Review by the director in charge of corporate social responsibility

 

 

Review by the director in charge of corporate social responsibility

 

A sustainable society requires companies to take action

OP’s aim to operate in a sustainable manner is based on our cooperative values and our mission that obliges us to promote sustainable prosperity, security and wellbeing for our owner-customers and operating regions. This mission has remained almost unchanged throughout our history that goes back over 100 years. Alongside our business role, our social role guides us to operate for the benefit of our owner-customers and operating regions and set an example for others. Sustainability is not limited to our social role – it encompasses all our operations. Our aim is to be a pioneer in corporate social responsibility in the financial sector. Responsibility is not measured by words, but by actions.

In 2017, we revised our CSR Programme – Positive driver of change through responsibility – which is based on four main themes: We foster a sustainable economy, We support local vitality, We act with a people-first approach and through engagement and We foster health, security and wellbeing. In this Programme, we set ambitious targets for the future. With regard to our own operations, we want to be carbon positive by 2025. We have already taken the first steps towards this goal in the Vallila campus by transferring to electricity that has been generated entirely by wind power, and by building a solar power station on the roof of the Vallila campus. We have also built solar power stations on the roofs of Pohjola Hospitals and in connection with several property investments. In support of these actions, we also prepared OP’s climate principles – the first in our history – that are binding on the whole OP Financial Group.

We also want to encourage sustainable choices among our customers. OP’s mobility services provide and alternative for owning a car. The OP Crowdfunding platform enables participation in financing the growth of Finnish companies. Fund-specific responsibility analyses (ESG analyses) support our customers’ decision-making by providing information on the funds’ carbon footprint and positive environmental impact.

In honour of the centenary of Finland's independence, we launched Hiiop.fi, a new volunteer work exchange site, and challenged people in Finland to engage in 100 person years of voluntary activities. During the jubilee year, OP Financial Group’s personnel and administration did over 274 person years of volunteering together with partners and other people. This involved, for example, helping families and schoolchildren living on limited means, contributing to prevention of loneliness among elderly people, improving young people’s financial literacy, promoting nature values and participating in various fundraising projects. We believe that voluntary activities will increase teamwork in general. This will in turn build trust among people in Finland and increase their wellbeing.

Responsibility ultimately comes down to daily actions in our business. You can learn more about other aspects of CSR in our business operations in the annual report. Take part in discussion on social media with hashtag #OPVuosi2017.

Tuuli Kousa

 

 

 

Corporate social responsibility highlights 2017

 

Corporate social responsibility highlights 2017

We updated our corporate social responsibility programme

The main themes of OP’s corporate social responsibility programme are fostering sustainable economy, supporting regional vitality, people-first and participative approach and the foster of health, safety and wellbeing. The programme defines goals and targets for a broad range of activities and for all areas. One of them is to make OP carbon positive by 2025. Read more from our corporate social responsibility programme.

Hiiop – 100 years of volunteering

OP Financial Group's gift to the 100-year-old Finland: 274 person-years of volunteering. In honour of the Finland 100 jubilee year, OP wanted to lower the threshold for participating in voluntary work. Inviting everyone in Finland to do voluntary work together to attain 100 person years of volunteering, OP created a volunteer work exchange site at Hiiop100.fi. The website enables both announcing and searching for volunteer opportunities.

During the jubilee year, OP Financial Group’s personnel and administration did over 274 person years of volunteering together with partners and other people. This involved, for example, helping families and schoolchildren living on limited means, contributing to prevention of loneliness among elderly people, improving young people’s financial literacy, promoting nature values and participating in various fundraising projects.

During 2017, more than 3,000 voluntary tasks around Finland were posted on Hiiop100.fi, an exchange service for volunteer work. Volunteer work during the jubilee year has deepened OP’s social role and substantially expanded our relations with the third sector.
As part of its corporate social responsibility, OP will continue to maintain and further develop the Hiiop100.fi service and enable its employees to do voluntary work during working hours also after the jubilee year.

Read more about opportunities for volunteer work at Hiiop100.fi.

 

OP joined the FIBS Diversity Network

OP joined the FIBS Diversity Network in autumn 2017. On joining, members sign a Diversity Charter by which they engage themselves in developing their management and service practices through diversity principles of the Charter. Read more about the FIBS Diversity Network.

