Sustainability

people chatting

Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy.

In 2019, we committed to making insurance part of the solution to the major risks the world is facing.

That year, we established our Group Sustainability Committee with three key pillars: changing the insurance narrative, being a responsible business and giving back.

We also welcomed the Howden Group Foundation as a shareholder of the Group, which means that as we grow so too will its impact.

Since then, we have taken action by establishing a Diversity and Inclusion Committee and a dedicated team to focus on Climate Risk and Resilience, helped to launch the world’s first volcano catastrophe bond for the Danish Red Cross, joined the Sustainable Markets Initiative, seed-funded Parhelion to bring much needed sustainable capacity to the market, and released reports focused on how the insurance market can respond to climate risk and help to accelerate positive change.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, our colleagues have continued to come up with creative ways of giving back through volunteering and fundraising. In 2021, their efforts have resulted in over £1m (including matched funding from the Foundation) of donations to charities around the world.

Sustainability Report

Howden Group Sustainability report

Read about what we got up to in our 2021 Sustainability report.

Changing the insurance narrative

Insurance has always been an enabler for change and now, as the world faces the biggest existential threat of our lifetime, we are finding ways to use insurance to help society build resilience against climate change and other related risks.

Climate Risk and Resilience

Climate Risk and Resilience

In 2021, we launched our Climate Risk and Resilience division; dedicated to finding innovative ways of using risk transfer to help drive society’s response to one of its biggest challenges.

Being a responsible business

From creating an inclusive working environment where people of all backgrounds and experiences can thrive, through to our environmental footprint and our policies and procedures, we are committed to continuously improving all aspects of our own operations in order to be a responsible business.

We are signatories to the UN Global Compact and members of ClimateWise.

View our first UN Global Compact Communication on Progress.

View the latest ClimateWise independent review

Below are some examples of what we’ve been up to. For more information, read our 2021 Howden Group Sustainability report.

Case studies

Plastic neutral workforce

In July 2021, we announced our ambition to become plastic neutral.

We have pledged to reduce our plastic consumption and offset the residual plastic. We will do this with the support of Seven Clean Seas (SCS), who are also a long-term partner of the Foundation and have been engaged by the Group to provide plastic offsetting services. Through SCS, we have already offset over 66,000kg of plastic - the estimated amount used by our workforce globally in 2020.

The Howden Group Foundation is helping to fund Seven Clean Seas’ innovative River Plastic Recovery System (RPRS), which will clean up some of the most polluted rivers in Asia. Whilst other similar devices exist, the RPRS has been specifically designed to be manufactured locally, using low-cost materials that can be easily sourced and maintained by the communities where it is deployed. Each unit is designed to remove 1.46 million kilogrammes of waste from rivers per year, the equivalent of 4,000 kg per day. Watch this video to find out more

Down syndrome partnerships

DUAL Italia has worked in partnership with dedicated experts and tutors from the AGPD (Association of Parents and People with Down syndrome) and CoorDown (National Coordination of Associations of People with Down Syndrome) to ensure that two colleagues with Down syndrome could thrive in their roles and help meet business goals.

DUAL Italia hopes to help encourage other companies to do the same by raising awareness through several initiatives throughout 2021:

  • Joined The Hiring Chain campaign to call on employers and workplaces to be more inclusive.
  • Participated in a roundtable led by CoorDown, focused on creating inclusive workplaces and providing a platform for people with Down syndrome to promote the message: “The more you hire us, the more they [other companies] will hire us”. We shared our experience alongside other Italian companies.
  • Supported an initiative with the Tennis Club Lombardo and AGDP, hosting an afternoon of tennis for young people with Downs syndrome aged nine to 20.
  • Contributed to the Catholic University’s ‘Master’s in Organisations, Work and Disability’ by speaking to students about what it means for a company to include people with disabilities in the workplace.

Retiring CO2 whilst supporting conservation projects in Africa

In 2020, we started our journey towards becoming carbon neutral by making a commitment to decarbonise our operations and to neutralise any remaining emissions.

