Our CR strategy.
Our Corporate Responsibility Strategy
We believe that our success is entirely consistent with our broader social purpose. We strive to be a company that performs well for our stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers and investors.
Experience tells us that companies that are socially and economically useful tend to outperform financially over the long term. Social usefulness confers a “license to operate” but scale and economic strength, properly aligned to social purpose, enable a well-intentioned company to make a real difference: to the economy, the environment and to the living standards of our customers.
Our CR strategy comes directly from our board and the Group Corporate Responsibility and Ethics committee. We often refer to work by FTSE Group (2005), which in our opinion is timeless in its application, called “Rewarding Virtue (PDF, 3.6 MB)”. This work suggests that the role of a Board in a company is to look for constructive ways for the company to solve external market failures (social, economic and environmental) through its operation and strategy.
Our business has to generate an increasing number of proof points on its inherent economic, social and environmental value. This can only be achieved by accepting that you need to bring in a wider and more diverse set of external views to run the business better.
What do our stakeholders expect?
- Customers: Our products must give confidence in their ability to deliver when they are needed whether paying a pension on the day that someone retires or helping a family when their homes has been flooded.
- Shareholders: They want confidence that because we are a long term business, we have the answers to future uncertainties on economic, social or environmental.
- Employees: They are part of a business which solves social and economic problems for people with products and now increasingly with our direct investments. We see a number of employees engage in CSR work and believe that as a business is an ethical company and run the right way.
- Regulators: Expect a well-run transparent business delivering for our stakeholders. Anticipating future need and dealing with the associated risks diligently.
- NGOs: There is an increasing appetite to work collaboratively with companies on the big issues that matter. Companies have scale, NGOs has first-hand knowledge on what market failure is like in those big issues.
- Governments: Around the world are increasingly looking for businesses to pick up some of the long term risk sharing within countries so that their populations develop a stronger sense of equality.