Thriving communities

As a global business, we can see the effects of the financial crisis still being felt around the world. In many of the communities in which we operate, job losses and unemployment remain high, particularly for young people. We are helping to address these effects by providing opportunities for employment and by sharing the skills and experience of our people.

Thriving Communities means three key things to us: supporting education and employability, working with enterprise and social entrepreneurs and being big hearted – aiding causes our colleagues are passionate about.

We remain committed to volunteering our time to support local causes, donating 7,158 volunteering hours in 2015.

Why is it important?

Our actions are guided by major social and economic issues, including:

  • Youth unemployment – In 2014, 73.3 million young people worldwide were unemployed;
  • Work readiness – A 2014 survey of 3,000 firms found 9 out of 10 believed school leavers were not ready for employment. Over half said the same about graduates;
  • SMEs – Globally, small and medium enterprises account for around 90% of businesses and over 50% of total employment; and
  • Social entrepreneurship - 31% of social enterprises operate in the top 20 most deprived UK communities.

How do we tackle the issue?

We approach Thriving Communities in three main ways. By being Big Hearted, we look to create positive social impact wherever we do business and, through initiatives such as matched funding and time off for volunteering, encourage our colleagues to support causes they feel passionately about.

Our two other areas of focus are managed in a more structured way. Teams are encouraged to partner with schemes and organisations that allow them to share relevant knowledge and experience.

So through our Education and Employability programme we assist young people to develop the skills and confidence required for the workplace. Read more about what we are doing in the UK by reading our blog story here.

Supporting Enterprise and Entrepreneurship includes working with social entrepreneurs to influence local community issues in ways we otherwise could not. This also provides our people with the chance to build their own skills and generates invaluable insight into the thinking of our SME customers.

Within this framework, each operating country has the freedom to address the issues that are important to their community. The CR team plays a coordinating role, sharing examples of best practice and group-wide case studies. We track progress through quarterly updates provided by each territory’s CR representatives and, every year, conduct a review to confirm our results.

Our community contributions were worth £1.6 million in 2015.

Community contributions include payments to charities, employee fundraising and value of volunteering.

24% of our volunteering time in 2015 was dedicated to supporting employability skills and social entrepreneurs


This year, we are reporting our progress against our original targets set in 2013, as well as how we will achieve our new targets in the future.

Current target Progress
By 2018, we will double our annual community contribution based on a 2013 baseline*. Not achieved

*community contribution includes the value of our payments to charities, hours volunteered and funds raised for charity by our employees.

Over the past two years, the scale of our business and the number of operational units has reduced significantly. As a result, we will not achieve the target we set in 2013. In 2015, the total value of our community contributions was £1,661,760. Our people spent 7,158 hours volunteering in our local communities and dedicated 24% of that time to supporting employability skills development and social entrepreneurs. We made £1,282,336 in direct charitable contributions and our employees showed just how big hearted they are by raising £222,762 for the causes they care about. Despite not achieving our initial target, we are proud of the progress we have made in our core regions in supporting employability programmes, social enterprise and the charities and causes our people are passionate about.

Revising our targets

This year, we introduced new targets to make sure our CR targets reflect the size and strengths of our organisation.

New target Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
We will run a community programme in each core region we operate in that engages and develops our people, supports our local communities and makes a difference for our customers.
  • The value of corporate donations
  • The number of volunteering opportunities/hours
  • The value of employee funds raised for charity
  • The percentage volunteering opportunities supporting employability skills or social enterprise

Plans to achieve our new target

We are proud of the community programmes that we run. Next year, we will review them to ensure we continue to share the skills and expertise of our people in a way that generates the greatest impact. 

Future plans

In the UK, we are trying to enhance the employability prospects of young people in our local communities. We want more of them to join our own team so, building on the success of 2015, we will work closely with our HR function to coordinate our employability workshops and recruitment programmes.

Our partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Canada is set to expand. We will increase the number of risk workshop webinars and extend the mentoring scheme while investigating further opportunities to provide support and advice. Read more about this in our blog story here.

In Scandinavia, we will continue to help the good causes our colleagues feel passionate about by supporting their Christmas and emergency appeals. We also want to maintain our proud volunteering record, providing volunteers for road safety campaigns and many other opportunities through our bespoke volunteering portal.

Highlights from across the group

Unique collaboration between insurance industry and social entrepreneurs

We’re supporting dynamic social entrepreneurs in the UK and Canada

Read more

2015’s Volunteer Week

Over 350 of our staff took part in donation their time to important community projects

Read more
Download highlights PDF