In recent months, I’ve spent some time with our customers listening to how your lives, finances and professions have changed since the onset of the pandemic. This helped me to determine how Wesleyan can better meet your changing needs, both now and in the future.
Together, we can make a difference
One of the key topics of discussion was on Wesleyan’s approach to sustainability, and more specifically sustainable investments. Our research showed that 78% of customers want to see sustainability at the heart of what we do, with 74% wishing to invest in sustainable funds.
For over 180 years, caring has always been part of our DNA. But in 2021, we can’t be ‘all about you’ unless we’re all about the world you live in too.
As a responsible business we have already taken steps to understand and improve the impact we have on society and the environment. The Wesleyan Foundation has awarded more than £3.5m to good causes, helping more than 100,000 people to date and we have committed to being operationally carbon neutral by the end of 2023, and for our whole organisation, including our investments portfolio, by 2050 at the latest.
But we know this is expected of us. As a mutual, and a major investor of your money, we wanted to do more than that. We wanted to ensure that you could be proud of what your investments are doing, and not just how they are doing.
We also believe that making a difference with your investments should not be limited to just one or two of our funds, like many in the market. Instead, we’ve chosen to be bold and go further with our commitment, which is why I am delighted to confirm that all Wesleyan directly managed investment funds meet a new set of sustainable investing principles; a set of clear criteria that helps determine where we invest your money, designed entirely with you in mind.
In order to make this change, we have sold millions of pounds worth of investments in companies that did not meet our criteria and invested further into ones that do. We believe that sustainable businesses are more likely to do well in an ever-changing world and so are likely to be more profitable too, which impacts how our funds perform and the level of investment returns we can generate for everyone who invests with us.
We are all about you
More broadly it’s our role as a trusted mutual to offer you a greater level of confidence and stability when it comes to your finances. Nearly two years since the pandemic began, I wanted to add my reassurance that Wesleyan continues to be a financially strong business able to take long-term decisions in the interest of our members.
We continue to pay 96% of personal income protection claims, ensuring we are there for you when you need us most (industry average 87%). And we continue to put the needs of our members, customers, colleagues and communities at the heart of what we do every day.
We are incredibly proud of our mutuality and the steps we are taking to be a more sustainable business. We hope our efforts not only meet but exceed your expectations of Wesleyan.
You can find out more about sustainability at Wesleyan on our website, including details on our sustainable investing criteria and our carbon reduction commitments, as well as the work of our charitable Foundation.
Group Chief Executive