Addressing inequality in housing, health and dignity in later life
2013 is the year for “Stepping up” – one of my challenges to the organisation is “How can Legal & General can step into the gaps caused by changes in the markets and broader society?”
Our Executive Committee has looked forward for the next few years at the social, economic and environmental inequalities that we believe are material to society and where our business can make a difference.
We want to continue to campaign for better social mobility. We strive to make sure that each generation has the opportunity to live a better life than the previous one. What concerns us is that a number of countries around the world there is strong evidence that this may not be the case in the areas of Housing, Health and providing Dignity in Later Life.
To take each in turn
- Housing – there are issues of lack of housing supply, homes that are unfit for purpose and housing wealth locking people into set lifestyles with little movement. Why?
- Health –the lack of equality in healthcare services means that choice and access to services is diminishing. Why?
- Dignity in later life – The level of dignity and choice when people are in the working population drops when people retire. Why?
We also have a responsibility to do business better each year with customers, with our suppliers, as an investor and with our employees. Our public targets hold us to account on:
a) Those areas we need to better understand in order to support our business strategy
b) Those areas of the business where we need to make continuous improvements based on stakeholder feedback.
The Group Corporate Responsbility and Ethics committee (GCRE) , which I chair, has increased its influence across the Group on responsible business: this is now firmly embedded in our day-to-day operations, and our employees clearly believe that commercial success drives increased responsibility.
We have increased our work in supporting our international subsidiaries and joint ventures, including by working with Business in the Community (BITC) to benchmark our global portfolio of businesses. This will enable us to expand our businesses with good governance in place and a strong sense of social and economic purpose. All businesses have shown improvements in ESG performance in 2012. Frameworks such as the UN Global Compact will guide us to running these businesses more effectively as we grow.
We believe that our business strategy for the next few years will be best achieved by working with a number of key stakeholders who already have an understanding of the material issues and opportunities we face, using their insights so we can bring marketplaces, our expertise and scale to bear on the most important issues faced by our customers.
They win, we win, and society wins.
Group Chief Executive
Chair Group Corporate Responsibility and Ethics Committee