 

Solar power from rooftops

The building of solar power stations is a concrete example of OP’s corporate social responsibility programme updated this year. OP will build on the roof of the Vallila campus a solar power station, which will probably also be the largest installed into an office property in Finland. Solar panels are already creating energy in Kuopio and Oulu on the roofs of Pohjola Hospitals. The hospital under construction in Turku will also have solar panels. Solar power has also been used in buildings developed by OP Property Management Ltd. OP is currently looking into the viability of having solar power stations installed in the roofs of member cooperative banks around Finland.

 

The biggest electronic voting in Finland

In November, OP Financial Group’s 81 cooperative banks held the election of the Representative Assembly where owner-customers elected from among them the Representative Assembly for their own bank for four years. A total of almost 2,400 members were elected to the Assemblies. The number of candidates totalled over 5,600.

 

OP launched the OP Crowdfunding service

OP Crowdfunding’s first investment project involved the small ice cream factory Suominen's Milk Ltd which sought capital for growth and to start exporting its organic ice cream, Jymy. OP’s second crowdfunding project with the Nokia-based clothing manufacturer Papu Design began in December 2017.

 

New mobility services

Mobility services increased as OP introduced DriveNow car sharing charged by the minute, in Helsinki, and OP Flexible Car providing rental cars for a month or a longer period, offered nationwide. In May 2017, OP also announced it will build with Fortum almost 100 charging stations for electric cars in Finland.

 

OP joined the Commitment 2050 programme

OP joined the national commitment on sustainable development, ”The Finland We Want by 2050”. The purpose of this commitment is to promote sustainable development everywhere in our society. OP is committed to promoting competence development in Finland as the country is undergoing a transformation of employment.

 

New ownership policy and engagement

OP Fund Management Company revised its ownership policy concerning Finnish and foreign companies in autumn 2017. The new policy will take better into account responsibility viewpoints, such as preparation for climate change and sustainability. As a result of the new policy, OP funds will also attend the AGMs of global companies. The first OP funds began to vote in AGMs outside Finland in autumn 2017. OP funds are committed to increasing their voting activity within three years with the aim of participating in thousands of AGMs abroad every year. OP Fund Management Company's ownership policy defines how OP funds exercise influence in AGMs.

 

Thematic engagement projects on carbon, water and tax risks

In the first half of 2017, OP launched thematic engagement projects on carbon, water and tax risks. Furthermore, in the second half of the year, we joined Climate Action 100+, a global five-year engagement initiative for investors. OP Wealth Management joined three thematic corporate engagement projects.

 

The first fund-specific ESG analyses were published

In July 2017, we began to publish fund-specific environmental, social and governance (ESG) analyses. In future, we will publish these analyses on a quarterly basis. The analyses include responsibility ratings for companies in the funds’ portfolios. The analyses comprise environmental (E), social (S) and governance-related (G) issues. The fund-specific analyses also include information on the companies’ carbon footprints and positive environmental impact.

 

 

 

Tax footprint

 

Tax footprint

OP’s taxes consist of indirect and direct taxes and taxes collected. Indirect taxes include income tax, real estate tax and fiscal charges paid directly by OP. Indirect taxes include the value added tax and the insurance premium tax. Taxes collected include taxes collected by OP as the remittance payer and forwarded to the state, such as tax withheld from payroll and tax at source withheld from interests.

The mediation and sales of financial services is free of VAT. Thus, it does not generate the obligation to pay VAT, nor does it entitle to make VAT deductions on purchases. However, OP Financial Group member cooperative banks and other companies are liable to pay VAT on their other business.

Taxes included in the tax footprint were calculated on an accrual basis.

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate social responsibility management at OP

 

Corporate social responsibility management at OP

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of OP's business and strategy. CSR is based on our mission and joint values, supported by our customer-owned business model.

Our business must promote the prosperity of our customers and our operating environment. Our social role directs us to set an example for others. We develop products and services which encourage our customers to act in a responsible and environment-friendly manner. OP aims to be a pioneer in CSR in the financial sector. The Code of Business Ethics, which was updated in December 2017, contains OP Financial Group’s CSR principles which all those employed by OP Financial Group, whatever their role, position or location, must observe. The Code of Business Ethics also includes the Group’s environmental principles. The Code is supplemented by more detailed rules and guidelines.

