When we talk about sustainability we are talking about building value for the long term - and about creating a business that our employees can be proud of.
Sustainability is an ethos. Indeed, it is an ethos the Group was founded with – just not a word we used then. In many ways it is simply ‘the Howden Group Way’. The ability of the Group to adapt, to change, has been amongst its greatest strengths. We have grown by attracting talent and always putting our people first, identifying the emerging needs of our clients, and imaginatively matching expertise with capital and distribution to provide best in-class solutions for a quarter of a century. We did that on day one and we do it today.
The idea of sustainability reaches right from the importance of our independence and employee ownership to our People First culture and the balance of the geographies in which we operate.
But the challenges the world faces today and the changes we need to see in the Group are not the same as those we were facing to 10 or 20 years ago. As we look to the next 25 years, we recognise that today’s challenges, and those of the future, need a renewed focus and even greater effort.
With this in mind, the Sustainability Committee, chaired by Non-Executive director and leading sustainability investor, John Bernstein, was formed with three specific pillars of focus.
The first pillar is concerned with our own standards; the importance of ensuring our own operations are the very best they can be in terms of governance, environmental sustainability, and diversity and inclusion.
The second is focused on giving back, and the Howden Group Foundation, funded through its shareholding in the Group so that it grows as we do, spearheads our efforts to support the communities in which we live and work.
The third is concerned with driving change through innovation and it is through this pillar that the Group has the chance to make the biggest sustained impact. We are renewing our efforts and placing a specific focus on the development of products that can play a part in the solutions to some of the major challenges the world faces.
From enabling the first trading ships to cross oceans, to this Group developing the first directors’ and officers’ insurance for SMEs to protect business leaders and facilitate the growth and expansion of small businesses that fuel local economies, to today helping clients transition to renewable energy and creating new solutions to funding global charities, we believe that insurance plays a critical role in delivering change – and in building value for our clients, communities and stakeholders over the long term.
We are working hard to ensure that the Group is fit to meet the demands of the risk transfer needs and opportunities of tomorrow and that we play our part in making sure that insurance plays a part in society’s response to resilience. We will do this across classes and using all of the tools at our disposal.