Our approach to responsible business
We were founded with a strong underlying social purpose – to help people save and buy homes of their own. We’re guided by this same purpose today, which we express as building society, nationwide.
Being owned by and run for our members, we act in their best interests. And strive to do the right thing in a responsible way for the benefit of them as well as our colleagues, communities, and the environment.
What's on this page
How we’re run and governed
Our board are the ultimate decision-making body. They have responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the Society, to ensure its long-term success and sustainability. You can read more about our board and leadership team.
The board set out the guidelines within which the business is responsibly managed and provides oversight to ensure that fair outcomes are delivered for our stakeholders. In doing this, they consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. They have ultimate accountability for all climate change risk related matters and our Mutual Good Commitments that form part of our ESG strategy.
The Board Risk Committee (BRC) and Executive Risk Committee (ERC) are responsible for oversight of climate-related risks. Climate change risk is discussed at the ERC quarterly, and at the BRC every six months.
Chief Executive Officer and the Nationwide Leadership Team
Nationwide is managed day-to-day by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is assisted by the Nationwide Leadership Team. The CEO is accountable to the board for the Society’s financial and operational performance. They also have responsibility for providing leadership and direction and setting and implementing the Society’s strategy.
Responsible Business Committee (RBC)
The RBC meets every other month and is chaired by the Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer (CSSO). They’re charged with establishing and managing our responsible business agenda across ESG matters. This includes progress against our Mutual Good Commitments and the strategic approach to addressing climate change and environmental ambitions. The RBC reports directly into our Nationwide Leadership Team.
Climate Change Risk Committee (CCRC)
The CCRC meets monthly. Their job is to support the maturing approach to climate change risk management. The CCRC feeds into the RBC every other month and escalates any key climate-related risks and relevant climate change subject matters to Executive Risk Committee and Board Risk Committee for formal discussion.
More information on the discussions and decisions made at RBC and CCRC through the year can be found in our climate-related financial disclosures - PDF 1.4MB (opens in a new window).
Responsible Business and Climate Change Risk teams
Our Responsible Business and Climate Change Risk teams drive and co-ordinate ESG considerations throughout our Society. By having dedicated teams and governance, we can ensure both ESG risks and opportunities are continually explored and promoted at all levels of our Society.
How we decide what to focus and report on
We’ve signed up to the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Responsible Banking. This means we’re committed to strategic alignment with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals: They are:
- Goal 1: No poverty
- Goal 2: Zero hunger
- Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing
- Goal 4: Quality education
- Goal 5: Gender equality
- Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
- Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
- Goal 8: Decent work and economic Growth
- Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
- Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
- Goal 13: Climate action
- Goal 14: Life below water
- Goal 15: Life on land
- Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Goal 17: Partnerships to achieve the goal
Our mutual purpose of building society, nationwide, supports these goals and is most closely aligned to:
Goal 1: No poverty
- We take positive action against homelessness
- We actively look for ways to improve financial inclusion and wellbeing, and to support and protect our members’ money
Goal 5: Gender equality
- We promote gender equality and are working towards equal representation of women in leadership roles
Goal 10 Reduced inequalities
- We’re working to reduce economic inequality
- We seek to ensure everyone has access to good and secure housing, finances, and work opportunities
Goal 11 Sustainable cities and communities
- Our social investment programme enables us to give back to our communities - PDF 2.3MB (opens in a new window)
- Our four cross-industry action groups are working on solutions that help to address broader UK housing challenges related to affordability, accessibility and sustainability
- We’re creating a blueprint to support other responsible organisations in creating sustainable housing alongside local communities, with our not-for-profit development, Oakfield, a community of 239 homes built to high environmental standards
- We’re standing by our high streets and our communities, with our Branch Promise that every town and city with a branch today will still have one until at least 2024
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
- We work hard to reduce our environmental impact by sending no waste to landfill, recycling our office equipment and locally sourcing food across our offices
- Our Procurement for Mutual Good programme supports a greener, more diverse and more ethical supply chain
Goal 13: Climate action
- We’re part of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, aspiring to achieve a net-zero future by 2050 at the latest
- We’re carbon neutral for all energy use and emissions for our internal operations
- We’re helping our members to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes, such as with our green propositions
Each of our Mutual Good Commitments also aligns with at least one SDG.