OP Financial Group’s corporate governance practices mostly cover actions related to CSR management. The main management approaches are defined in OP Financial Group's Corporate Governance Principles. Our operations are guided by good banking and insurance practices. We comply with laws, standards and regulations and adhere to the principles of honest and fair operations. The Operational Risk and Compliance function oversees risks and compliance related to CSR, and it also bears overall responsibility for providing advice on CSR principles. The function operates independently of the business areas.

OP’s CSR actions and targets are guided and coordinated by the Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, which was updated in 2017.

As reporting principles, OP follows the GRI Standards and the UN Global Compact and is developing its reporting in the direction of the IIRC framework. OP Financial Group’s sustainability reporting is mainly performed within the same boundaries as the Group’s financial reporting. Any deviations or limitations in the boundary are reported next to the applicable data.

Organisation of responsibility issues

CSR policies and guidelines are approved by the Supervisory Board. Strategic CSR management is the responsibility of the Executive Board of OP Cooperative, which also makes strategic decisions on CSR matters. On the OP Cooperative Executive Board, CSR comes under the Chief Communications Officer’s remit. CSR issues are discussed regularly, not only in the Executive Board but also in business divisions’ executive boards. Day-to-day work concerning CSR and the implementation of the CSR Programme is carried out by CSR working groups in the business divisions.

Assessment of management

Leadership methods will be assessed as part of general leadership practices. Targets and operating principles will be updated should there be any changes in the operating environment, for example.

International commitments and participation in organisations

”We support the UN Global Compact initiative and promote human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption.”

Jaakko Pehkonen, Chair of the Supervisory Board

In addition to laws and regulations, OP undertakes to comply with international commitments that guide operations. OP signed the Global Compact initiative in 2011, becoming committed to the Initiative's ten principles on human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption. The Global Compact principles have been integrated into OP's new supplier contracts. The principles of Global Compact have also been taken into account in online training for personnel concerning the Code of Business Ethics and corporate social responsibility.

OP was among Finland's first asset management companies to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in 2009. Since then, the Group has developed responsible investment practices with even greater determination, and participated in wider development efforts in the sector. OP is also one of the founding members of Finland’s Sustainable Investment Forum (FINSIF). OP is also involved in the Global Compact Nordic Network, the corporate responsibility network Finnish Business & Society (FIBS), the Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-operative Affairs Working Group of the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) and the CSR working group of the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE).

We actively follow the development of guidelines intended for the financial sector as part of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The OECD guidelines comprise voluntary CSR principles and standards, as well as instructions for applying legislation to international business operations.

OP has signed the Equator Principles initiative in order to ensure the responsibility of its project financing. As in previous years, OP responded to the CDP survey, which gathers information from large corporations on the effect of climate change on their business and any actions they have taken to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gases. In 2017, OP achieved score B+ on a four-step scale from A to D. Score B means that the Company has taken actions to address environmental issues beyond initial screenings or assessments.

In its role as an investor, OP Wealth Management has signed CDP’s climate change and water initiatives and the deforestation initiative.

Key CSR guidelines and principles

  • OP Financial Group's Corporate Governance
  • OP Financial Group's CSR Policies
  • UN Global Compact principles
  • Code of Business Ethics
  • OP Financial Group's Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

Materiality

The purpose of the CSR materiality analysis is to identify the aspects of CSR that are the most central to OP and its stakeholders.

The CSR materiality analysis was carried out in late 2016. Stakeholders’ opinions were collected with two stakeholder surveys in which the respondents were asked to evaluate, for example, the materiality of responsibility-related aspects and OP’s role in this work. This materiality analysis guides the updating of and goal setting for the CSR programme.

 
 

Risks and control

No products, services, business models and systems will be introduced before they have been assessed for potential risks and changes. Major new products, services and operating models or significant changes to existing ones are, when necessary, assessed by OP Cooperative's Executive Board, which ultimately decides on whether they should be adopted. The Executive Board is informed of significant realised risks as a part of monthly risk reviews. Risk maps, updated annually, are used to identify the critical risks affecting operations, including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks. These maps are used to conduct an analysis on the basis of which the executive management are informed of critical phenomena. The effectiveness of the risk and solvency management efforts of OP and its organisations is evaluated on an annual basis. Internal audits are conducted each year to examine the state of internal controls and capital adequacy management.

