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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

From supporting local arts trails to minimising our environmental impact our aim is to ensure our actions have a positive impact on society

At Hargreaves Lansdown, we want to make sure that our impact on society is a positive one. Our company values are rooted in providing great service at great value. We believe that doing the right thing makes great business sense.

We are committed to managing the environmental impact of our operations, treating our employees well and maintaining a great culture and working environment. Our approach to corporate social responsibility includes these key elements:

  • Quality

    We want to offer the best products and offer an excellent service, and are always looking for ways to improve.

  • Sustainability

    We work for the long-term, looking beyond immediate success.

  • Integrity

    We deal with people openly and honestly, building strong relationships.

FTSE4Good


Hargreaves Lansdown has continued to be included in the FTSE4Good Index series, having been independently assessed according to the FTSE4Good criteria.

The FTSE4Good index measures the performance of companies that meet globally recognised standards on corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is a tool for socially-responsible investors that helps them to benchmark companies on their CSR performance and contributes to the development of responsible business practice around the world.

The FTSE4Good inclusion criteria are enhanced regularly and demand continued improvement in CSR practices in order for companies to gain or maintain inclusion in the index.


  • Tonnes C02e per employee

    As a service business that does not own its business premises and is fundamentally based on intellectual capital, Hargreaves Lansdown has a limited direct impact on the environment. Nevertheless the Group continues to promote energy efficiency and the avoidance of waste throughout its operations.

    Two years ago we commissioned a report to investigate our output of greenhouse gas emissions and reductive measures we could undertake. As part of this report Hargreaves Lansdown was compared to FTSE 100 companies in the the same sector and this comparison has been updated in the chart opposite. The results demonstrate the relatively low impact our business has.

    Environmental initiatives:

    Our relatively low impact on the environment has not stopped us from implementing initiatives to continue reducing our environmental impact.

    Efficiency and minimising environmental impact

    In many respects, our objective of reducing waste and minimising the environmental impact of our business is aligned with our objectives of protecting client data, reducing costs, and improving efficiency.

    It is our aim to deal with clients and other businesses electronically wherever possible, not only to speed up information transfer but also to reduce the amount of paper we use:

    • We have invested heavily in providing a user-friendly, comprehensive website and automated links to banks and fund providers.
    • Clients are able to opt out of receiving paper valuations and contract notes, viewing them via our website instead.

    Our investment in this area will continue and we aim to further reduce the amount of paper-based processes we use whilst providing better service. The benefits will grow as more people and businesses choose to transact business and receive information online. We aim to increase the take-up of online and paperless services, and have been successful in doing this during the year:

    30 June 2016 30 June 2015
    Vantage clients were registered as paperless 73% 71%
    Vantage equity deals placed online 98% 97%
    Clients registered to use our online services 88% 88%

    Business travel and commuting

    We do not provide company cars to managers or to our network of advisers. These advisers are spread throughout the UK which minimises travel time and carbon emissions.

    We also provide a secure bike park at our office enabling up to 150 staff to cycle to work. We were also mindful of selecting our office location close to residential areas where many of our staff live, allowing them to walk to work.

    Recycling

    We shred and recycle all confidential waste and have arrangements for the collection of recyclable waste such as printer toner cartridges, cardboard, plastics, newspapers and out-of-date literature. We also continue to recycle redundant IT equipment through specialist third parties.

    Electricity usage

    Our electricity usage is not high enough to mean that we have to participate in Phase 2 of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. This scheme is compulsory for UK organisations that consumed over 6,000 MWh of half-hourly metered electricity for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. During that period we consumed well below that level and for the year ended 30 June 2016 we had consumed only 4,061 MWh (2015: 3,520 MWh).

    The increase in electricity use was driven by the occupation of additional floor space, and additional computing power in our head office.

    Although we do not set a formal target for the reduction in electricity consumption, the ethos of the company is such that we always try to keep energy consumption to a minimum.

    Our modern office has ‘chilled beam' air conditioning, which is up to 60% more energy efficient. The building also uses technology to manage lighting minimising wastage.

    Greenhouse gas emissions

    In 2013 we engaged a consultant to assess our carbon emissions and benchmark us against other firms in our sector. The report was positive and reinforced our belief that we were already making good progress towards being resource efficient. For the year ending 2016 our use of refrigerant gases and fuel consumed per employee increased by 6% (2015: 44% rise) while our electricity use per employee decreased by 3% (2015: 0% increase) compared to the previous year. The increase in electricity use was driven by the occupation of additional floor space, and additional computing power, in our head office.

