Royal London is a life, pensions and investment mutual, with assets under management of £150 billion, 8.8 million policies in force, and 4,262 employees as of June 30, 2022. It provides a range of protection, long-term savings and asset management products in the UK, and protection products in Ireland.
In terms of female representation in leadership positions, Royal London Group has a gender-balanced board of directors where 6 out of 12 members are women. It also discloses actions it takes to address any pay gaps in the operations, such as targets of increasing female senior management from 33% to 42% by the end of 2025. The financial institution has an engagement policy where it describes its approach on sustainability themes and impact topics with clients and investees, including a clear framework with success criteria and escalation points in the event that engagement with investees is unsuccessful. Royal London Group publishes a stewardship report describing how the engagement policy is applied in practice together with case studies describing where it has engaged successfully and unsuccessfully with clients on sustainability themes and impact topics.
Royal London Group has set a target of net-zero financed emissions by 2050 and interim financed emissions of 50% by 2030. The insurance company discloses the key sectors and companies it has identified as priorities to engage with on climate change, and the rationale for choosing these priorities. In addition, Royal London Group disclose that alignment with the Paris Agreement is one of its engagement topics and, as a member of Climate Action 100+, the financial institution discloses that it collectively engages with its clients on the topic of climate change. The financial institution discloses nature- and biodiversity-related impacts as one of its engagement topics with companies to which it provides financial services.
In terms of its approach to senior leadership accountability, while the financial institution’s board supports the implementation of sustainability, it is unclear that the end responsibility for sustainability issues lies with it. The financial institution could also link the remuneration of the group’s executive team to sustainability performance criteria. The insurance company also has an opportunity to set a public commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment and to reach at least 40% female representation in senior leadership positions. Furthermore, Royal London Group could disclose the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men in its total direct operations workforce for each employee category.
Royal London Group could disclose its financing activities devoted to climate solutions. In addition, there is no evidence that the insurance company is committed to minimising the negative impacts it has on nature and biodiversity. Furthermore, Royal London Group could disclose an approach to fossil fuels that spans across the fossil fuel value chain, such as the amount or share of finance it directs towards fuels, or its stance on financing companies with new fossil fuel projects.
There is no evidence that the Royal London Group has a publicly available policy statement committing it to respect human rights laid out in the UN Guiding Principles and the ILO declaration on fundamental rights at work. The insurance company has an opportunity to describe a comprehensive process for identifying its human rights risks and impacts across all its activities, especially its financing activities It could also establish a grievance mechanism accessible to all workers, external individuals and communities to raise human rights complaints or concerns. To provide transparency on financial inclusivity, Royal London Group has an opportunity to disclose the amount of finance directed towards, for example, women-owned businesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or low-income developing countries.