Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business

Friends Life publishes its 2013 CR Report 'Aligning practice and purpose'


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Friends Life is a company with just a three-year history, but a 200 year heritage. Its purpose is to protect customers and their loved ones should they fall ill or die and to make their money work harder for them to provide a prosperous retirement.

Financial resilience is at the heart of its purpose and there are plenty of examples throughout this report where practice aligns with this purpose.

For example, targeting fundraising for its long-term charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support, towards Welfare benefits services. Four out of five cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness. The gruelling physical and emotional impact of cancer is hard enough without the additional burden of money worries.

2013 saw a focus on Workplace and Community agendas at Friends Life, to reinforce the core purpose, build reputation and improve employee engagement.

Key activities in Workplace included:

  • Champion membership of Business in the Community (BITC) Opportunity Now and member of Race for Opportunity – and achieving Bronze accreditation in its first submissions for both benchmarks
  • Group Chief Executive set up a Diversity Forum, who held 20 focus groups involving over 300 colleagues, producing a report and action plans to take gender and disability agendas forward
  • Wellbeing Fairs held across all sites to showcase all services, facilities and opportunities available to colleagues to support wellbeing and engagement
  • More than 300 colleagues enrolled in their ‘Champions Programmes’ to help share the Friends Life story amongst peers and colleagues
  • 120 managers enrolled into its new Management Development Programme
  • Founding member of BITC Workwell’s Mental Health Champions group
  • Won the BITC Opportunity Now and Government Equalities Office co-sponsored Transparency Award – Friends Life take the view that what gets published, gets managed better

Friends Life Community Investment Strategy was developed during 2013 to expand the number of Community Foundation endowments to cover all UK offices, targeting money management/dept advice projects from its endowment grants – aligning practice and purpose again. Matched funding of individual fundraising for colleagues’ favourite charities was introduced to add to the GAYE matched funding the company have provided for many years.

Environmental business efficiencies continued to be recognised, with reaccreditation of the Carbon Trust Standard, held since 2009. Despite expanding the reporting boundary for its emissions reporting, they still achieved a 4.9% reduction during 2013. The company will be applying for the Carbon Trust Waste Standard in 2014.

The full report can be viewed here.

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