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July 2020

Sustainability and inclusive capitalism: the meeting point

In 2015, 193 countries signed up to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets out a 15-year plan to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). We’ve aligned our key focus areas with specific SDGs, ensuring we play our part in building a sustainable future

The United Nations’ SDGs are, in essence, a roadmap to the delivery of a sustainable global economy and a better tomorrow. A collective movement towards the achievement of these SDGs has resulted in an increased allocation of capital to social objectives – the very foundation of inclusive capitalism, which underpins our strategy and thinking here at Legal & General. It’s for this reason that we’ve aligned our three focus areas – our journey to net-zero carbon emissions, our journey to a better society and the journey to responsible business – with specific SDGs and have been making good progress in supporting them. Here’s what we’ve been doing:

Our journey to net zero

Affordable and clean energy

We invest long-term capital into the clean energy sector to accelerate progress towards a low-cost, low-carbon economy. We have invested £1.3 billion to date, including a £57 million financing agreement to support Hermes Infrastructure, who provides solar photovoltaic systems to more than 9,000 private residences and social housing rooftops. We’ve also purchased a 36% stake in the The Kensa Group, whose technology makes it possible to heat homes using ground-source heat pumps, and invested in Oxford PV to help commercialise a new generation of super-efficient solar panels.

Sustainable cities and communities

We are working on major regeneration schemes in towns and cities across the UK, to create opportunities and provide access to basic services and infrastructure for everyone. We have already invested £790 million into transformation schemes in towns and cities including Bath, Bristol, Bracknell, Swindon, Weston-Super-Mare, Cardiff and Sheffield. We're helping to support employment, with venture capital investments in over 770 companies, and a commitment to a £100 million regeneration project in Sunderland that will create 3,000 jobs and a £1.1 billion investment in Leeds that will create 13,000 jobs. We're also helping to put cities at the forefront of the knowledge economy, with investments including our £350 million collaboration with Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council to develop the Newcastle Helix. And, with millions of people in the UK on housing waiting lists or in temporary accommodation, we have invested £750 million into new affordable housing and plan to build 3,000 affordable homes every year, so even more people will have a place to call their own.

Climate actions

In 2019 alone, we invested £1.1 billion in renewable and alternative energy – in particular, solar and offshore wind power. We have already committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions from our housing portfolio by 2030, which is diversified across Build to Sell, Build to Rent, affordable and specialist housing, and we expect to have reached over 50,000 homes by the end of the decade. This year we are also running a Climate Change Hackathon, to identify ideas that could have a genuine impact and the teams that can bring them to life.

Our journey to a better society

Good health and wellbeing

We believe our ageing population is a great achievement and something to be celebrated. But we also recognise the urgent need to rethink and redefine health and social care. We have invested £40 million in Care Sourcer, an online care-finder platform that helps to connect people looking for care with care providers. We have also invested £20 million in the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC), which is a first of its kind for the care sector and part of our partnership with The University of Edinburgh. Meanwhile, those in the later stages of life are already benefitting from the transformative communities we are creating with our partners Inspired Villages and Guild Living. These age-appropriate rural and urban communities reinstate older individuals at the heart of communities and allow them to truly enjoy this stage of their lives. Our later-living accommodation is now operational at six sites with over 1,000 homes, and we plan to deliver around 3,000 additional homes over the next five years.

Decent work and economic growth

In 2019, we entered into four new Government Hub investments, which aim to bring government employees together in large, contemporary offices, supporting local regeneration. This brings our total investment in this programme to more than £1.5 billion across all 12 Government Hubs. Moreover, four of our ongoing investments also reached practical completion, driving sustainable regional growth and job creation across the UK.

The journey to responsible business

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

We continued our investment in transport in 2019, investing £200 million in long-term debt financing to increase the capacity for a rail service in and around Cardiff. We know that UK infrastructure and making cities accessible is pivotal to keep the economy moving, and this long-term financing investment is the fifth of its kind that we’ve made.

By aligning our focus areas with the United Nations’ SDGs we are working to build a better tomorrow. Developing a sustainable global economy sits at the heart of everything we do, and with every action that we take, we become part of  something even bigger.

You can find out more about our sustainability efforts in our CSR Report here.

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