Unum UK, a leading income protection insurance provider, approached Brite Green to review their existing CSR strategy. They had an excellent CSR programme in place, focussed on volunteering and corporate giving, but they wanted to become more strategic.
Brite Green worked with Unum to identify the full range of sustainability issues that were material to their business and developed a sustainability strategy that supported the commercial objectives whilst delivering environmental and social benefits.
Enhancing a well-established CSR programme
Unum UK is part of the Unum Group, a US-based fortune 500 insurance company which specialises in income protection insurance. As a large company with a strong sense of social responsibility, Unum UK had an excellent CSR programme in place. The programme focussed on supporting good causes on a local and national level through volunteering and corporate giving and had outstanding support throughout the company. The programme had grown organically and Unum wanted to review their approach to ensure that it was addressing all key areas of risk, impact and opportunity.
Identifying key sustainability issues
To help Unum kick-start the process of developing an enhanced sustainability vision, Brite Green led a stakeholder workshop. The workshop’s goals were to review Unum’s current CSR and environment activities, begin to bring together environment and CSR activities into an overarching plan of action, and collaboratively identify any gaps.
Brite Green undertook a detailed materiality assessment to identify the key sustainability issues for Unum UK, which entailed:
- Identifying all sustainability issues with direct and indirect financial impact
- Engaging with internal and external stakeholders to identify key issues, risks and opportunities
- Benchmarking Unum UK against their peers using Brite Green’s sustainability maturity model
- Reviewing all applicable legislation and contractual requirements
- Reviewing where sustainability issues would impact on Unum’s policies and delivery of the commercial strategy
Analysing performance drivers
Having identified the material issues for Unum UK, the ways in which these affect business performance were analysed. There were drivers in three key areas:
- Sales and marketing
- Services and products
- Responsible operations and supply chain
Each area had compliance “push” factors and opportunity “pull” factors.
For sales and marketing these included meeting customer tender requirements around environmental management and demonstrating compliance with codes of conduct (push) but there were also opportunities to grow the market for Unum’s services and expand the products and services Unum offer.
Responsible business practices and legislative compliance were key push drivers for Unum’s operations, but we also identified a range of cost and risk reduction opportunities within the company and the supply chain. There were also opportunities for Unum UK to have a strong positive impact through thought leadership and action.
Enhancing the strategy
Taking these drivers into account, a 5 part strategy was developed which addressed all material issues for Unum UK. The strategy was underpinned by clearly defined management and monitoring requirements, and set out a clear vision for the next 5 years.
The strategy was split into five areas:
- Healthy and happy workplace
- Responsible, transparent business
- Dynamic workplace culture
- Strong communities
- Environmentally sound
"In its year-long year review of Unum's approach to sustainability, Brite Green has demonstrated impeccable diligence and professionalism in all its dealings, ensuring that the final report was delivered on time and on budget. The report's challenging and constructive recommendations were the result of Brite Green's exemplary preparatory work and full understanding of the company and its business."
Susan Sanderson, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Unum UK.
Find out more
Brite Green is an award winning sustainability consultancy. To find out more about how we can help you create or enhance your sustainability strategy, please contact us.