Our sustainability strategy is key to delivering our purpose of helping to put people on a path to a better everyday life. The improvements we make, the actions we take around sustainability, the governance we put in place to make sure we are behaving fairly and lending responsibly - everything comes back to our Purpose.
This Purpose encompasses the wide-ranging role that PFG has in providing solutions to global challenges and benefiting wider society. It positively expresses how, at the core of our business, we look to create value for all our stakeholders in a way that supports the environmental and social systems we rely upon, by contributing to a sustainable future.
Our sustainability strategy, which we launched over five years ago, is aligned with this Purpose and centres on the following two areas:
Operating our business of lending to our customers in a responsible manner
We provide our customers, many of whom are not well served by mainstream lenders, with credit products that meet their particular needs. We deliver fair outcomes throughout their journeys with us, and put them on a path to a better everyday life.
We do this by:
- Providing customers with appropriate amounts of credit
- Maintaining close contact with them throughout the term of their loan
- Understanding and supporting them at all times, including if they experience difficulties
Acting responsibly and sustainably in all our stakeholder relationships
We seek to build sustainable relationships with all our key stakeholders, whether they are our colleagues, suppliers or people in the many communities we serve. We respond to the needs of our stakeholders by creating a fair, inclusive and diverse workplace, supporting our local communities, responding to climate change, treating suppliers fairly, and engaging with them on other ESG matters.
In addition to lending sustainably in a responsible manner, we also focus on:
- Creating an inclusive, diverse and engaging workplace for our colleagues
- Delivering on our Purpose through the activities of our Social Impact Programme
- Responding to climate change
- Treating our suppliers fairly
- Engaging with the investment community on our approach to corporate responsibility (CR)
- Being a responsible taxpayer
To further link our Purpose with the sustainability agenda, we aligned our strategy with five of the United Nations SDGs in 2020.
Our commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people can live in peace and prosperity. The 17 goals that make up the SDGs address the world’s most important economic, social, environmental and governance challenges. Successful delivery of the SDGs require all players from all sectors to champion this agenda. Private sector action will be key to the success of each goal – through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration. In aligning our sustainability strategy to the SDGs, we have chosen five of the Goals to focus on where we think we can have a genuine impact. These are our priority goals:
In 2020, we established long-term objectives that are aligned with each of our five priority SDGs to show how PFG is responding to global issues such as climate change, inequality, injustice and poverty.
End poverty in all its forms, everywhere
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth with full, productive employment and decent work for all
Reduce inequality within and among countries
You can read more about the activities and actions we have delivered that contribute to each Goal here.
Engaging with our stakeholders
We are committed to acting responsibly and sustainably in all the relationships we have with our key stakeholders. These are our customers, colleagues, communities, suppliers, investors (both debt and equity), regulators and government, as well as the environment. We engage with our key stakeholders on an ongoing basis to ensure that their views and concerns are factored into our decision-making processes.
We also engage with our stakeholders to make sure we manage and report on the CR issues that matter most to them. We do this by undertaking materiality assessments at least every two years to identify and prioritise the CR issues that are relevant to us. This informs our Purpose and sustainability strategy. Our materiality assessments are carried out by the independent sustainability management consultancy Corporate Citizenship.
Issues like those below continue to be priorities for PFG:
- Responsible lending practices
- Customer satisfaction and customer care
- Financial wellbeing
- Customer vulnerability
This is why we place so much emphasis on making sure we provide our customers with responsible credit products that meet their needs. We deliver fair customer outcomes throughout their journeys with us, while supporting their financial wellbeing and inclusion. The exercise also underlines how important issues such as climate change and
, inclusion and diversity have become to a business like ours.
Being a responsible taxpayer
Taxes allow governments to fund essential public expenditure, enabling them to meet economic and social objectives. Paying tax is a key part of how our business contributes to society
We’re committed to being a fair and responsible taxpayer. We operate in an open, honest and straightforward manner in all tax matters and we’re fair and reasonable in all our dealings with tax authorities.
We seek to make sure that we comply with all tax rules and regulations the places where we operate. We safeguard our reputation as a responsible taxpayer, while recognising that we also have a responsibility to protect shareholder value by managing and controlling our tax liabilities.
Our Tax Strategy
Our Tax Strategy, which was last updated and approved by our Board in December 2020 follows our corporate Purpose. Our tax strategy is aligned with HMRC’s Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks (the Code) which sets out the principles and behaviours expected of banking groups with regard to tax, and we have unconditionally adopted the Code.
To read more about what makes us a responsible tax payer, please see our latest Corporate Responsibility Report.
To meet the duty under paragraph 16(2), Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016, which requires large UK businesses to publish their tax strategies online, the Provident Financial plc Tax Strategy can be accessed here.