At Aegon, we recognize that our responsibility extends beyond achieving strong financial returns, and that we must take action to create real impact on the economy, the environment and society through our investments and our operations. We do so with a clear strategy and focus.
Increasingly, the business community understands the urgent need to address critical environmental and social issues such as climate change, as well as new value creation opportunities presented by sustainable business operations and products.
At Aegon, we recognize this long-term shift and the implications for our customers and other stakeholders. We have a robust environmental, social, and governance (ESG) foundation that underpins our commitment to managing the business for sustainable outcomes, for example in facilitating the transition to a climate-neutral economy.
How we operate sustainably
We believe that a corporate approach to sustainable business optimizes the positive financial, social and environmental results that serve the interests of all stakeholders for the long-term.
Our approach to corporate sustainability covers the impact of our direct business activities, as well as the indirect impact of our investments, our spend with suppliers and the relationships with our business partners. Our approach is underpinned by a comprehensive set of ESG commitments covering responsible investment, inclusion & diversity, human rights, tax, procurement, charitable donations and volunteering to name but a few.
Our priority themes
Sustainability is a broad topic and ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders indicates two areas that should be at the forefront of our thinking in the coming years: climate change and inclusion & diversity.
As an important milestone of our aim to take action on climate change, in November 2021, we announced a committment to transition our general account investment portfolio to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To ensure progress toward this 2050 commitment, Aegon has set a clear medium-term target for 2025. Alongside this commitment, we are actively strengthening our inclusion and diversity efforts to help position us as a welcoming employer for underrepresented talent.
Our sustainability governance
In 2021, we established our Global Sustainability Board (GSB) to enhance governance and oversight of our sustainability approach. The GSB’s core function is to steer and strengthen the sustainability agenda across our country units, and it is supported by our local sustainability boards and specialized working groups. Key actions put forward by the agenda include formulating sustainability-focused commitments, key performance indicators, and targets.
The GSB also provides advice and recommendations on specific topics such as inclusion and diversity and responsible investment, as well as on products, processes, initiatives, and communications relating to sustainability. The GSB plays an advisory role to the Management Board, with the Supervisory Board’s Nomination and Governance Committee having ultimate oversight.
From January 1, 2021, the team has been mandated to strengthen our focus on company-wide sustainability targets, reflecting Aegon's shift from a federated model to a principle of 'accountability within a clear framework'.
We have set three priorities to achieve this:
- Streamlining company-wide governance;
- Identifying thematic priorities based on stakeholder
- Enhancing our sustainability reporting.