Responsible business

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.

In 2020, we joined other long-term funders of UK charities in signing a statement organised by London Funders, recognising the impacts of Covid-19 and providing reassurance of our ongoing support across London’s communities. We committed to a range of practical steps to help charities manage through the pandemic, including adapting activities, being flexible in terms of timing and application of funds and importantly listening to charities.

We also made exceptional donations to support the frontline Covid-19 response, including a grant of $25,000 to City Harvest, a food redistribution charity serving 350+ charities, food banks, schools and community groups across London. We also gave grants to the Trussell Trust and the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA), helping support the distribution of emergency food parcels via a network of food banks in the UK and across Europe.

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Our employee-led Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) 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, waste and usage of energy, water 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 our major environmental impacts.

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Key EMS achievements for 2020 included:

  • The development and delivery of a recycling behavioural change campaign. This included the installation of new colour-coded recycling bins with clear labelling, and an animated campaign encouraging the correct separation of waste.
  • Information sharing on ways to reduce sustainability impacts for home workers.
  • A decrease in carbon emissions by 56%, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in less business travel and energy use in offices. We are using these findings and many of the outcomes from changing work practices to continue minimising emissions.

Columbia Threadneedle carbon emissions 2016 – 2020

In 2018, the EAG has set some challenging new EMS objectives and targets, including further reductions in business travel, utility usage and refuse generation, and engagement with our broader supply chain to explore environmental efficiencies.

We have been a Living Wage employer since 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 wage of £11.05 in London and £9.90 outside London – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £8.36. Columbia Threadneedle has also met with other occupiers to ensure that the London Living Wage is paid to any contractors engaged by the landlord of our head office building Cannon Place.

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. We continue to work with our suppliers to reduce the environmental and social impacts along our value chain. In 2019 this included working with our stationery, printing, waste management and cleaning contractors and landlords to implement ways of reducing our sustainability impacts. Columbia Threadneedle complies with the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) and publishes an MSA statement on our website as per the requirement for public disclosure.