Engagement with stakeholders
Listening and engaging regularly with our stakeholders is key to the way we do business. It ensures we operate in a balanced and responsible way, both in the short and longer-term. Their views are important to us and help to guide our decision-making and strategy. More information on how we engage with our stakeholders can be found in our Annual Report and Accounts.
In 2019, we ran a materiality assessment. This involved gathering feedback from over 1,000 stakeholders, including members, non-members, colleagues, suppliers, and investors, on how they viewed the importance of different environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. These responses helped to shape our Mutual Good Commitments.
In January 2022, we ran a second materiality assessment. This time we looked at how our stakeholders thought we were progressing against our Mutual Good Commitments. We also explored whether we were still focused on the areas that matter most to them.
Overall, the results confirmed we continue to be focused in broadly the right areas. However, there is a need to increase awareness of our Mutual Good Commitments among our wider stakeholders. We’re working to address this by reporting on our progress in our Annual Report and Accounts and in our Review of the Year document sent to around 8 million members. We’ll also address this in our engagement with investors and suppliers, including webinars.
Our Mutual Good Commitments
These focus on a range of social and environmental aspects where we believe we can make the most positive impact to our members, communities and wider society. They each align with at least one SDG.
Our five Mutual Good Commitments are centred around our belief that everyone:
- should have a place fit to call home
- should have confidence in managing their money
- deserves to be treated with respect
Helping to achieve safe and secure homes for all
By 2025, we’ll:
- Help 250,000 members to buy their first home.
We’re supporting first time buyers with mortgage products that help to address the two main challenges they face. These are raising a deposit and being able to borrow enough to afford a property.
- Help 25,000 members use the money built up in their home to live a better retirement.
Our range of Over 55s products, together with expert advice, helps our members find the best way to fund their retirement goals.
- Equip 50,000 landlords with tools to improve tenants’ lives.
We understand that some people are not able to, or choose not to, buy a home. We want to support good landlord practices and better rental homes for those that rent. So we’ve launched The Landlord Works; our digital one-stop-shop for landlords, to help achieve this.
This commitment is aligned with UN Goal 1: No poverty and Goal 10: Reduced inequalities.
Leading the greening of UK homes
- At least 50% of homes in our mortgage book will have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above.
We want to support greener homes. Our green borrowing products encourage this, but there are wider challenges to hitting this target. Broader policy changes, further support by the Government, and greater collaboration across the industry are needed to address these challenges.
- Our business operations, suppliers and commuting will be carbon neutral.
We’ve been carbon neutral for our business operations since April 2020. And we’re working with our suppliers to achieve a greener supply chain too.
This aligns with Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities, Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production and Goal 13: Climate action.
Supporting our members' financial well-being
- We’ll support 200,000 financially squeezed and struggling members to become regular savers.
Encouraging good savings habits remains a key focus for us. Our Start to Save product has helped us to support financially squeezed and struggling members to start to save regularly. Other banking features such as our Impulse saver and Round ups and our free SavingsWatch feature are also helping. We continue to support our ambitious target but recognise that the current external environment makes it even more difficult for members to save. We’ll look at other initiatives and products that support our ambition.
This aligns with our commitment to Goal 1: No poverty and 10: Reduced inequalities.
Champion thriving communities
- Every town and city with a branch today will still have one until at least 2024.
- We’ll give at least 1% of pre-tax profits to charitable activities every year.
This aligns with our commitment to Goal 11: Sustainable cities and consumption.
Reflect the diversity of our society
- Our people at every level within the organisation will reflect the society that we represent.
Having an inclusive and diverse workforce will help us continue to serve our members in new and even better ways. Our diversity measures are set across gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.
This aligns with our commitment to Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 10: Reduced inequalities.
We’ll continue to consider how we integrate emerging themes such as biodiversity into our activities. More information on the progress we’re making against our Mutual Good Commitments can be found in our Annual report and accounts 2022 - PDF 15MB (opens in a new window).
Last updated: June 2022