We strive to constantly uphold high ethical standards, practices and business integrity, as well as manage potential environmental and social risks facing our business. As such, we are committed to working closely with our third parties to ensure that environmental, social and ethical considerations are taken into account in all our decisions. We also recognize the important role we can play in advancing more sustainable business practices through the influence we have on our suppliers and business partners.
Our commitment to managing our business in a responsible manner and acting as a good corporate citizen is fundamental to the way we, and our group companies, do business. We are determined to conduct our business in a legal, ethical, and responsible manner and expect the same level of commitment to this responsible management philosophy from third parties with whom we conduct business, including suppliers, consultants, advisors and other business partners.
As set out in our Third Party Code of Conduct, third parties are expected to conduct their activities in accordance with the highest legal, ethical, and professional standards, and in a manner consistent with our values and responsible management philosophy, which align with the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact.
Our Responsible Procurement Policy Statement
As part of our responsible procurement approach, and in accordance with our sustainability commitments, we strive to:
Work with third parties that deliver quality, cost-effective and responsible products/services that help us achieve value for money while enabling positive environmental and social impacts;
Ensure that the minimum business standards in our Third Party Code of Conduct are communicated to our third parties and that they attest their compliance;
Ensure third-party risks are identified and mitigation measures established during the selection process, taking into consideration reputational, financial, governance, economic, social, and environmental risks;
Work with third parties to encourage sustainable products, including environmentally friendly technologies;
Monitor performance of higher-risk third parties, where relevant; and,
Report our progress on the implementation of our responsible procurement commitments.
Formal responsibility for our responsible procurement commitments has been assigned to the Vice-President and General Counsel, who provides oversight on the implementation of our Responsible Procurement Policy Statement and Third Party Code of Conduct.
The decisions we make on the procurement of products and services are based on our sustainability commitments and are aligned with organizations which share our values on this topic. Our commitment to responsible procurement focuses on integrating ESG considerations into our decision-making processes in a way that creates long-term and sustainable benefits.
As part of our Responsible Procurement Policy and Third Party Code of Conduct, we engage with our suppliers and contractors to influence the provision of environmentally friendly products and services for our business. By engaging with suppliers and contractors, we have been able to source more environmentally friendly products, including LED lighting and energy-efficient building equipment, among others, to reduce our energy consumption and related GHG emissions.
Highlights from our Group Companies
In its Canadian operations, Great-West Lifeco specifically engages its critical suppliers to understand the products and services that could reduce the environmental footprint of its buildings, operations, and processes. Supplier evaluation and its Supplier Risk Management Policy includes sustainability, including climate change, as one of its considerations. This includes suppliers that support the company in improving the sustainability of its real estate assets, as well as other products and services that enable them to reduce energy, water, and material consumption (e.g. building equipment retrofits, utility providers, data centre optimization, LED lighting, paper, and building materials). Working collaboratively with these suppliers enables Great-West Lifeco to meet its green building certification targets and its GHG Scope 1 and 2 reduction target for Canadian properties.
Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco, makes reducing paper usage a priority. As a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the company is committed to using responsibly sourced paper and other forest products meeting FSC’s strict environmental and social standards. In 2021, their corporate offices recycled 44 tons of cardboard and 625 tons of paper. In addition, Canada Life continues to encourage its group benefits plan sponsors to move from plastic drug cards to using the GroupNet app instead. Since 2018, nearly 295,000 plan members have made the switch, reducing the number of plastic cards produced by over 33 per cent. This means around 400,000 plastic cards no longer need to be produced annually, helping to reduce the company’s environmental footprint further.
Putnam Investments is also making paper usage reduction a priority both for itself and its investors. The company purchases paper from sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which means that the paper is produced using less pollution and is manufactured using sustainable forestry practices. In addition, Putnam works with its print service provider to continually explore new green technologies for paper products, equipment recycling programs and consumables such as toner.
GWL Realty Advisors is also working collaboratively with service providers to support environmentally conscious activities, products and services.
IGM Financial’s Supplier Code of Conduct was put in place to address environmental and social risks in its supply chain and set out expectations for its suppliers. It includes provisions related to human rights and labour practices, and to improving environmental performance. Moreover, in an effort to further integrate environmental considerations into its supply chain, the company is procuring green energy credits through a medium-term contract from a third-party supplier as well as building further relationships and knowledge of the market to diversify their options in the future. They are also building a long-term strategy to reduce the overall emissions of their operations, thereby minimizing the need for carbon offsets. In 2021, they also started to request information on Tier I suppliers’ GHG emissions and possible climate-related risk to inform their engagement efforts and strategies to apply a climate lens to their procurement policies and procedures.
IGM Financial also continually seeks opportunities to reduce its environmental footprint by managing direct impacts from its operations, including its paper use. Employee green committees are drivers of many initiatives to reduce paper, waste and energy consumption. These volunteers raise awareness and engagement around the importance of adopting environmentally responsible practices at work, at home and in the community.