Responsible Citizen

Corporate responsibility

Responsible Citizen

We strive to be a responsible member of our community and influence positive change

We contribute to our broader community through philanthropic and cultural partnerships, via the Columbia Threadneedle Foundation. We are committed to managing our environmental footprint, to ensure we understand, measure and manage the environmental impacts resulting from our business activities. We are also cognisant of our responsibility to support a sustainable supply chain.

We see corporate philanthropy as investment in the future. Columbia Threadneedle Foundation invests in selected charities via multi-year, engaged partnerships – an approach which we believe not only delivers measurable improvement to individual lives, but will bring long-term benefit to the broader community by helping to address critical social issues and drive lasting social change.

When selecting our charity partners, we look for sustainable growth potential supported by experienced management and leadership, with clear strategic vision. We seek to build long-term collaborative partnerships where we provide both funding and active support in the form of management and employee involvement. We have a thematic focus on charities that use education, art and sport to engender social change.

The work of Columbia Threadneedle Foundation builds on Ameriprise Financial’s 120 year history of community support and commitment to organisations whose shared goal is to improve the lives of individuals from all walks of life.

A vibrant arts sector brings a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits. Since its establishment in 2008, the Columbia Threadneedle Prize has grown to become the UK’s leading competition for figurative and representational painting and sculpture. It is also one of the most valuable art prizes in the country. The Prize is part of a broader partnership with Mall Galleries, home to the Federation of British Artists and a major visual arts charity that champions new contemporary figurative art by living artists. Mall Galleries aims to promote, inspire and educate audiences about the visual arts.

The 2016 Columbia Threadneedle Prize was won by 25-year old artist Lewis Hazelwood-Horner for his work, Salt in Tea, painted following a two-year residency at the bespoke umbrella shop James Smith & Sons in London’s West End. In a first for the Prize, the winning work was also named ‘Visitors Choice’ receiving the most votes from visitors to the exhibition. In the summer of 2016, in an unprecedented exchange, the Columbia Threadneedle Prize travelled to the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, presenting a reflection on the breadth of contemporary figurative and representational painting across Europe.

Our employee-led Environmental Advisory Group focuses on identifying, measuring and reducing the major environmental impacts resulting from our business activities, internally and in the wider community. These major impacts consist of: travel, energy usage, waste, water usage and raw materials.

Columbia Threadneedle recognises the importance of environmental stewardship and maintains an Environmental Management System (EMS) to ensure measurable and auditable data is accurately maintained for all of our major environmental impacts. Our EMS is subject to an external audit every three years, with annual interim visits. The ongoing commitment of our Environmental Advisory Group has resulted in Columbia Threadneedle achieving continuous ISO14001:2004 accreditation since 2007. In addition to ISO14001, our carbon footprint is assessed annually by the Carbon Trust. We have satisfied the criteria by reducing absolute carbon emissions year-on-year, and have been awarded Carbon Trust Standard certification for our achievements. In 2015/16 our overall carbon emissions reduced by over 10% compared with 2014/15 (Source: Carbon Trust Independent Assessment)

Annual comparison of carbon emissions

Source: Carbon Trust (note that 2015-2016 is based on our new offices in Cannon Place)

In April 2015, Columbia Threadneedle Investments moved to new offices in Cannon Place, Cannon Street, London. Cannon Place was identified as a location which would not only suit our client and business needs, but offered a modern energy-efficient building with a high BREEAM rating (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), that would help improve our environmental impacts.

Looking ahead, the Environmental Advisory Group has already made significant progress towards the requirements of the new ISO14001:2015 standard, in readiness for its implementation in September 2018.

Energy consumption

Figure 2. Demonstrated reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions in our new location (Source: Carbon Trust 2015-2016 report). St Mary Axe = previous EMEA headquarters

We became a Living Wage employer in April 2015, which means everyone working at Columbia Threadneedle in the UK, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receives a minimum hourly “living” wage that is higher than the national minimum wage. The Living Wage is set independently and updated annually, calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is therefore a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

This year we implemented a supplier questionnaire that included an element of corporate responsibility for key vendors. The questionnaire asks our key suppliers about their approach to corporate responsibility and also highlights the need for UK suppliers to comply with the Modern Slavery Act (MSA). Pleasingly, no suppliers have been non-compliant.