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Supporting society

Over the past three years, we've donated more than €27 million to charities And in 2015, through the Aegon volunteer program, employees spent a record 21,364 hours volunteering - that's more than 10 working years!

Charitable donations and volunteering

We support communities through the taxes we pay, but we also make donations to charities and other good causes. In 2015, we donated moer than €7.6 million to charity, an increase of 40% compared to 2014, and 1.4% of our net income.

Our approach is simple – we believe a local connection is essential if we are to have a real impact. That is why our donations are managed on a local or national level. 88% of our businesses have established a charitable donations or community support program.

In the US, for example, we have the Transamerica Foundation, which gives around 5% of its assets annually to charitable organizations.

In the UK, our Charity Committee is a voluntary body of employees from across the company who organize a wide variety of fundraising activities in support of charities nominated by employees themselves.

Donations policy

Aegon's Policy for Charitable Donations sets out minimum guidelines and standards for donations and support to charities, good causes and other non-profit organizations. Under this policy, Aegon's aim is to direct most of its donations to three main areas: health, welfare or literacy. In 2015, 85% of our donations were made in these three target areas.

In all, we supported close to 500 not-for-profit organizations around the world. These organizations have one thing in common: they aim to provide sustainable, long-term improvement in the communities in which we operate.

In many instances, we try to align our community investments with our company purpose – to help people achieve a life-time of financial security. In 67% of our businesses, for example, we have active financial literacy programs. And we sponsor organizations that, in one way or another, increase the chances of specific groups to become (more) financially secure.

A great example is the approach taken by Aegon the Netherlands in sponsoring Alzheimer's disease research. If you have Alzheimer's disease, it is difficult to make conscious and considered decisions about your financial future. That is why, since 2002, Aegon the Netherlands has sponsored Alzheimer research at the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam. In 2015, we again donated a significant amount to the Center, and encouraged our employees in their awareness of the condition.

Global reach

Sometimes, certain disasters or crises are of such enormity that we feel a local approach is no longer sufficient. In September 2015, when the consequences of the Syrian civil war became painfully visible across Europe, we set up a companywide campaign to support the UNHCR in their relief efforts for refugees in Greece, Turkey, and other neighboring countries. A total of €35,000 was raised in just 20 days, which includes match funding by Aegon's Management Board.

Volunteering

It's not just about the money we contribute. Aegons volunteering program has now been extended to more than 90% of Aegon's global workforce. Last year, Aegon and Transamerica volunteers gave up over 21,000 hours to work on local projects and good causes – the equivalent of nearly €1,000,000 (Based on current average salaries). Employee volunteering, we believe, is also good for business: it improves employee engagement and strengthens ties between the company and its local community.

When Transamerica Life Bermuda and ADAMS started working together with FoodAngel in 2015, this was partly because they wanted to empower their employees. Over a period of three weeks, employees collaboratively collected and contributed food items amounting to 30 containers of food.

Through our sports sponsorships, we promote a healthy lifestyle, particularly among young people. We have sponsored the Royal Dutch Rowing Federation (KNRB) since 2007, and in 2015 we became the official sponsor of The Rowing World Championships.

When we sponsor athletes, we're there for the long run. To give an example, we started sponsoring Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková in 2007. We're proud that today, she's an Olympic gold medal winner still wearing the Aegon logo.

Working closely with suppliers and local businesses

As a financial services company, we don't have a particularly complicated supply chain. But, as a customer, we make an important contribution to the businesses around us. In the Netherlands alone, we work with several thousand suppliers.

In 2015, we spent more than 1.5 billion euros on goods and services. For many of our partners, we're an important client and a significant source of income. Through them, we're supporting the creation of jobs and further economic growth. When we select our suppliers, cost is a key consideration.

But we also want to know that we're working with suppliers who share our basic values. That's why we work through a Sustainable Procurement Policy, which sets out minimum environmental and social standards, covering everything from product safety and corruption to fair wages, working conditions and human rights. In 2015 we assessed 92% of our suppliers for Environmental, Social and Governance risks.

Since 2012, we've been asking all new suppliers to endorse these standards. All our key suppliers are asked to sign a Sustainable Procurement Vendor Declaration, acknowledging and agreeing to Aegon's policy. This declaration, introduced in 2013, is signed whenever contracts are entered into or renewed. And, when contracts come up for renewal, we've also been switching over existing suppliers.

Suppliers are also expected to comply with other Aegon standards, set out in Aegon's Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy. In addition, Aegon has a company-wide outsourcing policy, and in many countries operates through a centralized procurement function.

A responsible approach to tax

We have businesses in more than 25 countries around the world; we have to work with tax authorities in each of these countries, which can make tax a complex subject for us. No company wants to pay too much tax, but at the same time we recognize that we have a role to play in supporting public services through our tax payments.

Aside from corporate income tax, we pay taxes as an employer and VAT on some goods and services. We also act as a tax collector – through employees' social security contributions, for example, or by withholding tax on payments to policyholders.

We are firmly committed to making valuable economic and social contributions to the communities in which we operate, both through our own tax payments and through collection and remittance of third party taxes resulting from our business operations.

Fair taxes

We seek to pay 'fair taxes', which for us means paying the right amount of taxes in the right places. In 2015, we paid over 405 million euros of corporation tax.

Our approach to responsible taxpaying will seek to align the long-term interests of all our stakeholders. It is our policy to allocate profits where value is created through commercial business activity. Once our business decisions are taken, we work as far as possible to optimize our tax position.

For us, tax follows business. Which means our decisions are taken for business reasons, not for tax advantages. We won't for example, set up artificial tax structures, or base business in countries simply to reduce the amount of tax we pay. In our relationships with tax authorities, we strive to work together in a constructive and transparent manner.

Global tax policy

This extends to public discussion and disclosure around the policies and principles of how our tax affairs are approached, and the overall governance and oversight of our tax position. Our approach towards meeting our tax obligations to society, can be found in a summary of our Global Tax Policy & Priniciples of Conduct.

Disclosures around taxes are provided in our financial statements and tax payments in our three main markets: the US, the Netherlands and the UK. We are preparing for country-by-country reporting to be filed with tax authorities in 2017, and are currently assessing the value that public disclosure of this information might have for our business and our stakeholders.

 

 

updated May 6, 2016

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