Environmental Social Governance report
Chief Risk Officer’s report
One of the many significant changes brought about by the need to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic is a renewed focus by regulators, shareholders, clients, employees, and the public as a whole, on the social and environmental impact an organization has on the planet.
2021 saw continued focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. At CLS, we understand that we have an obligation to manage our organization in ways that are socially responsible and help to create a sustainable environment, and have therefore continued to develop our ESG agenda to ensure these principles are considered in everything we do.
At an organizational level, ESG is integrated into our Enterprise Risk Management Framework and risk taxonomy – both physical and transition risk. We have issued a Modern Slavery Act Statement and aligned our internal board and management reporting to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and common metrics.
“People are our most critical asset. Our entire organization thrives on relationships: with shareholders and clients, regulators, global policymakers, and our colleagues and community.”
Against a background of climate change and broader economic and political instability, many individuals are deciding that they will not compromise on their own priorities by working for a company that does not represent them or provide the flexibility to live a balanced life. In 2021, this manifested itself in the labor market experiencing record levels of attrition as candidates actively sought employment opportunities with companies that recognize this and act accordingly.
People are our most critical asset. Our entire organization thrives on relationships: with shareholders and clients, regulators, global policymakers, and our colleagues and community.
We have remained committed to making CLS a great place to work and, as I highlighted in my previous ESG report, thanks to our purpose-driven strategy, robust people agenda, and hybrid working approach, we have continued to attract, develop and engage high-performing colleagues across the globe.
With a focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) we have continued to establish three Affinity Groups – the Women’s Forum, the Black Employee Network and CLS Pride.
These groups, introduced and managed by employees with support and sponsorship from senior leaders, help to facilitate connectivity between people across teams and regions while also providing essential channels for their voices to be heard. This approach has led to the delivery of a busy calendar of activities to mark and celebrate events including International Women’s Day, Black History Month, Pride, Diwali, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Hanukkah and many more.
We have maintained a relentless focus on employee wellbeing, above and beyond our response to the pandemic and the adoption of hybrid working. In addition to our Employee Assistance Program, our network of health and wellbeing champions oversee a range of supporting activity. Every month, we issue a ‘Pulse Check’ survey to gauge mood and morale and gather feedback from employees on specific issues that might be affecting this.
This feedback has led to the delivery of a range of initiatives, including Heads Down Days and a Connections Week, and we are looking forward to providing monthly wellbeing goals and mental health first aid training.
This year, we also re-branded Sick Days as Health Days. The aim here is to shift the focus from recovery to prevention, and ensure people proactively manage their health by taking time off when they need to. It has also helped remove some of the stigma around talking about mental health, and been very well-received by colleagues as they have adjusted to an increase in working remotely.
We strive to be a force for good in our local communities. Through monthly donation days and other fundraising activities, we have continued to support Richard House Children’s Hospice and facilitated contributions for Southwark Food Bank in London and City Harvest in New York.
Although public heath restrictions have made it harder to volunteer in person, several colleagues have been able to use their volunteering days entitlement – including those who devoted their time to assisting at New York’s Bowery Mission, in providing meals, shelter and clothing to people experiencing homelessness, hunger and poverty and a number of colleagues (in the UK) have participated in the Writing Partners program, which aims to help 8-11 year olds in local schools learn more about the world of work from a professional role model and improve literacy through a frequent exchange of written letters.
Our position at the center of the FX market means we have a unique network of relationships, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure we are all holding ourselves to the highest environmental standards. The ultimate goal for climate protection is for global societies to achieve demonstrable reductions in actual Scope 1 greenhouse gases emissions, and we hold our suppliers to account as we believe real results are achieved when each enterprise takes responsibility to address its own emissions and improve energy efficiency. An early success in this area is that, thanks to our largest vendor, our CLSSettlement data centers now operate with 100% renewable energy.
We look forward to evolving our ESG agenda and engaging with our stakeholders – including clients, employees and vendors – as we continue to identify priorities and establish targets to ensure CLS is meeting, and exceeding, our obligations as an environmentally and socially responsible organization.
Chief Risk Officer