Public trust in business has declined in the last year – but it is possible to change perceptions: 75% of people agree that a company can act in a way that both increases profits and improves the economic and social conditions within its local community. Responsible Business means demonstrating how we engage with customers, employees and suppliers, being open and transparent in how we manage our operations and delivering our products and services appropriately. These actions can help us build public trust.
This year, in response to the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, we have reviewed the way we recruit employees and engage with third parties. We have strengthened our policies and procedures to make sure that modern slavery has no place within our business.
Why is it important?
Our actions are guided by major responsibility issues, including:
- Transparency - Public trust in business has declined in the last year with 75% of people agreeing that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.
- Support for vulnerable customers – the industry is committed to supporting vulnerable customers. In February 2016, the UK Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce published a report outlining best practice recommendations for the industry. These proposals aim to improve the experience and outcomes of customers who may be facing challenging personal circumstances.
- Gender balance – Women only make up 26% of FTSE 100 boards and the percentage of female executive directors in the FTSE 100 sits at just 8.6% (2016).
- Modern slavery – 48.5 million people estimated to be in modern slavery.
How do we tackle the issue?
We continuously review how we do business, especially in these times of uncertainty and change. We make sure that we are resilient, with the right people, products and processes in place to compete in our markets. At the same time, we ensure that we operate responsibly in a way that all our stakeholders can be proud of.
Building trust with our stakeholders by being more transparent in how and what we communicate is just one of the ways in which we integrate corporate responsibility into our daily business.
As a responsible business, we have robust controls in place to operate efficiently and effectively, such as actively managing our risks and listening to and acting on customer, colleague and investor feedback.