Strong ESG performance is core to delivering our purpose and strategy. By focusing on our purpose, Helping Britain Prosper, we aim to deliver sustainable growth and returns.

Front cover of 2023 sustainability report, with title: 'Building a sustainable and inclusive future'

Sustainability report 2023

This report provides an update on our progress towards the Group’s sustainability ambitions, on sustainable and inclusive growth opportunities for the Group and activities we are undertaking to understand our ESG-related risks. It also includes our climate transition plan. 

Download the report


Access other ESG documents along with the Group’s codes, policies and sector statements.

ESG downloads

Our approach to ESG

Our purpose is to Help Britain Prosper. Building a more inclusive and sustainable future for people and businesses is core to our purpose and strategy. This is where we can make the biggest difference, while creating new opportunities for inclusive and sustainable growth for the Group.

We believe that by focusing on our purpose and doing right by our customers, colleagues and communities we can achieve higher, more sustainable profits for shareholders, while meeting the needs of our broader stakeholders.

As part of our purpose-driven strategy, our stakeholder outcomes have been embedded across our business priorities. Also, our remuneration structures include ESG performance measures to drive progress towards our sustainability ambitions.

Our sustainability objectives

Given our unique position, reach and scale in the UK, we recognise our role in creating a sustainable and inclusive future for all, understanding there are areas where we can have a bigger impact, while creating growth opportunities for the Group.

Our Group strategy focuses on three pillars – grow, focus and change. Our sustainability objectives support the delivery of the Group strategy.


Drive revenue growth and diversification


Sustainability objectives

  • Capitalising on inclusive and sustainable financing and investment opportunities.
  • Improving access to quality housing.
  • Increasing access to banking by promoting financial inclusion and resilience.
  • Supporting regional development and productivity.



Strengthen cost and capital efficiency 


Sustainability objectives

  • Reducing emissions and monitoring our sustainability related risks to manage costs and mitigate against future losses.
  • Strengthening our balance sheet by supporting customers, clients and communities through challenging times.



Maximise the potential of people, technology and data


Sustainability objectives

  • Embedding sustainability in all that we do.
  • Supporting and engaging our colleagues.
  • Building an inclusive and diverse organisation.


Our key sustainability targets and ambitions


  • Reduce the carbon emissions we finance by >50% by 2030.* 
  • Halve the carbon footprint of our Scottish Widows investments by 2030.*
  • Ten sector emission reduction targets.
  • Achieve net zero in our own operations by 2030.
  • Reduce the emissions from our suppliers by 50% by 2030.*
  • Sustainable finance and investment targets for 2024 - 2026.

*on the path to net zero by 2050, or sooner


  • 50% women in senior roles by 2025.
  • 13% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues in senior roles by 2025.
  • At least 3% Black Heritage colleagues in senior roles by 2025.
  • Double colleagues with disabilities in senior roles to 12% by 2025.

Our sustainable lending and investment targets

  • Motor

    £8 billion financing for EV and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 20241

    achieved since January 2022 

    Horizontal bar showing progress point of £5.7 billion and beyond this the 2024 target of £8 billion.

    1. Includes new lending advances for Black Horse and operating leases for Lex Autolease (gross) and operating leases for Tusker (gross, post acquisition by the Group in February 2023 only); includes cars and vans. 2. Covers the period from January 2022 to December 2023.

  • Mortgages

    £10 billion of mortgage lending for EPC A and B-rated properties by 20241

    achieved since January 2022 

    Horizontal bar showing progress point of £7.5 billion and beyond this the 2024 target of £10 billion.

    1. New mortgage lending on UK (excluding Channel Islands) residential property that meets an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of B or higher. The target includes re-mortgages but excludes further advances. 2. Covers the period from January 2022 to September 2023.

  • Scottish Widows

    £20–25 billion discretionary investment in climate-aware strategies and climate solutions1 by 2025

    achieved by FY 2023 

    Horizontal bar showing 2023 progress point of £21.7 billion within the 2025 target range of £20-25 billion.

    1. We are working with our strategic fund management partners BlackRock and Schroders to develop and refine a range of funds that have a bias towards investing in companies that are adapting their businesses to be less carbon-intensive and/or developing climate solutions. 2. Invested over target lifetime from January 2020 to December 2023.

Commercial Banking

£15 billion sustainable finance1 for corporate and institutional customers by 2024 

achieved since January 2022 

Horizontal bar showing progress point of £15.8 billion just beyond the 2024 target of £15 billion.

New target 

sustainable finance from 2024 to 20263 


1. As defined within the Sustainable Financing Framework which can be found under ESG downloads. 2. Covers the period from January 2022 to December 2023. 3. New target relates to both corporate and institutional customers and small and medium businesses and is from January 2024 to end of 2026, and will take the cumulative target within the division to £45 billion by 2026.

Read more about our approach to environmental and social sustainability.

Environmental sustainability

Social sustainability

News and insight

The latest updates and opinions from across the Group

Nick Williams
Managing Director, Lex Autolease
11 March 2024
5 min read

Driving the transition to electric vehicles

Our Future of Transport Index shows that electric vehicles remain key to the UK’s transition to a net zero economy, but there are still challenges to overcome.

Read Nick's article
Rachel Osikoya
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
08 March 2024
6 min read

A blueprint for gender equality

Rachel Osikoya, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gives an update on our gender equality journey.

Read Rachel's article

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We aim to comply with the principles of the Financial Reporting Council’s UK Corporate Governance Code. Read more about our corporate governance framework.

Corporate governance

ESG downloads

Here you can find our latest ESG reports and presentations. The Group’s key codes and policies, as well as sector statements, are also available in this section.