Shared Value Creation
At Power Corporation, we firmly believe that for our business to prosper, so too must the societies within which we live and work. Employing diverse and talented people and investing in high-quality and responsibly managed businesses is helping us build and strengthen our business for the future, while enabling more sustainable outcomes for our customers, communities and people.
Responsible management allows us to generate long-term sustainable value for our enterprise, the economy and society at large. In our view, we can be successful as a business and create shareholder value only if we seek to serve all of our stakeholders and create value for them as well. This involves conducting our business in a way that benefits the communities where we operate, while providing products and services that benefit society.
Group-wide response to COVID-19
As we undertake the annual update of this CSR-dedicated microsite, we take this opportunity to reflect on the last year: a period like no other. The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in widespread human suffering and tragedy, created economic disruption across the global, and dramatically changed the way every single one of us have been carrying on our daily lives. Throughout these difficult times however, the priorities of Power Corporation and its group companies around the world have not wavered: the health and safety of our people, the proper functioning of our operations to continue to serve the needs of our clients and managing the potential impacts of economic stress among individuals, organizations and financial markets.
As a group of companies, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have put forward various initiatives to contribute to our employees’, our customers’ and our communities’ well-being. For instance, for our employees, we have maintained and facilitated a work-from-home model, we expanded resources including additional benefits, training and virtual health programs, and we communicated frequently to reinforce our commitment to health and well-being. Our clients benefitted from an uninterrupted service by leveraging technology, and we enhanced communication to support, inform and update them.
The Corporation has long considered its strong foundation of integrity and ethical business conduct as fundamental to its success as a holding company, with responsible management and investing being an intrinsic part of our commitment to corporate social responsibility. This commitment continued during the COVID-19 pandemic with our group companies focusing on helping those in need to cope with this situation. Examples include Power group companies such as Peak Achievement Athletics Inc., whose Bauer brand re-focused its manufacturing operations to produce face shields for front-line workers, Canada Life, who took steps to assist their clients who are experiencing hardships, including offering mortgage payment support flexibility, loan payment deferrals, or special loans for living expenses, and IGM Financial, who took similar steps with respect to mortgages and credit products.
Charitable giving has long been integral to the Corporation’s mission with a broad and balanced approach to supporting the communities in which we do business. This year the COVID-19 pandemic added a special urgency to providing support to the most vulnerable among us. The Corporation supported numerous initiatives that ensured that those affected by the pandemic received the help they needed, such as Centraide of Greater Montreal and the Canadian Red Cross, as well as smaller local initiatives dealing with a rise in demand for their services.
We salute the extraordinary efforts of our people who have managed so much change and challenge in such an effective manner. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost a loved one, and gratitude to all those who have tirelessly worked to ensure the health, well-being and safety of our communities.
As a company in the financial services industry, we understand that we manage our clients’ savings and investments and guide them in building their futures and their families’ security and confidence. We take this responsibility very seriously and believe that in creating indirect financial benefits for customers of our group companies, we represent a positive force in society. We effectively enable these customers to manage their retirement and healthcare needs, accumulate wealth and achieve financial security through prudent investments and, through providing financial advice, help foster financial literacy. This provides an important contribution to a prosperous, empowered society.
Our mission is to enhance shareholder value by actively and responsibly managing our investments, so they generate long-term, sustainable growth in earnings and dividends. In 2020, $1.1 billion of dividends were paid to our shareholders and to those of our main subsidiaries, Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial. Major pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies being amongst our shareholders, these dividends benefit millions of individuals who rely on them for their income.
We depend on the people in our group of companies for the success of our business. Together with our group of companies, we employ approximately 30,000 diverse and talented people, many of whom fulfill the role of trusted advisor to their customers, helping them address their financial and insurance needs, creating bonds of professionalism and mutual respect.
In turn, we provide our employees with competitive compensation and rewarding careers and give them the resources to develop their expertise and leadership skills. Also, our investments in training and new technologies continue to develop local talent and the intellectual capital of our people. In 2020, together with our main publicly traded operating companies, we paid out $4.78 billion in employee salaries and other benefits. These funds flow through the economy, impacting hundreds of communities across Canada in which our employees live and work.
We also support their volunteer efforts within the communities in which we operate. We believe that philanthropy is a critical ingredient in the success of our communities, which is why we donate generously, and we encourage our employees to be involved and to give of their time to charitable causes they hold dear. Given the breadth of our employee base, we recognize the impact we have on local employment and talent development, and in creating a prosperous economy.
