Corporate sustainability is a core part of our ability to meet ambitious future growth targets.
Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of our sustainability activity. To deliver long-term value we need to establish and maintain sustainable relationships with all our stakeholders to reduce business risk, maximise opportunities and improve profitability.
To this end, in 2010, we launched our Sustainability principles, which outline our commitments to each stakeholder group. These principles form the backbone of our Ethics Code and are subject to regular measurement and management review. Some elements are also now being incorporated into remuneration processes to help promote a culture of responsibility.
This approach ensures that the long-term perspective is central to decision-making and that short-term gains are not the entire focus. A strategy of long-term growth is supported by:
- Activities to improve product offering and service levels
- A focus on non-financial assurance
- Efforts to improve stakeholder relations
"At IPF we believe sustainable development within a business creates shared value for customers, investors and the social and economic environment in which it operates. A key part of our corporate sustainability strategy is understanding the impact of our business on society and the communities in which we operate, and particularly the impact of our products on our customers and their families. We do this through stakeholder engagement and employee and agent engagement surveys but most importantly by listening to our customers through the 125,000,000 home visits we make each year and the 6,000 customer service calls we make every quarter.
"We are particularly proud of the contribution our business makes to financial inclusion – to consumers who are underserved for credit, we offer a safe, responsible alternative to unscrupulous lenders; to those in rural areas where people struggle to get to a bank, our loans can be used constructively to help small businesses grow.
"We want to unlock more operational cost savings and create a positive reflection of the brand. We’ve started to do this, for example, by finding links between customer satisfaction and profitability; these are driving incentive schemes to promote higher customer service levels. We’re also starting to manage the environment programme differently, to focus on cost savings and efficiencies that will make the most impact on the bottom line whilst at the same time providing added impetus to our targets to reduce our carbon footprint.
"Sustainability is a journey without a final destination so whilst I am pleased with the progress we have made so far, we recognise the need to maintain our efforts and focus in 2013 and beyond."
John Mitra, Group Corporate Affairs Director
Our wider economic contribution
In markets where access to credit has been limited, we find that a credible, lawful and responsible form of lending is well received by our customers and can make an important economic contribution. We generate wealth through salaries and benefits for thousands of employees. We use local suppliers, pay commission to agents and pay taxes which will help fund public services. We also donate to community partners and take an active role in addressing social issues in our areas of operation. Many customers benefit economically from our business.
|Payments to suppliers
|Payments to employees
|Commission payments to agents
|Payments to shareholders in dividends
|Payments to governments in taxes
|Payments to community partners through cash, in-kind donations, employee time and management costs
How we are working toward sustainability:
- Our Strategy for Growth, focussing on long-term business growth including expanding our footprint, improving customer engagement, developing a sales culture and execution.
- Clear vision, values and sustainability principles that define the way we work
- We actively promote a Customer Charter to communicate clearly to customers what level of service they can expect, and an Agent Charter, reflecting the key role our agents play in achieving our customer commitments
- We identify the key issues for the business and our stakeholders and put in place appropriate processes and standards to manage them
- Formal framework to identify, assess and manage risk is in place and chaired by a non-executive
- Sustainability objectives, set in 2011 and running through to 2013. Each business is responsible for developing individual goals and management plans to meet these commitments
- We have a proactive community investment programme which focuses on social inclusion and financial literacy, addressing a real business risk by helping to create a market of well-informed consumers
- Group environment programme, with ambitious reduction targets. Our responsible supply chain management work aims to reduce indirect impacts
- We're involved in public policy discussions, contribute to EU consultations and welcome well-informed financial regulation
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