Human Rights Statement
We’re committed to ensuring that the way we go about our business, and the products and services we provide, are always offered with the rights of others in mind. From the members and communities we serve, to the people we employ and the partners and suppliers we work with, we strive to ensure people are positively impacted by our business.
What's on this page
Our purpose and values
We're a UK-centric organisation focused on retail banking, specifically mortgages, savings and current accounts. As a mutual, we’re owned by our 16 million members, those people who bank, save or have a mortgage with us. And we were founded for an entirely social purpose, to help people to buy homes of their own.
Our purpose is ‘building society, nationwide’. Our ambitions are to provide better value and service for our members, to be a force for good, and to contribute to the wider society and communities in which we serve.
The United Nations (opens in new window) recognises human rights as ‘rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more’.
Our purpose and core mutual values inform how we respect and uphold human rights.
We’re guided in our approach by:
- our partnerships and affiliations
- our Mutual Good Commitments and support for the UN Social Development Goals
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- the fundamental aims set out in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) promotion of social justice, human and labour rights
- the UN Global Compact and The UNEP Principles for Responsible Banking frameworks and insight into best practices, to support our commitment to make increasingly positive contributions to society.
As such we’ve designed policies and processes to ensure that we support our members, colleagues, suppliers and communities.
Aims of our statement
With this statement we aim to:
- set out our commitment to protect and support human rights throughout the entirety of our organisation
- provide an overview of some of the ways in which we work to support and respect human rights in our relationships with our members, colleagues, third parties and communities
- show how we aim to put our members at the heart of our decision making, help them to thrive and build an inclusive culture where all our colleagues can be themselves, grow and succeed
- further support the implementation of the policies and processes that make up our Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement, tackling modern slavery across our colleague, supplier and customer bases
- demonstrate to key stakeholders that Nationwide manages human rights risks in an effective way.
Supporting members’ rights
The right to financial security and a safe home
We want to help all our members achieve financial stability. That's whether they’re currently wealthy, financially squeezed, or in a poverty trap. Through our products and services, we have an opportunity to help members into secure housing and support their financial wellbeing, both of which help our members secure their rights to safety, security, dignity and equality. However, the provision of these products and services on their own is not enough. We must continue to do as much as we can to help members who may need help overcoming the obstacles they face. This is a responsibility we have met with a range of initiatives, from nudges to help with saving, to public campaigns and social innovation programmes. Through our mutual good commitments, we have set targets to help focus our efforts toward this need.
We want to help protect our members by:
- understanding and responding to vulnerable members’ needs
- finding different ways to help members with their financial difficulties
- applying an ethic of care, inclusion, and accessibility, to shape everything we do, from our branches to our corporate governance, from product design to marketing
- helping to build financial resilience for members throughout their time with Nationwide
- recognising the financial and social benefits of owning a home, and helping to overcome the barriers many people experience in buying, maintaining, and retaining a home
- engaging with a range of policymakers across the political spectrum to champion the needs and interests of our members.
The right to be protected from crime
Whether they are aware of it or not, our members are regularly exposed to increasingly sophisticated criminal intent. Strong governance, culture, policies, and technological solutions, coupled with training, heightened awareness, and human interventions, all play their part in helping us protect our members from crime.
We focus on:
- ensuring our members can transact safely, protecting members from fraud
- keeping members’ money and personal data safe and secure by managing cyber risks
- using policies, procedures, and regular training to help us operate with integrity, defend against financial crime and protect society
- committing to respect and protect our members’ data, ensuring privacy
- providing a range of ways members and colleagues can raise a concern.
The right to freedom from slavery and forced labour
Money is the driver of modern slavery, and financial institutions need to be a central part of the solution. At Nationwide, we have rolled out training across our organisation, partnered with survivor charities to support victims, and have established a cross-business working group to co-ordinate initiatives, insight and learnings.
Supporting colleagues’ rights
Working with colleagues to help them perform at their best
We want to be a great place to work. It is important to our colleagues that we remain a place that is flexible, in which they feel safe to have a voice, and have the confidence to bring their whole selves to work.
Find out about how:
- we listen to our colleagues and our culture, PRIDE
- we’re reimagining the future of work for our colleagues
- we’re protecting the health and safety of colleagues at work
- we’re ensuring colleagues have the right capabilities now and for the future
- we’re investing in the development of our leaders.
Empowering our people
Our colleagues are encouraged to bring out the best in each other, to create a place where differences are treasured. We continue to support our colleagues in looking after their social, mental, physical and financial wellbeing, and together, we are shaping a stronger, kinder, and greener Society, with mutual respect.
- Our colleagues are free to work in ways that best suit them.
- Inclusion and wellbeing are central to our colleagues’ ability to thrive.
- Our colleagues are encouraged to work towards reducing environmental harm.
- Our employee network groups are places where our people can share their thoughts and experiences, learn from others, and influence change.
- We support our colleagues’ freedom of association through the Nationwide Group Staff Union.
Treating our people with dignity and respect
Our culture at Nationwide is built on a strong ethic of care that treats our people with dignity and respect.
For us this involves:
- rewarding people fairly and creating a climate that enables people to perform better.
- balancing commerciality with our values and ethic of care so that, as we transform our organisation, our people still feel supported.
