Aegon is one of the founding signatories of the UNEP-FI’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI). The aim of the PSI is to make sure sustainability becomes business as usual.
The PSI comprises four basic principles. Against each of these principles, we’ve set ourselves specific goals and targets. Each year we report our progress. We put these goals and targets in place three years ago – when the PSI was launched. In many areas, we've already reached the objectives we set for ourselves. That's why we've now set new goals, outlined below.
We have internal policies, procedures and frameworks covering a number of relevant areas, including: responsible investment, health & safety, community investment, human rights, remuneration, sustainable procurement, product development and approval, and fraud and other financial wrong-doing. We also have a Code of Conduct which applies to all Aegon employees worldwide. Most of these policies and frameworks are available at www.aegon.com. Policies are supported by training and development programs. Where relevant, policies are incorporated directly into Aegon's operational risk management framework (including tax, responsible investment and health & safety etc.) Policies are also updated regularly.
We engage regularly with customers, business partners and other stakeholders through polls and surveys, conferences, workshops, and face-to-face meetings. We use intelligence from our stakeholders to improve our products and services, and to ensure our business remains as accountable and relevant as possible. In some cases, we have departments dedicated to engagement (Investor Relations, Global Government & Public Affairs, Procurement etc.). Engagement is also an integral part of our approach to responsible investment. We also engage through our membership of international organizations and initiatives (including the Global Coalition on Aging, Geneva Association, Principles on Responsible Investment etc.).
Aegon has a dedicated Global Government & Public Affairs department, whose aim is to support regulators and lawmakers. We carry out or fund research into key ESG issues (including the impact of aging and the serious illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's), and we work with other stakeholders through multilateral organizations and agreements.
Each year, we publish progress against the PSI principles. Our progress report is included as part of our Review, and is available online
|Goal||Progress update March 2017
|Ensure responsible business is an integral part of Aegon's corporate strategy – of which the implementation is the responsibility of Aegon's highest management level||We redefined our Responsible Business strategy and now have a focus area and direction. The intersection between financial security and well-being. We will continue to define this strategy in 2017, developing goals and objectives and expect to have country specific implementation plans by the end of 2017.|
|Where possible, incorporate our sustainability policies into our existing risk and compliance frameworks to ensure effective identification, monitoring and management of ESG risks.||We incorporated our global Responsible Investment Policy and our Health & Safety statement into our operational risk management framework. In 2017 we will perform an attestation process on these policies.|
|Only offer products and services that customers can trust.||We rolled out a mandatory Information Security E-learning training module for all our employees and started further initiatives in order to embed privacy considerations in our business models.|
|Conduct a climate change risk assessment across our investment portfolio, and develop an appropriate governance process based on the climate risks and opportunities identified.||Aegon Asset Management ran a project to analyze investment risks related to climate change. Key conclusion was that there is significant uncertainty around how climate change will impact financial investments, and that current methodologies to measure the impact have considerable limitations.|
|Respond to clients quickly, fairly, clearly and transparently at all times.||In the US, we developed a voice and tone guide for Transamerica on simple and clear communications. In the Netherlands we have made similar steps towards uniform fair and transparent communications with a ‘communications style’, measurement instruments and trained writing or call coaches to help our customer-facing employees.|
|Goal||Progress update March 2017
|Proactively and regularly disclose our progress in managing ESG issues and implementing our PSI commitments via our Annual Review and website.||Each year we publish progress against these principles. For next year we expect to have objectives and targets as part of our new Responsible Business strategy, as well as focus areas for the Sustainable Development Goals – which we will report against each year in our annual Review and this website.|
|Goal||Progress update available March 2017
|Monitor key suppliers on ESG issues relevant to their business, most specifically relating to the criteria set out in our Sustainable Procurement Policy, and stimulate responsible business conduct.||We have implemented our Global Sustainable Procurement Policy. In 2016, 95% of our businesses were assessing suppliers on ESG risks. This will continue to be a part of our Responsible Business Strategy going forward|
|Encourage clients, business partners and suppliers to disclose ESG issues using relevant disclosure or reporting frameworks.||We encourage partners and peers to take up integrated reporting practices by our continued involvement with the International Integrated Reporting Council Insurer’s network. As co-chair of this network, we share our knowledge and experience on integrated reporting within our industry.|
