CSR – MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT IS IN OUR DNA

Mon, 08 Mar 2021

As one of the UK’s leading consumer finance providers, our corporate social responsibility policy is key to how we do business, how we act and how we make things happen in society. Making a positive impact is at the heart of everything we do, and our approach to CSR is so much more than just a box ticking exercise.

Our focus is clear: to support our customers and partners and promote access to more responsible and sustainable consumption. And in these uncertain times, this commitment to making a positive impact is more important than ever.

As part of our CSR manifesto, we’ve made three promises:

  1. To be a role model company and employer
  2. To transform our business, operating models and offers
  3. To make a positive impact beyond our business, in our fields of expertise

Reflecting on our achievements in 2020, we’ve rounded up some of our highlights as a company, in business and in society that demonstrate our commitment to driving positive change.

To be a role model company and employer

At the start of this year, we were recognised as one of the top employers in the UK for 2021 by the Top Employers Institute. Being named as a Top Employer not only showcases our dedication to a better world of work, but also reinforces our commitment to be a role model company and employer.

Now, more than ever, it’s vital that employers pay close attention to the wellbeing of their staff – and the health and safety of our colleagues is something we take very seriously. When the coronavirus crisis first reached the UK this time last year, we mobilised all our colleagues to home working within seven days to safeguard our team members and their welfare.

In addition to the physical safety of our colleagues, we’ve also put a big focus on mental health in the workplace. In 2018, we signed the Time to Change employer pledge in a bid to drive positive change in how people think and act about mental health. Since then, we’ve introduced Mental Health First Aiders to support and guide those who might be struggling, and in 2020 alone, our Mental Health First Aiders volunteered 67 hours of their time to support their colleagues.

Part of looking after our colleagues’ wellbeing and being a role model employer involves creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace where people can be themselves – regardless of their gender, age, origin, sexual orientation or disability. From our commitment to gender equality to being a Disability Confident Employer – we lead by example – and embracing our differences and actively encourage diversity is very much part of our culture. Through our Pride, Multicultural and Women in Finance colleague networks, we’ve continued to champion equality as part of our goal to create a level playing field for all.

To transform our business, operating models and offers

Just as the needs of our colleagues have changed over the past 12 months, so have the needs of our partners and their customers. And our achievements in business over this period showcase our commitment to transforming our offers and operating models and building sustainable and inclusive relationships with our partners.

We’re committed to expanding access to our financial services to a broader range of customers. But, as a responsible bank, it’s paramount that we also engage with our customers ethically. All of our colleagues are therefore trained in responsible lending to help customers navigate changes in their circumstances and spread the cost of their purchases in an affordable way.

Throughout 2020, we continued to support our partners with our e-commerce solutions to meet changing customer needs. And, as well as helping over 50,000 customers facing changes in their financial situation, we also innovated with a fin tech to develop a digital affordability check to help customers who’ve been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through our partnership with the government endorsed quality scheme TrustMark, and other organisations, we aim to be at the heart of the UK’s green recovery. Whether we’re helping consumers to spread the cost of home improvements that reduce emissions or developing finance for electric vehicle charging points, we’re constantly looking for new ways to help our customers reduce their environmental impact to benefit people and our planet for the years to come.

To make a positive impact beyond our business, in our fields of expertise

Giving back is more than just a purpose; it’s our passion. And as well as looking after our colleagues, partners and customers, we’ve made a further commitment to be a force for positive change in society.

We focus our efforts on areas where we can make the greatest difference. And, as a major employer in the region, one of the things we’re most passionate about is tackling youth unemployment. To date we’ve created employment opportunities for 30 people through our apprenticeship programme, as well as improving the financial literacy of students at BMetcollege through virtual financial education workshops.

As part of our efforts to bridge the gap between education and employment, we’ve also continued to improve the lives of 624 young people through our partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks – helping get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, training or employment.

In times of great adversity, there is an even bigger need to help the most disadvantaged in society, and in 2020 we provided 15,000 emergency meals for local people in crisis through the Trussell Trust. Similarly, when schools were forced to switch to remote learning bringing digital poverty into sharp focus, we funded laptops and wi-fi access for over 100 school children to support families with home learning.

As well as taking steps as a business to make a positive impact in society, we also encourage all of our colleagues to do their bit through BNP Paribas Group’s #1MillionHours2Help global programme. As part of our goal to collectively donate one million hours of our time to community work and volunteering, our colleagues can contribute one paid day of their working time each year to help a charity or organisation of their choice. Through this campaign, our colleagues have got involved in everything from lake cleans to sky diving – all in the name of making a positive impact!

At BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, we’re guided by the belief that ‘positive impact starts with me’, and this commitment to making a difference is something that we practice both as a business and on an individual level.

Our CSR manifesto has a huge role to play in this, and as we settle in 2021, we’re already finding new ways to demonstrate our commitment to being a role model company, transforming our business and making a positive impact.

To find out more about our approach to CSR, click here.