We use cookies to improve this site and enable full functionality. You can change your cookie settings at any time using your browser. Our cookie policy.

NFU Mutual's ESG strategy lead on putting together the ESG 'jigsaw'

NFU Mutual's ESG strategy lead on putting together the ESG 'jigsaw' | Insurance Business UK

NFU Mutual's ESG strategy lead on putting together the ESG 'jigsaw'

The team at NFU Mutual has had a lot to celebrate in recent months between being recognised as a ‘Gallup Exceptional Workplace’ and becoming the first UK insurer to receive Bronze accreditation from The Carbon Literacy Project. The latter accolade, which was first announced last month, followed the launch of the rural insurer’s net zero roadmap and distinguishes its ambition to put actions over words when it comes to ESG.

Read more: NFU Mutual lays out plans to achieve net zero

“Receiving the accreditation was absolutely superb,” said NFU Mutual’s ESG strategy lead Jo Lumani (pictured). “We’re really proud to be the first UK insurance company to receive this from The Carbon Literacy Project as it sits so well with our commitment to the environment and our values as a mutual as well.”

What the endorsement entails is that NFU Mutual has been officially recognised as having a criteria-checked training programme that has been registered with the project and an organisational leader that has been trained and certified as ‘Carbon Literate’. The literacy training covers a wide range of elements, she said, and explores each potential action – for instance reducing carbon emissions – from the perspective of how you, your business and your wider community can achieve change.

“As part of the training, everyone who takes part creates an individual pledge on what they’re going to do to reduce carbon emissions,” Lumani said. “And all of those are then collated and put forward for Carbon Literacy to review. And it’s against those criteria by which organisations are certified as Carbon Literate.”

What makes this a particularly special moment for the NFU team, she said, is that it’s an external validation of the work that they do – a critical consideration with so many corporate brands being accused of ‘greenwashing’ their ESG credentials. As reflected by NFU’s net zero roadmap, environmental protection is high on the insurer’s agenda and it is actively seeking any opportunities to further engage with that agenda.

“There’s a pressing need for us all to do something better and this is a great opportunity for us to engage all of our team and help them understand how they can play their own part,” she said. “Because I think sometimes when you talk about the environment and climate change, you can think, ‘well what I can do’ but actually everyone can do so much individually. And this Carbon Literacy training and the learning we’ve put in place does help show the part everybody has got to play as no matter how small it seems, it all comes together to form one big jigsaw.”

Highlighting some of the key ways people can get involved in ESG strategies, Lumani noted that actions range from reducing your own carbon footprint to getting involved in wider business initiatives. Among its commitments to a more sustainable future, NFU Mutual is now offering a green repair alternative solution for mechanical damage claims. Last year, it broadened this by piloting the use of green parts from carefully selected and approved retailers.

Read more: NFU Mutual announces multi-year agreement

“This pilot will enable us to gain more customer insight and we’re hoping to take that forward and drive a much longer-term strategy in that area,” she said. “And where a vehicle can’t be repaired, we use a salvage supplier who is market-leading in terms of its sustainability ambitions. So, it’s about partnerships and encouraging people at both an individual and a group level to think about the partnerships that they use as well.”

From making sure that lights and computers are switched off when not in use, to using recyclable cups, to making sure you’re doing the recycling properly – it is actions big and small that are helping craft the more sustainable future that Lumani firmly believes is achievable.

“I think there are already some brilliant examples of best practice to be seen across the industry and across financial services as a whole,” she said. “And I’m proud of the work that we’ve started at NFU Mutual. But we do recognise that over the coming years, there will always be more to do, and we have to remain agile in order to take that forward. But what I’d say to businesses looking to get started is to explore the small steps as well as the big steps.

“You don’t have to have all the answers at once. What you do have to have is the intent to make a difference and to drive things forward. ESG is an evolving situation and there will be times when all businesses will need to flex and change. So, it’s about having that agility and intent and recognising that there is so much best practice across the industry. We at NFU Mutual look at many of our colleagues across financial services and see how many are doing a tremendous job in this space. And we applaud that because this is not a competition, we’ve all got a role to play.”