|Apply our market conduct principles to the selection process for intermediaries, and only do business with intermediaries that share our values.||Group Regulatory Compliance conducted a global review of business units to determine the inherent risk in their distribution channels and processes, identify the controls, and risk rank the residual risks. Business units with higher risk profiles are required to implement additional controls, if necessary. The SIRA process will continue into 2017.|
|Where possible, extend our approach to responsible investment to assets managed for us or our customers by third-party asset managers.||After a gap analysis of our Responsible Investment Policy, we identified the need to ensure that external managers are complying with the Policy. We want to push for stronger compliance on exclusions based on Aegon’s exclusion list, ESG integration, and active ownership for external managers of our General Account assets. In the coming years, this a priority in our Responsible Investment Strategy|
|Goal||Progress update March 2017
|Continue our research efforts and engage with governments, academia and the scientific community to promote retirement readiness and healthy aging.||Our retirement research centers have produced reports, infographics, tools, and videos raising awareness about the need to prepare for retirement. This year we launched the Institute for Longevity in Brazil. Also, presented our research at high profile events including the OECD Forum and testified before the US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.|
|Implement minimum standards of market conduct – both for ourselves and our brokers and intermediaries.||We successfully established and implemented our Market Conduct Principles in our risk management framework as an internal benchmark for dealing with customers during all aspects of the relationship we have with them.|
|Introduce new rules for pricing our products focused, in part, on benefits for customers.||In July 2015, we updated our Pricing & Product Development Policy. The Policy contains an obligation to explicitly consider the interests of our customers in the development and pricing of new products and services, and is audited regularly.|
|Where possible, make our products clearer and easier for our customers to understand||We've been continuously improving our customer communication materials, using direct customer feedback to establish how our materials can be clearer, easier to understand and more personal. We've also provided platforms via which (potential) customers can test their retirement readiness enabling them to make educated choices when researching and buying products online.|
|Use our employees' diversity to bring new insights into our business.||We've brought out a company-wide Statement on Diversity & Non-discrimination and have implemented affirmative action programs and Employee Resource Groups to encourage greater diversity within the company's workforce. Further implementation will remain a key strategic objective for Aegon in the coming years.|
|Develop a set of indicators and measurements to track progress on our overall sustainability strategy.||We have KPIs in place against each of our strategic objectives, and we'll continue to report against these in the period ahead.|
|Put in place minimum social and environmental standards for the goods and services we buy.||We introduced a Sustainable Procurement Policy in 2013. This policy applies to all our businesses worldwide, and is based regular ESG risk assessments.|
|Make sure we invest responsibly and engage actively with companies we invest in.||We've had a Responsible Investment Policy in place now for more than four years. This Policy covers all businesses and all major asset classes, and outlines our approach to active ownership, engagement and ESG integration.|
|Look at opportunities to expand investments where there are clear social or environmental benefits.||We now have more than €7.6 billion in impact investments. These include affordable housing, green bonds, sustainable timber and renewable energy.|
|Organize panels of stakeholders to provide feedback on our work and performance.||We carry out an annual survey of our leading stakeholders. And we work through other stakeholder
bodies, such as our Customer Advocacy Board in the UK and customer arenas in the Netherlands.
|Fund research into aging and demographic change in both the US and Europe.||We publish twice-yearly Retirement Readiness reports based on research in the US, Europe and Asia. In the US, we have entered a collaboration with the Stanford Center of Longevity to contribute to research on how well people are doing in areas deemed critical to well-being as people age. We also operate the not-for-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (external link), which works together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab.|
|Provide limited paid-time off to allow employees to support community projects and initiatives.||Volunteering programs have now been extended to more than 90% of Aegon's global workforce. Last year, employees gave more than 21,000 hours, equivalent to almost a €1 million.|
|Publish these goals and targets and our progress against them in both this report and on the Aegon website.||We publish our progress against the PSI principles every year. We have updated our goals and targets, in line with the new strategic direction of our business.|