    Global GHG emissions data for period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2016

    Tonnes of C02e
    Emissions from Current reporting year 2015-2016 Comparison year 2014-2015 Change (%)
    Combustion of fuel and operation of facilities 400.8 354.2 +13%
    Electricity, heat, steam and cooling purchased for own use 1673.4 1627.0 +3%
    Tonnes of C02e per average full-time equivalent employee 2.14 2.18 -2%

    Methodology

    We have reported on all of the emission sources required under the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors' Reports) Regulations 2013 which within our consolidated financial statements. We do not have responsibility for any emission sources that are not included in our consolidated statement. We have used the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition) and emission factors from UK Government's GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2015.


  • With the exceptions described below, we have made it Company policy to focus our support and fundraising activities on one charity or non-profit organisation each year which is selected from suggestions received from employees within the Group. We do not make political donations. During 2016 the chosen charity was the “St Peter’s Hospice”. St Peter’s Hospice is a Bristol charity caring for adults with life-limiting illnesses. They aim to improve the quality of their living and dying while extending care and support to their families and loved ones.

    Charitable activity outside of our chosen charity for the year

    • The Group supports a grass-roots sports club. A monthly donation is made to the Bristol & West Athletics Club which is the leading all-round athletics club in the South West of England.
    • As in previous years we have continued to support the Bristol Children’s Hospital Grand Appeal and we were proud sponsors of a Shaun the Sheep and have been actively raising awareness of the appeal.
    • We have again supported teams of staff from Hargreaves Lansdown who competed in the Invesco Perpetual Highland Adventure Race in September of last year. This is a challenging event, facilitating team bonding whilst raising money for the Youth Adventure Trust, which aims to provide outdoor adventure programmes for youths in order to help give them hope, confidence and life skills to meet the challenges in their lives.

    The Group also makes significant tax payments which help society as a whole. Corporation tax and employer’s national insurance paid in respect of the year ended 30 June 2016 was £47.6 million (2015: £46.4 million). In addition we pay other taxes such as VAT, stamp duty and business rates.

    Campaigning:

    The Company also actively seeks to lobby via public consultation documents where they believe that investors in the UK will benefit.

    Launching the Hargreaves Lansdown Foundation and Volunteer Scheme

    On the 1st September the Company launched the Hargreaves Lansdown Charitable Foundation (the Foundation). This will move the Group’s focus away from one nominated charity per year to between four and eight employee nominated charities. The Foundation is a charitable incorporated organisation set up through an independent solicitor and is a registered charity. It focuses on supporting four key areas which include ‘The next generation’ e.g. mentoring programmes, youth groups, financial and other education, ‘Well-being’ e.g. health and sport, ‘Improving Lives’ e.g. disadvantaged children, injured servicemen and women and finally ‘Communities’ which includes local projects.

    The following charities, as nominated by the Company’s employees, will be supported by the HL Charitable Foundation for the next three years:

    The Foundation aims to provide a centralised focus for fund raising efforts, improve support and increase the money raised for charitable causes and improve links with our local communities and national charitable groups. All of the legal and administration costs will be met by the Company so 100% of the money raised will go to the employee nominated charities. The day to day running of the Foundation will be by Hargreaves Lansdown volunteers. More details can be found on the website www.hl.co.uk/about-us/hl-foundation.


  • Putting clients first

    We have worked hard to create what we believe to be a unique working culture at Hargreaves Lansdown.

    At Hargreaves Lansdown there is an embedded culture whereby the interests of clients are always put first and this is communicated to all employees in the business during their induction and throughout their career. In practice this includes elements such as ensuring that:

    • all product design and information is clear and clients fully understand the features, benefits, risks and costs of the financial products they buy
    • information and client support is available to clients after the point of sale
    • appropriate complaints handling procedures are in place
    • financial promotion and marketing practices are unbiased and appropriate for their audience

    As part of this culture we actively monitor all areas of the business via monthly and quarterly reporting both in terms of treating clients fairly and ensuring excellent levels of client service. Another way to ensure we are getting things right with clients is to listen to them and the changes they would like to see to our services and we encourage and actively seek feedback from clients.

    If clients ever feel the need to complain, our complaints handling team carefully investigates our client's complaint and endeavours to provide them with a fair resolution. We benchmark our performance in treating clients fairly against statistics published annually by the Financial Ombudsman Service for the industry. The results for the 2016 financial year compared to the last figures published by the Ombudsman show that Hargreaves Lansdown is achieving good results in treating our clients fairly.

