Our purpose is to be economically and socially useful by improving the lives of our customers, building a better society for the long term and creating value for our shareholders, suppliers and communities.
These include the need to ensure that people enjoy a secure and rewarding retirement, helping people create financial resilience through insurance and saving, the urgency to build homes across the UK, improve infrastructure, develop green energy, harness digital opportunities and stimulate economic growth.
The changing relationship between individual responsibility and the traditional welfare state means that our industry plays a bigger role in people’s lives and has to provide socially useful products and act as a catalyst for broader economic improvement.
We use our economic expertise and investment strength to take a position of leadership in broader society. We relate to the day-to-day lives and concerns of our customers, and aim to set new and higher standards of supervision and engagement with the businesses in which we invest.
We have developed a sustainability strategy by understanding the complexity of vulnerability trends. We work with “critical friends” from a Research & Development perspective to deliver new sustainable products, services and investments at all stages in a customer’s life.
We understand that managing climate risk is crucial to building resilient communities, but equally the demands of our environmental and social obligations can sometimes compete. So we invest where we see potential to drive decarbonisation while at the same time providing long-term, positive outcomes for investors and society alike.
We advocate an investment-led recovery with a greener approach to the built environment and efforts to grow climate-friendly business. At the same time, we need to manage the risks and ensure the resilience of our business and investments. We use our influence as a large investor to promote a transition to a low carbon economy. This includes supporting the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. We have also committed to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).
Our decision making process needs to ensure that we integrate wider sustainability/ ESG considerations. For example, our commitment to building more social housing will inevitably impact on our carbon emissions. But our balanced and measured approach to all our commitments means they are considered holistically, in the broader context of our vision for inclusive capitalism.
As a service based business we want to improve every year and put a lot of work into making what we do and how we do it tangible. How we deliver our products, services and investments, how we behave and make decisions, and how we execute our purpose will make or break our reputation and the level of trust that we have with our stakeholders.
Our customers (either retail or institutional) trust us to deliver to them in their time of need. As their life and needs change, we are there to deal with their ups and downs, as well as their aspirations.
Keeping the balance of long term sustainability, operating within the UN’s sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and improving our business performance each year involves a governance programme that keeps us focused.
We don’t always deliver everything ourselves to our stakeholders. We also rely upon suppliers. Our procurement spending spans all categories across the group, from services and materials for our buildings to IT systems and desktop hardware and software.
We operate within a number of networks (including ‘critical friends’), and get rated by people based on our performance and collaborative work that helps deliver our strategy.
We believe better decisions are made having a diverse set of views. We encourage a challenging mind-set – a positive one which helps us to be thought leaders rather than followers. We aim to ensure all employees of all backgrounds are treated equally and contribute fully to our purpose and values.
Climate Change is something that we believe we can influence as a result of our investment decisions, product designs and own energy usage. We aim to do everything we can to limit the global temperatures increasing by more than two degrees.
We have a responsibility to help achieve the aims of the United Nations Sustainable Goals (SDGs). The goals help guide us, our customers and society towards a brighter, sustainable future. We can make a significant contribution to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all.