In 2015, all United Nations (UN) Member States adopted a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda is a plan of action for people, the planet and prosperity. It seeks to strengthen universal peace and heal and secure our planet. This includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets which demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people can live in peace and prosperity. The 17 goals that make up the SDGs address the world’s most important economic, social, environmental and governance challenges. Successful delivery of the SDGs require all players from all sectors to champion this agenda. Private sector action will be key to the success of each goal – through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration. In aligning our sustainability strategy to the SDGs, we have chosen five of the Goals to focus on where we think we can have a genuine impact.
In 2020, we established long-term objectives that are aligned with each of our five priority SDGs to show how we is responding to global issues such as climate change, inequality, injustice and poverty.
The Five UN Goals we have prioritised are:
- 1. No Poverty
- 4. Quality Education
- 5. Gender Equality
- 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
- 10. Reduced Inequalities
- 13. Climate Action
This goal aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. The target is to eradicate poverty for all people everywhere by 2030. Poverty is currently measured as people living on less than 91p a day.
Vanquis Banking Group Lends Responsibly and Acts Sustainably
Our Purpose as a business it to address key barriers to financial inclusion and help to put people on a path to a better everyday life. We do this primarily by ensuring that our customers have access to cost-effective and appropriate products, that meet their specific needs.
We also invest in activities and initiatives that address key factors which may affect someone’s likelihood of being accepted for credit, through our Social Impact Programme. We make sure our colleagues have the skills to deal with customers with additional needs. We also support independent financial research, money advice and financial education.
This enables our customers, and others who might face financial difficulty, to recognise the barriers to financial inclusion. They can then overcome these barriers and secure a more positive financial future for themselves.
2022 highlights and achievements
We primarily contribute to this Goal by delivering on our Purpose of helping put people on a path to a better everyday life and responsibly providing our 1.7 million customers with credit cards and loans through our Vanquis business and vehicle finance through Moneybarn.
We also support the financial inclusion agenda through our Foundation by providing grants to charities and specialist partners to address issues like customer vulnerability, product accessibility and financial difficulties. In 2022, we also contributed to the achievement
of this SDG by working with longstanding partner IncomeMax to launch a new online platform which provides customers with digital access to one-to-one, expert advice to help maximise their income.
We also continued to fund the Money Charity to provide information, advice and guidance to people of all ages so that they develop money management skills and increase their financial wellbeing. In 2022, this enabled the charity to deliver: 209 hours' worth of financial
education workshops to 4,948 young people; and 78 hours' worth of financial wellbeing workshops to 954 adults. In providing this much needed support, the Money Charity prioritises supporting the most disadvantaged students and hard to reach groups. In 2022, 83% of participants came from disadvantaged groups.
We often post our work relating to these programs on our social media channels. Do take a look and meet some of the faces behind this work.
This goal ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all. The target is: By 2030, to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. It's all about improving access to quality early childhood development to increase the number of youth and young adults who have the relevant skills in literacy and numeracy.
We continue to contribute to this SDG through the work we support with our education partners. Through our longstanding partnerships with National Numeracy, the National Literacy Trust and Leading Children we have supported a number of programmes which aim to boost the literacy and numeracy skills of children and young people. We are also committed to ensuring that children do not lose out on their education because of the current cost of living challenges
that many families are dealing with.
This is why we set up funds with School-Home Support and the Dixons Academies Trust which have to supplied essential items of school uniform to more than 1,000 students across Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool in time for the
start of the autumn 2022 term.
This goal aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The target is: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
We are committed to supporting diversity and creating an open and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued.
Financial services has traditionally been seen as an industry that has lacked diversity and inclusivity however we're aiming to address this through promoting more women into senior level positions and we also recognise that PFG has a key role to play in closing the gender pay gap across the financial services sector. That's why PFG's objective is to have 40% female representaion in the Group's senior Management population.
The Group’s senior management population currently has 33% female representation. The key actions we undertook throughout 2022 to support this SDG include: ensuring gender balanced shortlists when recruiting for all senior leadership roles across the Group; and hosting events to challenge and change behaviour/mindsets around, equality, diversity and inclusion.
This has included delivering ‘Menopause in the Workplace’ sessions, helping colleagues benefit from increased menopause awareness, guidance and support; continuing to adopt hybrid working models and enabling colleagues to work with greater flexibility, ensuring they have the support they need and which has also provided a wider talent pool with less geographical barriers; and
continuing to support a Company-wide a gender affinity group as part of our inclusion community which is sponsored by an executive.
Through our Foundation, we also support projects which aim to empower women and girls. For example, in 2022, through our partnership with the London Community Foundation we provided funding to the female-led charity, Believe, that will enable it to deliver a leadership programme to disadvantaged young women in Lewisham, South London, so that they can improve their social and economic outcomes, whilst taking control of their lives.
In addition, through our partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, we are funding the Avenue Centre in Southampton to deliver a programme that will support socially deprived young mums to overcome a range of challenges from domestic and financial abuse to asylum and mental health issues.
This goal promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The UN target is: Sustain economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.
By 2030, we will contribute to promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all by creating opportunities for all generations and protecting and promoting labour rights in both our business and supply chains.
We do this in a number of ways, one of which being our social impact programme.
