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.
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 Executive Committee.
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 Executive Committee
Nationwide is managed day-to-day by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is assisted by the Executive Committee. 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 Executive Committee.
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 Nationwide branch today will still have one until at least 2026
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 inclusive 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
- 100% of our scope 2 electricity comes from renewable sources. This is through a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), which produces emissions-free energy, and green tariff electricity
- 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.
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: October 2023