Listening to colleagues
Our code of conduct supports our commitment to promote a culture of honesty and integrity across Nationwide, enabling our people to do the right thing for our members. We continually listen to our colleagues by providing regular opportunities for them to share their views including our engagement survey ‘ViewPoint’. This is complemented by monthly ‘pulse’ surveys aligned to our PRIDE values, as well as externally hosted surveys such as the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB) and Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index.
Together, this frequent insight into our colleagues’ experience means we can respond with agility and pace to support where and when it is needed. We also gather insights through our Employee Network Groups, engagement with Nationwide Group Staff Union (NGSU) and Employee Connect, an online community which allows colleagues to take part in research, from shaping policies, to improving products and services for our members.
We do everything we can to create an environment where colleagues feel safe to speak up, and are confident that when they do, any concerns of wrongdoing, misconduct, or behaviours will be listened to, and acted upon. Likewise, we have policies and processes in place to respond to identified cases of discrimination, abuse or harassment. We provide several ways to 'Speak Up' at Nationwide, including, but not limited to, our whistleblowing process.
The fundamental ways in which Nationwide operates, from our investments, to our partnerships and our relationship with the environment, all leave their mark on the ability of our communities to thrive. Thriving communities help to secure better homes and businesses, with reliable access to finances, and offer a good standard of education and learning, with positive job and career prospects. Here at Nationwide, we are committed to help build society for the good of our members and their communities.
Helping to make our members’ voices louder
We’re taking a bolder stand to help influence policy makers on issues that matter to our members. Read about how we champion members’ needs.
We’ve created partnerships and campaigns that build respect in the community.
Helping to plug community skills and learning gaps
To help address the technology skills shortage the UK is facing we’ve established a range of educational partnerships.
Helping to address housing need
We’re doing this through:
- charitable partnerships and donations
- providing support for providers of social housing
- our social investment and Community Grants (opens in new window) which are designed to help the most vulnerable in our society find a place fit to call home.
Helping to protect and restore the environment
We’re doing this through:
We recognise that we're facing a critical moment for climate change and continue to work towards a low carbon future. Unusually within financial services, our business model means that our strategy does not involve lending to or investing in businesses that have a negative impact on society and the environment, such as those in the fossil fuel industry.
Nationwide also has an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investment policy for treasury assets. Our ESG assets are currently restricted to bonds issued by Multilateral Development Banks, although the investment criteria are subject to ongoing review.
Ensuring human rights are met through our supply chain
It is important that our suppliers represent the Society and demonstrate a commitment to our policies and standards. Nationwide’s Third Party Code of Practice defines our expectations to respect the values and human rights of their employees, to never use child, forced, or involuntary labour, and to ensure working hours are within local regulations and industry practices. Their employees must be free to join, or decide not to join, worker organisations, and must be provided with clear disciplinary and grievance procedures.
At onboarding, all prospective suppliers are asked to agree to comply with our Third Party Code of Practice - PDF 1,019 KB (opens in a new window), which sets out expectations for ethics, diversity and green standards. Where they do not currently meet our standards, we request they close these gaps as a condition of doing business with us on an ongoing basis. Where a prospective supplier is unwilling to meet the standards stipulated in our code, we won’t conduct business with them unless assessed as justifiable mitigating circumstances, by the Chief Procurement Officer.
Early in 2021, Nationwide partnered with EcoVadis to rate our third party suppliers’ sustainability performance, including their approach to human and labour rights. Third parties are asked to complete the assessment on an annual basis. If their overall score does not meet the threshold that would suggest they are engaged in sustainability, Nationwide requires a corrective action plan and improvement within 12 months. EcoVadis also provides a news monitoring service that can impact the company’s rating.
To learn about how we responsibly and ethically select and manage our third parties, while supporting their needs and interests, visit our page on procurement for mutual good.
Read about how our responsible purchasing principles are helping to build a better society for everyone and the environment.
Our Responsible Business Committee, chaired by the Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer and attended by representation from across the business, will support the oversight of the development of Nationwide’s Statement on Human Rights, on an annual basis. The Committee also has oversight across the different business areas.
Research, policies, risk assessments, strategies, and initiatives that support the protection of human rights through serving the interests of our members, colleagues, third parties and communities, are embedded across the business. The governance structures that manage and oversee these, each feed into the relevant executive and Board sub-committees and into meetings of the Nationwide Leadership Team, on which the Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer sits.
Supporting policies and processes
Our Statement on Human Rights is supported by our policies and processes which help us to identify human rights coverage and any associated risks and gaps.
Working conditions and wellbeing policies
These include our:
- Payments and working arrangement policies
- Family friendly policies
- Health, safety, environmental and wellbeing policies
- Diversity, inclusion, and anti-discrimination policy
- Physical and information security policies
- Job security and redundancy policy
- Healthcare and protection benefits policy
- Pensions policy
- Performance and rewards policies
- Fair treatment at work policy
- Grievance, harassment, disciplinary and bullying policies
- Whistleblowing policy
- Anti-slavery standard and guidance
- Third party code of practice
These include our:
- Financial crime prevention policy
- Anti-corruption policy
- Fraud policy
Legal, regulatory and protection
These include our:
- Anti-bribery and corruption policy
- Gifts and hospitality policy
- Internal fraud policy
- Market abuse policy
- Privacy and monitoring policy
- Regulatory conduct and responsibilities
- Tax policy
- Code of conduct policy
- Conflicts of interest policy
- Modern slavery statement
Products and propositions
These include our:
- Retail product lifecycle policy
- Technology policy
- Brand, member and colleague communications policy
Last updated: November 2021