This year, AXA’s ‘Activity & Corporate Responsibility Report’ has become an ‘Integrated Report’. This shift reflects AXA’s commitment, since 2014, to gradually align our content and analysis with the International Integrated Reporting Council’s (IIRC) objectives to promote enhanced corporate reporting through more clearly correlated business and societal performance drivers. AXA believes that integrated reporting principles help provide a more complete story about how we generate value today while driving sustainable growth over the long-term.
Integrated Reporting is the natural consequence and logical outcome of ‘integrated thinking’ within a corporation. Thinking in an ‘integrated’ way means understanding, with input from stakeholders, the broader context within which a company operates, and how, over the long-term, value creation will be derived not only from financial performance but from environmental and social performance as well.
AXA has been implementing this kind of integrated thinking for years. As an insurer, such an approach is inherent to our business – we have commitments to customers that can span up to 30 years, so we cannot afford to focus only on the short term. It is imperative, therefore, that we try to understand how society is evolving and we will need to innovate in response.
To this end, in 2013, AXA embarked employees and external stakeholders on a 2030 visioning exercise, which provided a foundation for our new Ambition 2020 strategy, focused on becoming a ‘partner’ for our customers and society. The strategy is bolstered by a new corporate mission to “empower people to live better lives”, by the Better Lives Partnership, which commits us to delivering on this mission in concrete ways by 2020, and by AXA’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel, created in 2014 to help us continuously refine our strategy to find more sources of ‘shared value’. By fully integrating societal expectations, we are convinced our strategy will be more robust and will create more value over the long run.
AXA’s commitment to long-term, integrated thinking extends beyond our own strategy to helping imagine how the broader economy could better integrate social and environmental value drivers. AXA’s Chairmanship of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD), of the Global Steering Committee of the United Nations Finance Initiative, and of the European Union High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance speaks to this global engagement.
Given longstanding commitment to integrated thinking, the transition towards Integrated Reporting was a natural next step on the occasion of this first year of our new strategic plan. Readers will note the emphasis on how AXA creates value for its stakeholders (customers, investors, partners and society at large), on the new opportunities and trends we see in our four priority markets, on our sustainability ambitions, as well as on the risks and opportunities for the Group related to emerging trends.
With this report, we are hoping to provide our readers with a more holistic view of how AXA creates sustainable value and how sustainability issues integrate into the way AXA imagines the future and designs a strategy fit for purpose.