    Integrity

    The Company prides itself on its integrity in dealing with clients and staff openly and honestly. This is achieved through our policy of putting clients first. All staff are trained and made fully aware of anti-money laundering procedures which must be adhered to at all times. The Company takes the views of its employees very seriously and as such operates a "Whistleblowing Policy" with any concerns raised about malpractice or wrongdoing within the workplace being treated with the utmost confidence and in full compliance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

    Efficiency and cost saving

    We believe that costs require constant consideration and have subsequently built an ethos of employees continually asking themselves whether their actions are cost effective and efficient. As a result employees only print documents when necessary, will avoid traveling when not required and generally minimise waste. Our culture combines well with specific environmental initiatives to minimise resource usage and encourages continual improvement in resource efficiency.


  • Employment diversity and equality

    We are committed to maintaining a diverse workforce at all levels and believe that diversity is a broad issue encompassing variations in experience, skills, age and background as well as more traditional diversity factors such as ethnic origin and gender. Commercially and for best practice reasons we are an equal opportunities employer and believe that to succeed as a business we need to make the most of the potential of our people whoever they are. We have Human Resource policies in place to attract a diverse workforce and once working with us our people can expect to develop in an environment that is free from discrimination or harassment.

    We give full consideration to applications for employment from disabled persons, where the candidate’s aptitudes and abilities are consistent with meeting the requirements of the job. If members of staff become disabled the Group continues employment, either in the same or an alternative position, with appropriate retraining being given if necessary. A full assessment of any disabled employee’s needs is undertaken and reasonable adjustments are made to the work environment or practices in order to assist them.

    As at 30 June 2016, the Group employed a total of 942 people, of which 658 are male (70%) and 284 are female (30%). The gender split at different levels within the organisation is shown in the table below.

    Notes:

    1. Company Directors consists of the Company Board
    2. Other senior management is defined as an employee who has responsibility for planning, direction or controlling the activities of the company, or a strategically significant part of the company, other than the Company Directors.

    A premier destination for talented people

    To attract and retain the right people we offer a competitive reward package which includes independently benchmarked pay and benefits. We believe that working together as a team is the key to our success and so to complement our salary structure we include over 85% of our employees in a Group bonus scheme, linked to the financial success of Hargreaves Lansdown and distributed on an individual performance related basis identified via a performance appraisal system. To encourage employees to share in the success of our business we offer immediate entry into our SAYE scheme and over 40% of eligible employees joined the 2016 scheme.

    To complement the direct financial rewards we provide pension contributions and life cover. From January 2017 we are introducing new benefits including health checks, extended holiday entitlements, medical health cover and health cash plans. Employees can also extend their benefit selections in line with personal preferences to include such benefits as the government backed cycle-to-work initiative.

    Engaging our people

    It is crucial that our people understand our priorities and are engaged in the development of our business. Hargreaves Lansdown actively encourages employee involvement and consultation and places emphasis on keeping its employees informed of the Company’s activities, macroeconomic conditions, regulatory issues and financial performance by such means as six-monthly presentations given by the Chief Executive, the employee intranet and publication to all staff of relevant information and corporate announcements.

    We believe that listening and understanding our employees’ motivation and feedback is crucial in deciding our employee engagement programme. This year we partnered with the Hay Group to benchmark our employee engagement against other high performing organisations and those in our industry. We were delighted to have a 72% response rate, followed up with focus groups comprising 15% of employees.

    Over 90% of employees who completed the survey feel proud of the quality of our products and services, our focus on clients and would recommend Hargreaves Lansdown to friends or relatives. All three areas placed us between 13% and 19% ahead of the external benchmarks.

    In terms of work in progress we need to set out career, training and reward structures more clearly and improve our internal communications.

    Learning, development and communication

    To continue to engage and develop our people, we have introduced a range of new initiatives: a Learning and Development team, a learning curriculum, management qualifications and will open the Hargreaves Lansdown Learning Academy (due for completion in autumn 2016). We support our employees in their continuing personal and professional learning and development and encourage attendance at external and internal programmes. This year we piloted a leadership development programme for our senior colleagues and our Executive Team to encourage broader business wide thinking and build the skills to develop high performing teams. To enhance our internal communications a new team have been tasked with ensuring that key leadership messages are communicated across the business.