrounding sustainable business practices.’

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