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

Women using environmentally friendly scooters

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

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Affordable and clean energy

We invest long-term capital into the clean energy sector to accelerate progress towards a low-cost, low-carbon economy and to ensure that our society feels the economic benefits of green technology. Our investments include a £57 million financing agreement to support Hermes Infrastructure, who provide 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 provided long-term financing for HeatRHight to develop its air source heat pump technology. In addition, we have and increased our stake in PodPoint, a leading electric vehicle charging point operator and we continue to support Tokamak, with the aim of bringing clean fusion energy to market by 2030.

Sustainable cities and communities

We are working on major urban regeneration schemes across the UK, focusing on how to achieve sustainable cities and communities. We have already invested £790 million into transformation schemes in towns and cities including Bath, Bristol, Bracknell, Swindon, Weston-Super-Mare, Cardiff and Sheffield. Our commitment to a £100 million regeneration project in Sunderland will create 3,000 jobs and a £1.1 billion investment in Leeds will create 13,000 jobs. And with millions of people in the UK on housing waiting lists or in temporary accommodation we are working to deliver 3,000 affordable homes a year, many of which will be modular properties built in our own factory. We currently have planning permission for 6,000 homes, including, for example, 185 homes in Bristol, half of which will be affordable.

Climate actions

As we build back better after the pandemic, we aim to support green economic growth. In fact clean energy is a good investment and so far, we have invested £1.4 billion in renewables infrastructure, such as solar and offshore wind power. We are decarbonising the assets we own to align with the Paris objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and have already seen a 2% reduction in carbon emissions from our investment portfolio. We have also begun development of a net-zero retirement community of 200 age-appropriate homes and have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions from our housing portfolio by 2030.

Our journey to a better society

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Good health and wellbeing

Our Bruntwood SciTech partnership has played a significant part in tackling the pandemic, with its Alderley Park campus now transformed into a national Covid-19 testing hub. We have provided support for organisations that are helping the community during the crisis, from the Royal Voluntary Service and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards to FastFutures, a digital and business skills programme for young people. We have also agreed, in partnership with the University of Birmingham to provide a new £210 million Health Innovation Campus in the city. And through a new long-term partnership with Sir Michael Mormot, Director of the University College London Institute of Health Equity, we will create a multi-million pound charitable fund to examine how the design and construction of our towns and cities can help to address health inequalities.

Decent work and economic growth

We have already invested around £30 billion in towns and cities across the UK, in places like Newcastle, Sunderland, Sheffield, Cardiff and Bristol and with each project we ask a simple question – how can we make our cities more sustainable? Our investments since the start of the pandemic are set to create 30,000 jobs. And to help us identify what is needed in every area, we launched our Place Satisfaction Index. In December 2020 we surveyed 20,000 people across the country to find out how satisfied they were with local amenities such as housing, transport and retail provision. We aim to use the information to support the levelling up of the UK economy. In our own operations we have built the UK’s largest surveying business in Barnsley and our lifetime mortgages business in Solihull to support the economies of these regional towns.

The journey to responsible business

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

We are investing in innovation districts in cities across the country through our Bruntwood SciTech partnership. Our new £1.5 billion investment in Manchester, for example, will see ID Manchester create 10,000 new jobs as well as 1,300 houses. We have also committed £4 billion to a 50:50 partnership with Oxford University. This will create science and innovation districts in and around Oxford as well as new homes for university staff and students. And in Newcastle we have invested £65 million in The Lumen Building, which is part of the new Helix science and technology district in the heart of the city. In addition, we’ve invested in 300 companies, giving them the vital funds they need to grow.

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.