In this era of heightened awareness about environmental and social challenges, companies are expected to be responsible stewards of the planet and its people as they work to deliver financial results. It is increasingly important to ensure that businesses align their strategies and operations with sustainable practices.

As one of the world's largest insurers, MetLife is actively advancing its dedication to sustainability by taking tangible actions. The recently released 2022 Sustainability Report shares how MetLife lives up to its purpose of Always with you, building a more confident future and contributes to a virtuous circle of improving value for customers, people, communities, and shareholders.

At the heart of MetLife's sustainability approach lies the commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) which serves as a compass guiding the company's strategic decisions and operational practices. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, MetLife has a sustainability vision to build a better world by enabling more resilient, economically thriving communities, accelerating climate action and making significant progress towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

One of the primary focal points of MetLife's sustainability efforts is economic inclusion and community support. Through the MetLife Foundation, MetLife has awarded US$37.9 million in grants in 2022, specifically targeting economic inclusion, financial health, and resilient communities. These grants have a tangible and positive impact on the lives of underserved and underrepresented communities around the world and underline MetLife’s role as a force for good. A local example is the AU$150,000+ that has been given to Habitat for Humanity over the last three years through the annual Fit 4 Humanity campaign, through which MetLife actively encourages employees to get involved to support the community.

In 2022, MetLife’s global employees have volunteered over 109,000 hours with environmental community partners, including tree planting and conservation through Botanic Gardens of Sydney. MetLife’s global efforts have amounted to over 800,000 newly planted trees since 2020. MetLife remains committed to mobilising efforts and achieving 800,000 volunteer hours globally by 2030 as well as supporting biodiversity around the world through the planting of 5 million trees.

MetLife has maintained its carbon neutral status since 2016 and has made a further commitment to decarbonising operations and supply chains to achieve net zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for MetLife global operations and general account investment portfolio by 2050. This has led to a 49% reduction in GHG emissions since 2019, 100 MetLife suppliers setting GHG emission targets in 2022, further funding of ESG investments and reporting capabilities through MetLife Investment Management in Australia, and the recent relocation of the Sydney head office to a 6 Green Star rated building to reduce the consumption of energy, water, plastics and other natural resources by prioritising sustainability with circularity in mind.

Beyond external commitments to DEI, MetLife aspires to create a purpose-driven, inclusive and equitable culture for its employees. MetLife believes that improving its understanding of equity and equality, will enhance its ability to lead inclusively in the future. In Australia, MetLife’s workforce is multi-generational, has more than 40 ethnic backgrounds represented, and includes people who identify as being LGBTIQ+. Women represent 38% of MetLife Australia’s Board of Directors and the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan is also a key part of DEI to ensure all voices are heard, respected and valued. MetLife is the only life insurer certified as an Inclusive Employer by Diversity Council of Australia.

Sustainability is central to MetLife’s business strategy, with purpose at its core. Sustaining people’s lives is what MetLife does – and has done since MetLife opened for business in 1868. The 2022 Sustainability Report stands as a testament to MetLife's commitment to sustainability and its endeavours to leave a positive legacy on society and the environment. MetLife will continue on this trajectory to build a better world and secure people’s health and wellbeing.   

Wendy Tse, Chief of Staff, Strategy and External Affairs, MetLife Australia