Social Mobility Business Partnership
We are a founding funder of the Social Mobility Business Partnership which brings together large corporate organisations and professional sports clubs to remove barriers, develop skills and provide experiences to sixth form and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The programme helps build aspirations and inspire individuals to pursue a career in a profession which they may not have previously considered. Our colleagues supported this and volunteered their time to deliver CV writing and job interview skills to young people in Bradford. You can see this in action, here on LinkedIn.
We also support charities and other organisations in the communities we serve, to help people to develop their skills and secure employment opportunities. For example, in 2020, we funded the Wecock Community Association in Hampshire. They provide advice to people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to access work opportunities.
Finally, we’re committed to protecting and promoting labour rights in both our business and supply chains. We do this by ensuring that we take steps to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking from occurring in our supply chain and direct business activities. We also ensure that we pay our suppliers, in particular those that are small to medium sized, promptly.
We continue to support this Goal, which is aligned with our Purpose, by funding the delivery of activities and initiatives in the communities we serve via our Foundation. In 2022, this involved providing funding to Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB) to engage with and support children and young people to increase their oracy and digital skills, confidence and self-esteem, and widen their life chances, aspirations and educational outcomes through becoming radio
broadcasters and producers for BCB Radio.
We also provided funding to the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust, which is close to where our
vehicle finance business is based, to deliver maritime industry training and skills development for disadvantaged young people from its local community. Finally, we continued to support and
participate in the Social Mobility Business Partnership which delivers a programme which aims to remove barriers, develop skills and provide experiences to sixth form and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they pursue careers in the legal and professional services sectors. In 2022, the overall programme supported over 500 16 to 18-year-old students, with Vanquis Banking Group hosting 11 students from schools and colleges next to its
Bradford head office.
This goal aims to reduce inequality within and among countries. The target is: By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income grown of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average.
Whether it is because of their age / sex / gender identity / race / ethnicity / origin / disability / ability / where they live or what their economic status is, we will contribute to reducing inequality by building these capabilities to better identify, support and empower our stakeholders who may face inequality and exclusion.
How we do this
We do this by supporting community projects in areas where people are more likely to face social and financial exclusion. We provide them grants to support local people in improving aspects of their life.
For example, we provided a grant to the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London. This enabled immigration casework to be delivered to disadvantaged young refugees and migrants who are entitled to be in the UK but cannot afford to regularise their status. We also support the Newport Yemeni Community Association in Wales to deliver an online homework club that allows children from the Yemeni community to engage with tutors. They can then access support in key subjects such as Maths, English and Science. In Havant, we’ve been able to provide funding to Enterpride CIC which supports and encourages the development of enterprise initiatives to allow greater work opportunities for people with learning disabilities. They raise awareness of the value that people with learning disabilities can bring and offer access to employment.
We also seek to ensure that we create a workplace culture at Vanquis Banking Group which aims reduce inequalities. We do this because we know that our colleague’s unique backgrounds, experiences and abilities are at the core of our culture and vibrant workforce. The communities we operate in and our customers bases are made up of equally diverse mixes of race, gender, sexuality and disability and other protected characteristics.
So, by building diverse teams at all levels of our business that represent and understand these populations, we can innovate. We can provide the best products and service to our customers and contribute to the long-term success of Vanquis Banking Group. This saw us launch our overall inclusion community. This comprises five affinity groups based around disability, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+, and social mobility to discuss inclusion and diversity plans, developments and proposals.
You can read more on Inclusion and Diversity here or find more information on what we do on our social media channels.
Our core focus in 2021 was to align our Corporate Responsibility Strategy and Brand story and Strategy with our priority goals. This enabled the strategic drivers of our business, and the everyday behaviours of our colleagues, to have a direct positive impact on sustainable development. Our purpose will be to improve the lives of the undeserved people that make up our customer base, as well as millions of others facing hardship around the world.
We also support this Goal, by providing funding to a range of projects through our Foundation which seeks to reduce inequalities. For example, in 2022, we provided funding to Horn Stars in Brent, North West London, to delivers its Youth Zone project, which is a twice weekly safe space for 9-19 year olds comprising youth club sports activities and monthly trips reaching 100 young people experiencing deprivation. We also supported the Free2B Alliance, a London-based community organisation, which supports LGBTQ+ young people and their parents by increasing their wellbeing, resilience and social connections, and by reducing isolation and improving family connections.
Our funding also supports the delivery of LGBTQ+ awareness training in schools and other organisations to promote inclusivity. In terms of seeking to maintain an inclusive and diverse
workplace at Vanquis Banking Group, we continue to do this via our Group-wide inclusion community, which comprises five aligned Affinity Groups.
These groups currently have approximately 70 active and representative members, as well as an extensive network of Affinity Group allies, and help to coordinate work across the Group to celebrate, learn and increase awareness around an extensive range of inclusive and diversity-related events.
Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It is intrinsically linked to all 16 of the other Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Vanquis Banking Group target
To achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, support the UK’s transition to a net zero economy and take urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts.
2022 highlights and achievements
During 2022, we have continued to reduce our impact on the environment by improving the energy and resource efficiency of our operations and understanding and reporting the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the Group.
We have also taken a number of important steps that support our net zero target. These include: accounting for all the scope 3 GHG emissions that are material to our business activities so that we can report accurately, set accurate science‑based targets and support the
delivery of our overall net zero by 2040 target; progressing the work that enables us to set a science-based carbon reduction target; publishing a second report which meets the TCFD recommendations; and evolving our approach to carbon offsetting so that we achieve
carbon reduction from the planting/preservation of natural habitats.