Business Partners and Governments
Our group companies source an array of goods and services from a broad spectrum of suppliers. We encourage these providers to offer environmentally and socially responsible products and services. This allows us to build a strong and sustainable supply chain that collectively plays a responsible role in society.
We, at Power Corporation, and including our publicly traded operating companies Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial, made $4.0 billion in payments to suppliers and various levels of government in 2020, generating indirect benefits for all the companies in our supply chain and enabling governments to benefit from personal taxes paid by our employees and through the corporate taxes levied on our suppliers.
Improving the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians is our group companies’ purpose and guiding light. We hold dear the responsibility we have towards the communities in which we operate, which is why being active in our community is a natural extension of our will to generate a positive impact in the life of Canadians. Giving back and helping build stronger communities is a shared value across our group companies and amongst our employees at all levels.
Over the past ten years, through donations and investments, Power Corporation has contributed to more than 1,400 organizations working in the areas of community development, arts and culture, the environment, education and health. As an investor, we value the vibrant entrepreneurship that permeates the voluntary sector. We are particularly drawn to smaller initiatives that provide a broad social benefit because of their entrepreneurial, innovative approach. These innovative “social” entrepreneurs are dedicated and professional, and greatly deserving of our support. In 2020, Power Corporation and its group companies contributed $48.3 million to community organizations across Canada.
Power Corporation’s community investment microsite, Power Corporation in the community, showcases some of the exceptional work being done by the organizations we support.
Power’s group companies also work diligently to make a difference in the communities they serve, through their respective community programs and initiatives, as well as employee volunteering activities and workplace campaigns.
Through its Stronger Communities Together program, Canada Life is working to improve the mental, physical and financial well-being of Canadians at the national, regional and local levels. Its approach spans across several themes as they work to address complex issues like major health concerns, mental health, poverty, literacy and employability. Canada Life also encourages its employees to give their time and expertise to a range of causes that help address many regional and local community priorities. The company recognizes the volunteer and fundraising efforts of its employees by providing financial support that adds to the impact of their collective and individual efforts. In 2020, Great-West Lifeco contributed $11.3 million in community funding across Canada, and its employees raised $2.2 million for charity. Canada Life won the CNA Canada Award for Excellence in Philanthropy and Community Service at the 2020 Insurance Business Canada Awards, recognizing the company’s outstanding use of time, leadership, financial support and the significant impact it has made on its communities and causes.
Each of IGM Financial’s operating companies implements its own community giving program, with its own guidelines and combination of centralized giving, directed from its corporate head offices, and decentralized decisions made by their people. In 2020, IG Wealth Management contributed $6.75 million to hundreds of community organizations through the IG Empower Your Tomorrow programs, and Mackenzie Investments contributed $2.4 million to more than 400 community and sports organizations across Canada. Through the Mackenzie Investments Charitable Foundation, an employee-run initiative, money is raised each year to assist charities, with a focus on those that help vulnerable women and at-risk children and youth. In 2020, 71 per cent of Mackenzie employees signed up for payroll contributions to the Mackenzie Foundation and, together with those who made one-time donations, contributed to a record $308,000. In addition, IGM Financial encourages its people to volunteer in their communities and it recognizes exceptional contributions through various community service award programs. Volunteer efforts at each of its operating companies are facilitated through planned events, two paid volunteer days per year and ongoing support for Canada’s National Volunteer Week every April.
Over the years, our substantial commitment to philanthropy across the country has earned companies in our group the designation of “Caring Company” from Imagine Canada, having consistently exceeded the minimum donation guideline of one per cent of pre-tax domestic profit to charitable causes. In 2020, as a group, Power Corporation and our subsidiaries Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial made a total of $48.3 million of charitable contributions to approximately 2,000 community organizations in Canada alone. We are helping to break down barriers to social inclusion, while contributing to better health and education, community development, environmental protection, and access to arts and culture.
In 2020, the Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) Sponsorship Committee (GBL ACT), made its largest ever contribution to civil society, pledging €1.9 million across 38 projects in the fields of education, health and environment, in the hope of building a better world for future generations. Through its sponsorship policy, GBL commits itself to supporting, for the most part, Belgium-based, sustainable projects with a long-term vision that have a positive effect on society.
This impact is multiplied through the active involvement of our employees, whom we encourage to volunteer for causes that speak to them. Our officers and employees are also very active in both charitable giving and volunteering. In fact, many of our officers and employees also sit on the boards of the non-profit organizations they support.