In 2008 we:
- Completed our first open submission for the Carbon Disclosure Project
- Held over 100 investor meetings
- Won 2 customer service awards
- Invested £7.7 million in local community programmes
A difficult year
In 2008, the global economic crisis created extremely difficult market conditions for Old Mutual. With a new senior management team in place, we have begun refocusing our strategic direction and approach to our risks and responsibilities. We have begun a project to strengthen our operating model. This involves revisiting our processes for product approval, our risk appetite and our governance structures.
Establishing new Group benchmarks
As part of this, we are looking afresh at the processes we have in place to embed responsible business practices across our business units. As a Group, we are composed of many companies at different stages of development in their corporate responsibility activities. For example, in most of our businesses in southern Africa and the Nordic regions, our management of social and environmental issues is well developed. But in regions where we are relatively new to the market, there is still scope to improve these structures.
Through their daily decisions and actions, our people have a crucial role to play in making us a truly responsible business. Ensuring that these decisions and actions meet the same high standards in all markets is a considerable challenge as we employ 57,000 people and operate in 40 different countries.
We have a clear set of values that provide us with a good starting point. But what really matters is how we live those values. In 2008 we developed an overall Group Responsible Business Policy, incorporating all of our CR areas. The principles which underpin this policy provide a benchmark for our individual business units, who are responsible for delivering against them at a local level. This section of our Annual Report shows some examples of how the principles are being applied across the Group.
To demonstrate our real commitment to manage CR issues we intend during 2009 to establish a forum to provide Group focus on social and environmental impact areas that are material to our business.
Engaging with others
Much of our progress so far has been informed by the stakeholder engagement work that we completed in 2008. This included customer roadshows, employee feedback surveys, supplier workshops and thought leadership conferences.
Our progress in 2008 has been recognised by external audiences. Old Mutual retains its membership of the FTSE4Good Index, while Nedbank and Old Mutual are both included in the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment Index. Nedbank has also been listed on the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index for the fourth year.
2009 and beyond
There is still much for us to do in 2009 and beyond to build up our reputation as a trusted business and corporate citizen. However, the tools we have now put in place should enable us to manage our risks and impacts more effectively into 2009.