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Aegon tops sector in Netherlands’ Transparency Benchmark

The Netherlands, November 20, 2015

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has scored Aegon 185 out of 200 in its Transparency Benchmark, making Aegon the 12th most transparent company in sustainability reporting, and top ranking in the financial services industry.

CIty SkylineThe annual Transparency Benchmark assesses the content and quality of corporate sustainability reports published by Dutch companies in the Netherlands.

The assessment criteria, divided into eight categories, are drawn from over 40 examples of best practice sustainability reporting from around the globe. Aegon scored the maximum number of points available in four of these categories, and improved by 11 pointes versus 2014.

Portrait shot of Aegon Sustainability OfficerMaking information more accessible

"We were particularly pleased that our focus on specific areas has resulted in clear improvements," said Neil Smith, Senior Associate Sustainability at Aegon. "For example, while policies and documentation existed to support the corporate social responsibility aspects of our business practice, we were able to make these more easily accessible and comprehensive."

According to the Benchmark, Aegon's 2014 Integrated Annual Review also provided a clearer overview of the company's strategy, and performance against clear objectives. "Providing a more detailed and understandable explanation of our strategy has made it easier for us to explain the rationale behind, for example, the recent sale of our Life Business in Canada," commented Neil.

Concrete examples

This year's benchmark praised Aegon for the considerable increase in impact investments, but at the same time noted that these still amount to less than 1% of Aegon's total investments.

Aegon scored the maximum number of points available in four categories, and improved by 11 points versus 2014

 

According to Neil, Aegon provided much more detail on the impact of its responsible investment activities this year, and highlighted the efforts the company is making to integrate sustainability and responsible investment considerations into its everyday decision making.

While Neil is pleased with the improvements made this year, he is keen to emphasize that the company's approach remains one of continuous improvement: "The Transparency Benchmarking is a great tool to help us clarify areas which we need to improve going forward."

Room for improvement

Neil acknowledges that Aegon could also do a better job not only in documenting activities such as impact investing, claims and benefits, but in analyzing the impact these have on different stakeholder groups.

He added, "throughout the year we regularly engage with investors, customers, media and other stakeholder groups to make sure that we're on the right track and that these groups have a clear understanding of the decisions we make. This year's benchmark highlighted that there's room for improvement when it comes to documenting the outcome of these meetings."

Aegon's 2015 Integrated Review will be published in March 2016. Neil is confident that by taking on board the recommendations highlighted in the Benchmark, and continuing to maintain the high standards that resulted in this year's assessment, stakeholders will continue to get a clear and reliable overview of the company.