Silver Success, now Going for Gold

Brokers / 6th August 2021

Adam Morghem, Premium Credit’s Strategy and Brand Director, outlines the business’s journey to deliver an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programme that aligns to their purpose and values. In this article he explains how, with the support of colleagues, Premium Credit have upped their game, from bronze to a Silver medal, awarded by an independent sustainability specialist, and why ‘Going for Gold’ is the next goal.

Environmental Social Governance (ESG) – where have we come from?

Throughout our 30-year history, we’ve always been focussed on supporting our communities of customers, partners and colleagues, and our company-wide purpose work last year reaffirmed our reason ‘why’. However, during this work we also recognised the opportunity to review our sustainability story following a number of changes we had made internally to improve our ESG credentials. This included applying a more structured approach to enhancing our Procurement practises; Diversity & Inclusion; together with giving greater consideration to our Environmental responsibilities and partnerships with our Communities such as our work through the Alzheimer’s Society and Insurance United Against Dementia (IUAD).

Like many organisations, we had recognised Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for some time and supporting some elements of ESG in the past but it was the perfect time to create a more joined up and impactful approach.

An important step was to put in place an independent assessment that we could use to benchmark ourselves, and this led to us signing up to Ecovadis in 2019, the globally respected ratings platform assessing corporate social responsibility and sustainable procurement. Their review helped us identify areas where we were doing well and where further work was required, as well as improved tracking and reporting. Following the assessment they gave us a bronze rating and a helpful list of improvement areas that became a focus in 2020.

Our journey

Businesses are being encouraged by stakeholders, investors and regulators to apply a greater focus and provide increased visibility to their ESG programmes with the aim of ensuring all businesses meet today’s needs without impairing the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Tara Waite, Premium Credit’s CEO, is a vocal advocate and fully behind the development of our ESG credentials stating: “Helping solve the world’s problems with positive intent, doing good and trying to do it in the right way is all part of our purpose.”

As a purpose-led organisation and to help establish the key areas of focus for Premium Credit, we have looked at our ESG performance from three perspectives:

• A comparison against finance and insurance industry peers
• A review against the regulatory agenda
• A risk assessment

Carrying out this assessment combined with output from our customer, partner and colleague insights programme; that includes the use of satisfaction surveys, Net Promoter Score and external sources like Trustpilot, has highlighted areas of focus for the business over coming years, both in terms of improving our societal impact and articulating activities already being undertaken today.

In addition to these areas of focus we are also working towards the benchmark standards set by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). The SASB Standards enable businesses around the world to identify, manage and communicate financially-material sustainability information to their investors. Premium Credit is also working to achieve standards set by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) with the goal of developing a set of voluntary climate-related financial risk disclosures to inform investors and the public about the risks we face related to climate change.

On the importance of working to these internationally recognised standards, Andrew Chapman, Premium Credit’s Chief Financial Officer comments: “The feedback we’re receiving from this series of indicators provides valuable insights regarding the impact our business has across our communities, whether it be social, economic or climatic. They are a clear marker to all stakeholders outlining how we run our business and live out our purpose. There is always room for improvement and we are committed to achieving the very highest ESG standards.”

What we are doing

Over this last twelve months we have reassessed our responsible business efforts, revamping the role of the Sustainability team and broadening the membership to colleagues from right across the business. We have defined a clear strategy that aligns with our purpose and corporate strategy, and we have identified four areas of focus where we feel we can have the greatest impact in 2021.

These areas are:

1. Community: Positively benefitting our communities by delivering monthly initiatives which raise awareness and give back

2. Environment: Improving our long-term environmental impact in a cost-conscious way that addresses business risks and aligns to our environmental principles

3. Procurement: We work with ethical suppliers. We will always look at ways to enhance our Procurement Policy and supplier management processes to ensure that our supplier base operates in a sustainable and ethical way

4. Diversity and Inclusion: We are committed to providing an inclusive environment where diversity is recognised as necessary to create a high performing culture

Silver success

Thanks to an unwavering commitment, our team, with Executive sponsorship has been tirelessly implementing our ESG programme and we’re delighted to have been awarded a ‘Silver’ rating from Ecovadis last month. This award recognises the progress we’ve made and the standards we’ve achieved which have improved all metrics, increasing our overall score from 46/100 to 61/100. But we’re not done yet, the team will now begin reviewing the new Ecovadis’ feedback and identify areas for further improvement.

Going for Gold

Like any progressive, purpose-led organisation we want to demonstrate excellence in every aspect of our business and we’ll be doing all we can to meet the high ESG standards we have set ourselves. We will continue to put considerable energy and resource into our efforts as we ‘go for gold’!

It’s an ongoing process and we look forward to updating you on our journey along the way. There will be lots of news to update you on in coming months, whether it’s developing our Dementia Friends programme with Alzheimer’s Society; donating computers to schools; reducing our carbon footprint or celebrating the diversity of our teams to name just a few of the initiatives already in progress.

We’re excited for the future and look forward to sharing our evolving ESG story.

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