Businesses should act as a catalyst for social change
May 13th 2013: Businesses should act as a catalyst for social change, says Aviva. The company's online 2012 corporate responsibility report shows that the group has met significant CR milestones.
The report - 'Contributing to Society' details Aviva’s performance over the past year, including how the target of reaching 500,000 children via their flagship Street to School community programme was achieved two years ahead of schedule. Since 2009 Aviva has worked with a range of cross sector partners to help over 649,000 children, underlining its aim to be a catalyst to for street children’s rights.
Aviva’s corporate responsibility report focuses on trust and transparency, attracting and retaining talent, environment and climate change, and community development. Further performance highlights included:
- Recognised as one of the top five global organisations in the FTSE4Good index, Silver in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index RobecoSAM Yearbook
- Ranked 32nd in the global Stonewall equality index (up 66 places)
- Reduced Aviva’s carbon footprint by 12% on a relative basis
Marie Sigsworth, Corporate Responsibility Director, Aviva said: “Providing peace of mind is Aviva's social purpose and is central to our overall business strategy. As an insurer we have a fundamental role in the communities we are part of. We enable business growth in society and we’re there for our customers in the moments that matter to them. We help people get back on their feet when the unexpected happens and we also have a role to play in protecting those most vulnerable and excluded in our communities, such as street-connected children. That is why we believe that every child should have access to education because education is insurance for a better life.”
Through its Street to School programme Aviva partners with NGO’s and the public sector around the world – including Railway Children, Save the Children and the UN – along with raising international awareness through its advocacy and cause related marketing activity. The project originally aimed to help 500,000 young people away from the street and into education by 2015, but has already exceeded this goal.
Aviva recently commissioned pioneering participatory research to gain feedback from the beneficiaries of its Street to School programme - children themselves – to evaluate the true impact of the programme and identify areas of improvement, on a global scale.
Marie Sigsworth explains: “We are very proud of our role in helping so many children through Street to School. But no programme can ever be measured by figures alone. Just as our products and services are shaped around our customers, we wanted to understand and improve the impact of Street to School through research shaped by the children themselves so their voices could be heard. At Aviva we believe that business has a catalyst role to play in tackling social issues - promoting new systems of change and playing an advocacy role. No one organisation can do this alone. It’s about sharing our expertise and learnings with others. Collaboration with NGOs, governments and other businesses, is the most direct route to affect sustainable social change.
An example of Aviva's role as a catalyst for change is its on-going work with the UN. In 2012 Aviva co-sponsored a unique report on the rights of children working and/or living on the street, which was welcomed by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012.
Aviva’s 2012 corporate responsibility report is available to view here.
For more information about Aviva’s corporate responsibility approach, please visit Aviva’s sustainable development videos on YouTube by clicking on the below links:
Notes to Editors
At Aviva plc’s AGM, the 2012 CR report within the company’s report and accounts, was put to an advisory vote and received a 99.7% vote in favour. Aviva was the first company in the UK and the first financial institution world-wide to put its CR report to a shareholder vote. As a significant investor in its own right, Aviva continues to encourage other companies to report on their material sustainability issues within their annual report and seek shareholder approval.
- Aviva provides 34 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products.
- We are the UK’s largest insurer and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance.
- We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand.
- We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
- Aviva’s Street to School programmes around the world have helped over 640,000 children and young people. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school / www.streetchildrenday.org / http://www.aviva.com/reports/2012cr/
- The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive
- For broadcast-standard video, please visit http://www.aviva.com/media/video/.
- Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc