I am pleased to share with you Northwestern Mutual's inaugural sustainability report. The report is the first to holistically bring together information about the company's commitments to its clients, social impact, corporate governance, responsible investing and the environment, as well as its people.
The report is organized around five key areas:
- Clients: Northwestern Mutual is grounded in a client-first approach, underpinning the financial security it provides to help clients achieve their goals and ultimately our broader society. To meet this vision, Northwestern Mutual remains rooted in foundational pillars of mutuality, unsurpassed financial strength, exclusive distribution through a dedicated field force of financial professionals, and superior long-term product value.
- Social Impact: Northwestern Mutual is dedicated to making the communities it serves the best places to live – from the company's response to COVID-19 to the financial support, volunteerism and collaboration with partners in causes that matter. Since 1992, the company has given more than $400 million to causes and initiatives that create lasting impacts in the communities where our employees and financial professionals live and work. This includes our national commitment to accelerating the search for better treatments and cures for childhood cancer.
- Corporate Governance: The values of Northwestern Mutual serve as guideposts to maintain high levels of professional and ethical standards, and the company has governance, accountability and oversight structures in place to meet and exceed these high standards. In addition to its Board of Trustees, Northwestern Mutual works with selected policyowners to evaluate the company's efforts and make recommendations for improvement. These findings are disclosed publicly in the company's annual report
- Responsible Investing and the Environment: As part of our responsible investing strategy, Northwestern Mutual holds nearly $20 billion in socio-economic investments, impact investments or green investments. In addition, investments through our Impact Investing fund specifically aim to provide or improve access to capital, physical or social infrastructure, or to support enhancements to underserved neighborhoods.
- People: Northwestern Mutual is differentiated by its workforce, including its exclusive network of financial professionals. The company is dedicated to supporting and promoting diversity for its teams, communities, businesses and suppliers through its SARE Task Force and Women's Initiative, among others. As a result, Northwestern Mutual has consistently been recognized as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity, as well as having received top marks as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality and a Best Place to work for Disability Inclusion.
We know this is just the beginning of sharing our ESG story in a report of this nature, and we look forward to sharing our progress over the years to come.
AS WITH ANY INVESTMENT, YOU COULD LOSE MONEY AND INVESTING IN AN ESG FUND SHOULD FIT WITHIN YOUR OVERALL INVESTMENT GOALS. ESG FUNDS OFTEN TAKE MORE WORK FOR FUND MANAGERS TO CONSTRUCT AND MANAGE AND, CONSEQUENTLY, CAN COST MORE THAN A PASSIVE FUND THAT TRACKS A BROAD- BASED MARKET INDEX. A PORTFOLIO MANAGER’S ESG PRACTICES MAY SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCE PERFORMANCE.