About this report

coverSanlam has been a prominent part of the South African business landscape since 1918. We have always held a long-term view of how business adapts to the demands of the environment in which it operates.

Today, in a dynamic world, we see an evolving set of social, economic, political and environmental imperatives that require our skilful response.

In this report we review the sustainability performance of our South African operation represented by our Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment (SI) clusters for the 2013 calendar year.

Performance at a glance

Sustainability governance

  • Top performer in the financial services category of the South African Business Ethics Survey (SABES), with Effectiveness of Ethics scoring 90%, 10% above industry average

  • A special unit established to embed sustainability across all boards within the Group

  • 62% of all staff completed our online ethics and compliance survey

  • Busy developing an emerging markets governance framework policy

  • 100% King III compliant with Stakeholder Strategy implemented

  • Sanlam was included in the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index for the eighth consecutive year

  • Sanlam was included in the Robecom SAM Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Market Index for the first time

Product & services

  • Aligned Sanlam Investments cluster’s structure with our client-centric market segmented strategy

  • Achieved a 79% customer satisfaction rating against the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), 2% above the overall satisfaction level for all South African organisations

  • 17,4% growth in sales of products to clients in low-end economic segment

  • Voted on 1 708 resolutions, declined 215, and engaged two companies in accordance with our responsible investment policy

  • Our empowerment and infrastructure financing at year-end amounted to R13,8 billion



  • 63% of all staff participated in the Sanlam Blueprint for participation since 2012

  • Turnover of office staff decreased to 10,7% (2012: 11,6%), while sales staff turnover increased to 42,0% (2012: 40,1%)

  • Employment Equity ratios improve by 3%, with 65% black and 35% white staff overall

  • 25% increase in total training and development spend to R144,5 million

  • 89% of all staff received training during the year

  • 21% previously disadvantaged individuals in senior management positions (2012: 17,2%)

  • Four additional graduate development programmes initiated during 2013, benefiting 72 graduates

Prosperous society

  • Achieved a verified Level 2 B-BBEE status against the Financial Sector Code

  • Distributed R119,6 billion to our policyholders in the form of insurance claims, dividends and reserves for future payouts to clients when their investments mature

  • Our Ubuntu-Botho empowerment transaction created R15 billion in value in just 10 years

  • Total corporate social investment spend increased by 88% to R64 million (1% of NPAT)

  •  32,5% of total procurement spend spent on small and micro-enterprises (2012: 15,5%)

  • 3 315 learners, 58 schools, 20 educators, 3 619 students and 14 universities were reached via the Sanlam Foundation during 2013


  • Sanlam achieved a CDP disclosure score of 96%, missing the CDP leadership index by 1%, well above the average disclosure rating of 85% for financial services

  • 7% reduction in total carbon emissions since 2010

  • 11% reduction in total annual electricity consumed since 2010, enough electricity to power 874 households

  • 12% reduction in the total airline kilometres travelled since 2010

  • 44% reduction in total annual water consumption at Sanlam Head Office

  • Recycled 50% of all waste at Sanlam Head Office

Effectiveness of Ethics 90%
Customer satisfaction rating 79%
Staff receiving training 89%
CSI spend up 88%
CDP disclosure score 96%

About the Sanlam Group

Sanlam is a leading financial services group, originally established as a life insurance company in 1918.
Our vision is to be the leader in wealth creation and protection in South Africa, leading that process in the emerging markets and playing a niche role in the developed markets.

Leadership reviews


“We believe that our values are fundamental to what we now call sustainable business.”

Desmond Smith


Explore our chairman’s message


“A sustainability mind-set guides our corporate culture and is implicit in our business model.”

Dr Johan van Zyl


Explore our CEO’s message


“Sanlam’s sustainability philosophy underpins our business, both strategically and operationally…”
Valli Moosa


Explore the SES committee chairman’s message

Material themes

As one of the premier financial service providers in South Africa, Sanlam prides itself on continuously delivering on the promises we make to all our stakeholders. Our long-term performance depends on sound governance that forms part of our corporate culture and is continually embedded through our Blueprint for Success employee engagement initiative.

We are also strictly regulated according to various codes and practices. Though there are many financial codes that we are subjected to, our sustainability journey is guided by frameworks such as King III, JSE, SRI, GRI, UNGC and the UNPRI. These frameworks inform Sanlam’s goal- setting, targets and practices moving forward.

More on sustainability governance


As a service-oriented business, we believe our people are our single most important resource. Finding the right people and keeping them engaged and motivated in a supportive working environment and a culture of excellence and opportunity is vital to achieving our key business priorities. Our Group Human Resources (HR) policies and practices underpin this philosophy in an employee-centric way.

Sanlam has a total of 12 031 employees and advisers across South Africa (excluding Santam).

Group Human Resources (Group HR) oversees our group-wide strategic projects and compliance with labour legislation and regulatory codes, while business units manage their key HR strategies and operations in a decentralised manner. We describe HR practices either as “loose” or “tight”. Loose refers to matters left to the discretion of the HR function of our various business units, while tight refers to matters that are compulsory and mandated by Group HR.

More on our people


Our products and services, sold to clients through our distribution networks, exist to build, preserve and grow wealth in society. Saving over the medium to long term is an essential requirement for a prosperous society, and getting South Africans to do so will secure our future as a financial services provider.

The integrity of our risk products is core to our product philosophy, and we have made it our business to develop products and deliver services that promote a savings culture and protect people in the face of adversity.

Client-centricity has been one of our key strategic pillars for years: we have always placed the needs of our clients at the centre of our innovations that deliver products and services. We work to satisfy our clients’ expectations of affordable solutions that address their financial needs, while continually navigating an increasingly strict regulatory environment. These conflicting factors demand innovative products and services and improved operating efficiency to allow us to remain competitive without compromising value.

More on our products & services


At Sanlam we recognise that our operating environment is increasingly subject to rapid change, economic instability, unemployment and social inequality. We are also aware that to remain sustainable as a business we need a stable, healthy and growing economy.

Sanlam has taken a conscious decision to engage in social issues across our areas of operation, specifically in areas where we have an interest and are able to influence outcomes. Critical development drivers in South Africa, such as the National Development Plan (NDP), can succeed only if corporates like us take ownership and become active participants in creating a positive long-term future for all.

More on creating a positive future


Sanlam acknowledges that sustainable business requires a sustainable environment and we have responsibly committed all areas of our business to a journey of proactive environmental stewardship. In 2011 Sanlam performed a market analysis that identified environmental issues as one of the key drivers affecting business going forward in South Africa. It is therefore imperative, from a business perspective, for us to have a strategic approach in addressing environmental and climate change issues.

As a financial services provider, our direct environmental impact is small compared to other industries such as the mining or consumer goods manufacturing sectors. Nonetheless, we believe in leading by example and actively work towards reducing our direct environmental impact.

We are cognisant of the influence our investment products and activities have. Considerable damage may result if we do not invest responsibly and consider the environmental impact of the companies and businesses that we invest in.

More on our environmental impacts

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Contact us

Head of Group Corporate Affairs

Francois Adriaan
+27 21 947 2548

Group Sustainability Management Office

Kulthoom Razak
+27 21 947 1445