Strong governance ensures we do the right thing. Our governance framework enables us to respond to risks such as climate change by making sure they are understood, identified, assessed, measured and managed by all our businesses.
Nigel Wilson, Group CEO, is ultimately responsible for the Group’s strategic direction and progress on inclusive capitalism and sustainability. The Group Chief Risk Officer is responsible for ensuring we understand, identify, measure, monitor, control and report risks in line with the risk strategy and risk appetite parameters set by the Group Board. The Group Chief Financial Officer, who is also a Board member, ensures risks connected to our investments are properly managed.
The Group Board Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee is responsible for ensuring compliance with the principles of good corporate governance. This includes oversight of the group strategy from the Diversity and Inclusion Council and business ethics.
The Chief Risk Officer is responsible for ensuring a strategy is in place to understand, identify, measure, monitor, control and report risks from climate change in line with the risk strategy and risk appetite parameters set by the Group Board.
The Group Board, through the Group Risk Committee and Executive Risk Committee has delegated oversight of the management of the risks associated with climate change to the Group Environment Committee. More information is available in our TCFD report on the governance on Climate Change.
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is presented to the Board annually, giving the Board’s executive and non-executive directors the chance to formally engage with the CSR programme at least once a year. In 2020, ‘addressing climate change’ became one of our six strategic growth drivers, emphasising the importance of climate risk and the opportunities arising from the necessary energy transition.
The Group Board attend our yearly Chairman's Awards for Employees.
Each governance committee undertakes activity designed to improve the way our business is run. Through our investment management business’ active ownership approach, we engage with investee companies to improve their governance performance. The power of our influence elsewhere makes it all the more important to ensure that we govern our own business in the right way.
The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council was formed in October 2020 with the aim of reviewing and refreshing the group-wide aspirational goals for D&I. Formed of senior leaders across the business, the council has already begun to enable meaningful discussions and build group-wide consensus about how to improve D&I outcomes. Topics covered so far include our approach to recruiting more diversely; the launch of a global mentoring approach; and aligning policies, processes and practices.
The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Committee, sponsored by Non-Executive Director Lesley Knox, brings together representatives across Procurement, HR, Risk and other business functions as well as our recognised union, Unite. The committee has helped develop our new Sustainable Sourcing Principles Statement, which provides guidance for responsible procurement decisions across the business.
Our Group Health and Safety Committee, supported by location-based committees and committees in our subsidiaries, brings together representatives from each business division as well as Unite. The committee’s role is not only too oversee our groupwide H&S policy statements, management systems and process and procedures, but also to drive continual improvement in our management of these issues. The Committee’s focus for 2020 was principally on safely managing Covid-19.
All committee meetings are held quarterly.
From 2021, an ESG measure will become part of the annual bonus performance conditions for executive directors. This was included in the new remuneration policy which shareholders approved in 2019.