Our Sustainability Commitment

Sustainability is an integral part of who we are

As a mutual with 180 years of history behind us, we have always focused on the long-term to deliver better outcomes for our members today and those yet to join us. In fact, doing the right thing for our customers, employees and communities is part of Wesleyan’s DNA. 

We are proactively seeking to enhance the sustainability of our business in three key areas:

  • Sustainable Products and Investments – offering our clients choices that fit their Environmental and Social preferences
  • Sustainable Operations – we will be operationally carbon neutral by the end of 2023 and for the whole organisation by 2050 at the latest. This will include our investments portfolio
  • Social responsibility – continuing to use our mutuality to make a difference for employees, customers and the communities we live and work within

These priorities are underpinned by robust Corporate Governance – ensuring we have sound management structures, positive employee relations, fair remuneration, and comply with all laws and regulations. We have also pledged our commitment to implementing the recommendations set out by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.

Making a difference

We believe we are a sustainable and responsible business. But we will strive to do more and be better.

In addition to our actions to reduce our carbon footprint, as a financial services organisation we have a strong focus on sustainable investments and banking.

With nearly £8bn of Assets Under Management, our impact on sustainability goes beyond our day-to-day operations. We aim to invest in a sustainable responsible manner while also providing competitive financial returns. To support this work, we have a dedicated Socially Responsible Investment Team (SRI) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) benchmarks for all of our investment funds.

Investing responsibly

When we invest in and lend to companies, we aim to improve the sustainability of our asset portfolios and engage with and challenge investee businesses to become more sustainable.

Our dedicated SRI Team specialise in assessing and reporting on the sustainability of global companies and industries. They review the sustainability of all holdings in the Wesleyan funds and directly influence investment decisions.

We are proud signatories of the UK Stewardship Code 2020, the internationally-recognised UN sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment and Climate Action 100+, an organisation focused on ensuring the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change. All of our investment funds have ESG benchmarks that capture a range of sustainability factors and ensure funds are invested in the most responsible way for our customers. All of our investment funds now have carbon footprint targets too.

Our funds have all exceeded their ESG benchmarks in 2020.

We also take an active approach as a shareholder of the companies we invest in, voting against management where we believe the proposals were contrary to our beliefs on sustainability. We did so on 417 occasions in 2020.

This means investment decisions are made not only based on financial performance but also on ESG factors. We commit to being carbon neutral across our Investment Funds by 2050 at the latest.

Within Wesleyan Bank, we are taking various actions to ensure we are not only managing the risks arising from climate change in line with regulatory expectations, but also putting our customers’ needs at the heart of our strategic offerings. Our plan includes specific actions on innovation into ‘Green finance’ and future opportunities.

Activity is already underway to help us become carbon neutral by the end of 2023...

  • Reducing our use of paper and printing
    Our long-term ambition is to have paperless offices and reduce paperwork needing to be sent to our customers. As we work to get there, we offset the effect of paper printing by reforesting areas such as the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Madagascar and Mexico through Print Releaf. We also reuse 80% of our printer toner cartridges with the remainder being recycled so none are sent to landfill or incineration.
  • Waste reduction
    None of our waste is sent to landfill – 90% is recycled with 10% used as Refused Derived Fuel. Activities to encourage staff engagement with this include Zero Waste workshops.
  • Sustainable practices in our offices
    We’re continuing to make changes in our offices to reduce our carbon emissions – from big ticket items such as changing our electricity tariffs, through to introducing reusable bio-degradable plates for meetings replacing more than 4,600 single use paper plates a year.
  • Travel
    We are reducing our business travel as much as possible and support our employees through the Cycle to Work Scheme. We’re committed to supporting the Birmingham Clean Air Zone initiative.
  • Suppliers
    Our sustainability principles are embedded into our procurement policies and we will put this commitment over any short-term commercial considerations when choosing suppliers, outsourcers and other business partners. All of our stationery is purchased through Wild Hearts, an organisation that uses their activities and profits to create global change and improve the lives of people across the world.
  • Collaborating with the wider business community
    We are proud signatories of the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero and for a green recovery from Covid-19. 
  • A more inclusive Wesleyan
    We have set targets to become a more diverse and inclusive company by having more women and BAME colleagues in our senior leadership grades (40% and 20% respectively by 2025). We have action plans in place and have signed up to initiatives such as the 30% club to help meet these goals.

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Social responsibility

In addition to critical issues such as climate change and responsible investing, we care about people and societal issues and our role in supporting the community.

Wesleyan Foundation

Since the launch of the Wesleyan Foundation in 2017 it has donated over £3 million to more than 500 charities, community groups and social enterprises, benefitting thousands of people across the UK.