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.
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:
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.
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.
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.