RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRINCIPLES: SOCIETY
We recognise that good relations and long-term partnerships with local communities are fundamental to our success. Wherever we operate, we will:
- Consider social impacts as part of our investment decision process where possible
- Give our time and resources to projects that promote education, health and economic development in the communities that we serve
- Use our position as a financial services company to improve levels of financial education and to promote financial inclusion
Businesses must earn the trust and respect of their stakeholders. We see ourselves as an integral part of the societies in which we operate. Playing a proactive role in society is a key way to build that trust and respect - so we strive to ensure the impacts we have on society are positive ones.
We do this not only by conducting our core business in a responsible way, but also by taking account of many of the wider impacts that we have as an organisation. For us as a Group this means:
- Making responsible investment decisions
- Promoting financial education and inclusion
- Supporting development in our communities.
Making responsible investment decisions
We are aware that our investments can have a huge consequence for society, both directly (e.g. through financing a project in a community) and indirectly (e.g. through trading shares in a company whose activities subsequently impact on a community). Maximising positive impacts and minimising negative ones, while still ensuring a good return to our customers, is a constant but necessary balancing act.
In 2008 we created our first Group Investment Statement - see this online at www.oldmutual.com/csr. This has been another step in the direction of refining our overall product offering and living up to the Group's new Responsible Business Policy. In 2009 we plan to revisit this statement to reflect any changes to the business, and the marketplace, since its inception.
An important element of our approach is to help our customers make responsible investment decisions, too. Through Skandia UK, for example, we offer our customers a choice of more than 25 ethical and environmental funds.
Promoting financial education and inclusion
Access to basic financial products and advice is essential for people to function fully in society. But it is just as important for people to understand these products, and how they can be used beneficially. These are some examples of initiatives we took in 2008 to help address these issues.
- Skandia-BSAM: In China we launched a financial education brand, Skandia-BSAM Wealth Vision, to promote financial education for our customers and the general public. Under this initiative we produced quarterly magazines outlining general investment principles and arranged customer seminars on investment themes in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen
- Old Mutual South Africa: Poor financial education is a particular challenge in South Africa, where the savings ratio is very low and levels of personal debt are climbing steadily. In response, as part of our Masisizane Fund, we established a Financial Education Trust which provides financial education and advice for individuals
- Nedbank: In 2008 we became the first South African bank to open a million Mzansi accounts - designed for people on low incomes who may not previously have had access to financial services
- Skandia ELAM: In Colombia we worked with a major national newspaper, El Tiempo, to sponsor a special section with articles about saving, personal finance and financial planning. We also ran similar initiatives in two business newspapers.
Maximising positive impacts and minimising negative ones, while still ensuring a good return to our customers, is a constant but necessary balancing act.
Supporting development in our communities
During 2008 we supported a wide range of community projects across the world. Through these we invested in education, health and welfare, local economic development, the environment and the arts. In total we put £7,717,102 into our local communities. These are just a few examples from 2008 - more information on our community investment programmes in each region is available online at www.oldmutual.com/csr
- Old Mutual plc: We donated £350,000 to a range of organisations including Thames 21, Kidz, Crisis, the Deaf Children's Society, Willow Foundation, Children with Leukaemia and the Alzheimer's Society
- Skandia Nordic: Our 'Ideas for Life' Foundation donated SEK5.7 million to 326 different projects
- Skandia UK: We continued to focus on employee volunteering, giving over 500 working hours to community initiatives, including the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and our Saints in the Community partnership with Southampton Football Club
- Old Mutual Zimbabwe: Despite another very difficult year in Zimbabwe we continued our support for local community initiatives including Business Council on AIDS, Emerald Hill School for the Deaf and the Harare International Festival of the Arts
- Skandia ELAM (Colombia): Employees volunteered to mentor 40 children as part of the Mentoreo Intergenerational Dialogue programme
- Old Mutual South Africa: We continued to invest in local communities through the Masisizane Fund and the Old Mutual Foundation. Through the Fund we committed over R21.9m in 2008 to projects focused on developing enterprise, supporting women in business and skills development. More details can be found at www.oldmutual.co.za/about-us/ transformation/masisizane.aspx
- Nedbank: During 2008 Nedbank contributed R43.5 million to projects through donations and employee volunteering
- Old Mutual Financial Network: We matched employee donations to charitable organisations, raising $20,500 for almost 50 initiatives
- Old Mutual Asset Management: We donated $193,000 to local community programmes focused on four areas: community, crisis intervention, healthcare and culture
- Skandia-BSAM: As part of the relief effort following the huge earthquake in the province of Sichuan, we donated RMB1 million to China Red Cross.