As a company we continually work to make our business more transparent and explainable to our stakeholders. There are a number of initiatives and opportunities to improve during 2015 that we wanted to highlight.
Opinions on key issues
During 2015 we have increased the amount of opinion we have out there on what we believe are the big issues that matter around housing, health, energy and an ageing population as our strategic objectives.
We do this in two ways
- Our CEO’s Blog provides insight to some of the opportunities and solutions that we can play a part in in improving the economy, society and the environment
- We also invite guest blogs from partner organisations who we are working alongside to solve some of these opportunities
This provides our stakeholders with a sense of what we stand for, brings us more opportunities from organisations looking to work with us and questions on how we operate.
Scrutinising the way we run our business
During 2015 we continued to work within the www.responsible100.co.uk network to test our processes and policies with leading NGOs. This involves monthly meetings where NGOs set the standard of good transparency and then the business provide a draft answer to the questions. This gives the business a chance to get feedback on their policy area. In 2015 and early 2016 our policies in the following areas benefitted from NGOs feedback on their approach and performance:
- Contribution to a low carbon economy
- Approach to modern slavery
- Carers in the workplace
- Animal testing
- Green technology
- Employee representation
- Unionisation in the workplace
This network provides us with an efficient way of getting feedback on our policy areas.
Critical Friends in reviewing processes and products
As part of our vulnerable customers policy initiative we have increase the number of 'critical friends' to help us to review existing products and services offered to customers. This is very complementary to the Product Life Cycle Management Reviews we already carry out.
New policies developed or revised during 2015
A number of new policy areas have been developed during 2015 across the Group including
- A revised whistleblowing policy
- A new groupwide vulnerable customer policy
- Our policy in response to the UK Modern Slavery Act
- A revised inducements policy
- A revised 'Working with Government policy'
- LGIM climate change policy
Materiality on our US Operations
During 2015 we focused on delivering an independent materiality analysis involving over 165 stakeholders in Legal & General America and Legal & General Investment Management America to recognise the increasing importance of these businesses in the group’s growth plans. Full details of this work can be found in the materiality section.
Looking ahead - emerging pressure points based upon stakeholder feedback
During early 2016 the Group Corporate Responsibility and Ethics Committee reviewed a number of pieces of feedback on the Group’s ESG performance from our stakeholders. These are around areas where we need to improve transparency in 2016 and beyond.
- Proving Social Value - To attract more finance from social bond funds we were asked to come up with “One Number” for the social impact of our business on a yearly basis. This moved beyond the transparency on providing claims statistics and product performance data. The typical question being asked is “How many people’s lives were improved by you being in business in any given year” This thread of questioning is also increasing in the real asset world where the “Social return on Investment” for buildings is coming to the fore.
- It’s in the balance - We continue to see an increasing interest in the underlying investments made from the balance sheets in the Group and our subsidiary companies and the underlying assets in our pensions master trust default fund. The need to understand how those assets support decarbonisation in the economy has been raised by our customers and organisations like Share Action and Open Corporates who are campaigning to improve beneficial ownership transparency.
- Service and Culture- As a service business we have been asked a number of questions by analysts about the link between employee engagement and customer services levels particularly as we have had a lot of change around our business. There is increased scrutiny of the way that the culture of a business is measured particularly within financial services businesses. We are increasingly being asked for proof points and evidence of our culture as a business.
- Working with Government - We have become more active in using long term capital to provide products and services which benefit wider society, many stakeholder are keen to know whether this policy embraces market inclusiveness principles. This is also linked to an increased need for disclosure around taxation at a country by country level.
This feedback is being used to shape our ongoing policy work and has also informed our forward looking ESG public targets for 2016 and beyond.
Adopt “Blueprint for Better Business” and “Responsible 100” as core benchmarks on our responsible business performance.
Deliver a fit for purpose Customer Privacy and Cyber Security policy overseen by Group Board.