The Howden Group Foundation also embarked on a grant partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to assist TNC in retiring CO2 through certified carbon offsets that support conservation projects where it matters most. The projects in Kenya and Tanzania will retire 25,000 tonnes of carbon and at the same time benefit the local communities.

Find out more by watching this video.

The Foundation furthered its commitment in 2021-22 by supporting TNC’s Africa Carbon Catalyst Fund (ACCF) and the ZafueZambezi REDD+ project in Zambia, one of TNC’s priority landscapes and a haven for elephants, wild dogs and other wildlife.

This project not only prevents deforestation and preserves the natural habitat, but also benefits people by creating new and sustainable livelihoods. To support the development of high-quality carbon offsets, the Foundation has funded TNC together to lead this effort, including a baseline survey, ground trothing and stakeholder engagement work, as well as a business case for the project.

The AFCC support includes an allocation to the established Northern Kenya Grasslands project, where soil carbon sequestration is helping communities improve pasture management in an area that is also home to one of Kenya’s largest elephant populations.

Giving back

At Howden Group, we are committed to making a positive impact – for our employees, our clients, and our global community.

The three Es

Whether we’re fundraising, volunteering, or partnering with established charities, all of our initiatives are designed to support our CSR strategy. Our strategy has three themes:

Education

Education can be the key to a brighter future. Yet in almost every country in the world, children from more deprived backgrounds have less access to education and perform worse than their more privileged peers.

We believe that everyone has the right to education and the opportunities that come with it. Through social mobility projects and charity partnerships, we help young people and those not in work or training to access education and employment.

Enterprise

Howden Group was established by entrepreneurs, and we continue to grow through the entrepreneurial values of our employees. Enterprise is at the core of our very business, and we want to help others succeed as we have succeeded.

We support young, social and environmental entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground, offering feedback from established mentors, specialist skill workshops and advice on how to get ahead in the professional world.

Environment

We only have one planet, and it is struggling under the pressures we place on it. As a sustainable business we make decisions with our eyes firmly on the future, and we want to ensure that our environment is healthy for the generations to come.

At Howden Group, we are committed to do our part for the world – through supporting environmental charities, volunteering, reducing our own impact, and increasing environmental sustainability through our day-to-day work.

Charity partnerships

We believe that our charitable work should have the greatest possible social impact. That’s why each of our offices around the world supports their own charity partner, nominated and voted for by employees locally.

Our employees support their chosen charities by organising fundraising activities, volunteering and raising awareness. In this way, we can address the issues that most impact our communities, and drive change at a local level.

Among others, some of our local partners include:

  • Black Dog Institute in Australia
  • LILT in Italy
  • TECHO in Colombia
Charity partnerships

Volunteering and Fundraising

Everyone at Howden Group gets two days a year to give back through volunteering and fundraising. Our charity partners offer a wide variety of volunteering opportunities and local teams regularly plan fundraising events, from quiz nights and bake sales to hikes and bike rides.

We partnered with Benevity Inc to create a global fundraising and volunteering platform called Group Giving. This helps our people sign up to volunteering opportunities and is a donation platform for our active fundraising campaigns.

We also host an annual Global Group Giving Week – five days where our employees around the world collaborate to make a huge difference to our communities. Our local teams organise volunteering drives, fundraising events, donation stations, pro bono work and more for charity and local community groups.

Volunteering and Fundraising

Howden Group Foundation

Howden GroupFoundation

The Howden Group Foundation is a charity registered in England & Wales (registered number 1156286). It is supported by Howden Group Holdings and its employees and governed by an independent board of trustees.

The Foundation has six key objectives.

  • Relieve sickness
  • Relieve poverty
  • Relieve disasters
  • Relieve unemployment
  • Advance education
  • Environmental sustainability

The Foundation has a close working relationship with the Group and complements its CSR strategy focusing on education, entrepreneurship and the environment. All global partnerships reflect the Regions in which the group has a presence, whilst maintaining its independence as a grant making charity.

Through the Foundation's People First Fund, the Foundation also matches money raised by employees for charities that meet one or more of the Foundation's objectives. It also grants Investing in the Community Awards to grassroots causes that our employees nominate each year.