It is now commonplace for companies to report annually on their sustainability performance, yet often they do so without putting in place appropriate co-ordination, management and reporting structures, and without clearly articulating why sustainability is relevant to their business and its ongoing performance.
At Santam, we have developed a clear business case for sustainability. We recognise that taking account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities is the only way to ensure our business will continue to thrive within a complex and shifting external environment. At the same time, we acknowledge that we must act in a prudent and responsible way to fulfil our social and environmental contract with society.
In this changing business environment, we know that we need to manage escalating expectations and increasingly complex relations in society. We understand and respect the inter-dependence between Santam and our people, our brokers and other intermediaries, our suppliers and our many other stakeholders such as regulators and government.
We strive to understand the needs of these stakeholders and enter into relationships with them that serve our interests as well as theirs. We know that these relationships are vital to maintaining our position as the leading short-term insurer in South Africa.
Our approach is also guided by various standards and legislation, such as the third King Report on Governance for South Africa (King III), the Financial Sector Charter (FSC) and the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti’s) Codes of Good Practice for B-BBEE; the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and the JSE’s SRI Index. Santam was included once again on the SRI Index in 2009 and was rated one of the best-performing businesses in the low-impact sector. King III, in particular, has provided valuable insights into governance and sustainability, and Santam has made good progress in conforming to certain aspects of this governance code, although others require more attention.