Internal controls cover all operations, involving all OP Financial Group entities and sites. The nature and extent of operations and, whenever necessary, special characteristics related to international operations are taken into consideration in specifying internal controls. Internal control covers all organisational levels. Internal control in its most extensive form primarily takes place at the operational level, characterised by continuous processes and forming part of daily routines. Internal control is complemented by the opportunity of anyone employed by OP Financial Group to report through an independent channel if they suspect that rules or regulations have been violated (whistle blowing).

OP Financial Group as a credit institution is supervised by the European Central Bank (ECB). The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority oversees OP Financial Group's investment firms and insurance companies in Finland as prescribed in legislation governing financial and insurance markets. OP Financial Group's operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are supervised to an applicable extent by the national regulators.

OP’s suppliers are mainly based in Finland, and they produce services mainly in Finland. Therefore, OP can manage the CSR risk level related to procurement through transparent and well-managed supplier cooperation. OP’s CSR requirements for suppliers have been incorporated in purchase agreements. Suppliers’ CSR performance is monitored as part of OP’s supplier management model.

 

 

 

Corporate social responsibility programme

 

Corporate social responsibility programme

OP's CSR targets are guided and coordinated by the Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. The programme was updated in 2017 under the umbrella theme “Positive driver of change through responsibility”. The programme is built around four main themes: 1) We foster a sustainable economy, 2) We support local vitality, 3) We act with a people-first approach and through engagement and 4) We foster health, security and wellbeing.

 

 

KPIs of the CSR Programme

  2017 2016 (if available)
Own CO2 emission, tn CO2e 20,964 18,559
Renewable energy, % 13  
Charitable donations, € million 2.3 6
Diversity objective, % 21  
Recommendation / NPS 58 53

Promotion of the CSR Programme targets in 2017

1) We foster a sustainable economy

  • We revised our Code of Business Ethics by adding our key environmental and climate principles in it.
  • We increased the use of renewable energy in our offices. For example, we built a solar power station at the OP Vallila campus in Helsinki and at the Pohjola Hospitals in Kuopio and Oulu.
  • The new Pohjola Hospitals were LEED certified: The Kuopio unit reached the LEED Platinum level, which means that the building is excellent in terms of the environment and energy efficiency.
  • We revised our principles for responsible investment and ownership policy and began to vote also in the general meetings of foreign companies.
  • We published the first fund-specific responsibility analyses (ESG analyses) that cover areas such as the funds’ positive environmental impacts.
  • We joined the Climate Action 100+ initiative in which investors engage together in projects under shared themes.

2) We support local vitality

  • We donated a total of EUR 6.3 million to Finnish universities during the 2015–2017 donation period. In 2017, we donated approximately EUR 800,000.
  • We continued to calculate our tax footprint.
  • Hiiop: In the ”100 years of volunteering” project, we cooperated with more than 100 third-sector partners.
  • In 2017, 130 OP employees were involved in a financial literacy project by giving financial advice to young people at risk of becoming marginalised.
  • We participated in the HundrED project as one of the main partners.

3) We act with a people-first approach and through engagement

  • We organised the biggest electronic voting in Finland in which a new Representative Assembly was elected for 81 Group cooperative banks.
  • Each employee was allowed to do one day of paid volunteer work as a gift to the 100-year-old Finland. OP employees donated a total of 100 years of volunteering as part of the Hiiop 100 project.
  • We performed a wide range of work with stakeholders and invited customers to join the various stages of our product development efforts.

  • Through the ”Summer jobs paid for by OP” project, more than 1,000 your persons got a summer job with a non-profit organisation, paid for by the local OP Group cooperative bank.

4) We foster health, security and wellbeing

  • Our sports masters provided training to sports clubs’ coaches in order to prevent sports accidents.
  • We promoted traffic safety through the ”Traffic act of the century” project.
  • We introduced new services that make our customers’ daily lives easier, such as the OP Flexible Car, the Siirto payments and the fully digital travel insurance.

More CSR actions: Corporate social responsibility highlights.