Nationwide Building Society



Financial Services 



Nationwide House
Pipers Way
Swindon SN38 1NW
United Kingdom

Tel: 0800 30 20 15



The bank does not disclose any relevant listings.




Lynn Forrester


  • Received a silver award from MIND as a result of their participation in their workplace wellbeing survey, measuring the engagement and support of their people in wellbeing, as well as their underlying policies and processes.



Report created by Youmna Abdallah

Nationwide Building Society

SECTIONS :  Sustainability Targets   Evaluation  •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

Nationwide Building Society engages in the provision of personal financial services

Its retail activities are divided into the following portfolios: residential mortgage loans, savings, and general insurance; personal banking products; and financial planning. It also offers specialist lending, limited secured commercial lending, and commercial offshore deposit-taking for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

The company was founded in 1884 and is headquartered in Swindon, United Kingdom.

Company Sustainability Activity

Nationwide Building Society established a Responsible Business Committee to focus on:

  • The social and environmental impact they have.
  • The way they operate.
  • The financial support and work opportunities they offer.
  • The people and communities they touch.

The bank’s Responsible Business and Climate Change Risk teams are mapped into their governance structure to drive environmental, social and governance considerations throughout the Society. By having dedicated teams and governance, they ensure both risks and opportunities are continually explored and drive engagement at all levels of their business.


  • Nationwide Building Society lends to housing associations ranging from small almshouses to large national providers and with £6.0 billion of outstanding lending (4 April 2018: £6.8 billion), they are one of the key lenders to social housing providers in the UK. 
  • They are investing an additional £1.3 billion in technology over the next five years, bringing their total strategic investment to £4.1 billion.
  • Their Oakfield development in Swindon is part of their commitment to find local solutions to the housing shortage. They’ve employed a Community Organiser to work with local people, giving them a voice in shaping the community they are creating and working in partnership with Swindon Borough Council. The development is not for profit and is making use of a brownfield site that failed to attract commercial developers. It will create a new neighborhood of 239 homes. 
  • Nationwide Building Society works with several social enterprises, and to pledge their commitment, they’ve signed up to Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Corporate Challenge. The challenge is for a group of high-profile businesses to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.
  • They are now working with a supplier called WildHearts. It aims to use its work and profits to change the world for the better, from equipping young people in the UK with key development and employability skills to tackling gender inequality in the developing world. 
  • Nationwide Building Society has an ongoing partnership with Wates, which runs a mental health programme for all workers on their sites, including sub-contractors.
  • Nationwide Building Society receives over 50% of its electricity supply from a Solar Farm Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that’s been in place for over three years. Their remaining supply comes from renewable sources through a green tariff agreement with their preferred supplier.
  • In early 2018, they launched a website in partnership with car-sharing experts, Liftshare. The website connects people for sharing car journeys to work – helping reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs. Almost 500 of their colleagues have signed up to the scheme, although not all of these are likely to be active lift sharers.
  • In 2017, they signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge, showing they’re committed to changing how they view mental health and acting on it.


Opportunities for Change 

  • Involve their colleagues and their members in picking and funding local grassroots housing charities that make a real sustained difference to their communities.
  • Provide funding to the Nationwide Foundation to enable it to identify and support potentially radical changes to the housing sector.
  • Plan and build a housing development of 239 homes – that will also provide a blueprint to inform future developments across the country.
  • Improve standards in the private rental sector.
  • Work with key partners to prevent homelessness and help the homeless get the support they need.
  • The innovative They Can Make project is supporting people who want to move, typically to downsize, but who also want to stay in the community they call home. They Can Make will create up to 350 new one and two-bedroom homes using micro-site space that already exists in Knowle West, typically in large back gardens, on land between buildings and on grassed verges.
  • Sustain the progress they have already made in becoming a zero to landfill business by increasing their recycling rates.
  • Sustain the reduction in their carbon emissions and having switched their electricity supply to 100% renewable sources, understand how they can reduce their energy usage.
  • Develop new solutions to reduce the impact of their employees’ travel.
  • Understand what more they can do to work with their suppliers, colleagues and members to tackle climate change, waste reduction, and water usage.

Enabling People to be Their Best

  • Support and reinforce ‘PRIDE’ which defines their values and underpins their culture – these values reflect their mutuality and effectively place their members at the heart of their business and decision-making.
  • Ensure their colleagues feel empowered to seize the opportunities they see to make things simpler and easier for each other and their members and to provide new, even better solutions to their changing needs.
  • Create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, so that they truly reflect the communities which they serve and have the diverse range of perspectives they need to succeed.
  • Ensure they have effective policies and processes in place to recognise, manage and develop their employees’ talent
  • Ensure their colleagues have the systems, skills and knowledge they need to make a difference.
  • Have 33% to 35% of women fill their most senior roles.
  • Have a disability target of 2.6% across all levels. 


Opportunities for Change

  • Saw a 2% annual reduction in their complaints figures, even though their membership has been increasing, and they resolved 75% of member complaints within 14 days. 
  • During 2018, they had a lower uphold rate than most of their peers and performed well compared to the industry as a whole. Recent data (H2 2018) shows that their uphold rates were 25% for banking & credit against an industry average of 45%; and 16% for prime mortgages and home finance complaints against an industry average of 25%. 
  • In 2018/19, 63% of their people were involved in supporting community activities, including fundraising, volunteering and payroll giving. 
  • Their members and colleagues raised £870,000 for charity
  • Granted £500,000 to 129 local charities in 2018/19 through their Colleague Funding Programme, which allows employees to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 for their local charity. 
  •  A network of over 350 employees across the UK help champion, shape and co-ordinate their social investment programme, organising and galvanising their colleagues to support their communities. 
  • 72 of their colleagues from across the UK, from both their administration sites and their branch network, are members of their Community Boards, helping them allocate community grants.
  • Their administration centres and over 90% of their branches took part in Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event, raising £154,000, for Macmillan’s grants programme. The grants are used to help people living with cancer stay in their homes. They have been working for more than 25 years with Macmillan and over this time raised more than £9 million. 
  • Nationwide Building Society partners with Shelter and St Mungo’s to help them find solutions for the housing crisis and support vulnerable people with housing issues. In 2018/19 they donated a total of £840,000 to their charity partners. They also support Macmillan Cancer Support and the Woodland Trust.
  • Their total Scope 1 and 2 emissions have fallen by half since 2011, and by 17% during 2018/19, driven by a decline in the emissions associated with their electricity consumption. This reflects a combination of the greening of the electricity supply and the introduction of low-carbon technologies in their properties.
  • In recent years, when refurbishing their offices and branches, they have recycled the old desks and chairs to help equip over 700 schools in 18 countries.
  • In 2016, Nationwide committed to plant a tree for every current and future employee, and for members who opted for paper-free Annual General Meeting packs. They have partnered with the Woodland Trust to plant 60,000 trees in new woods across the UK. To date, almost 400 colleagues have planted more than 20,000 trees in five new woods. Nationwide and the Trust have also joined forces to create a Community Woodland network. The network supports local communities that want to take over wood or create their own. A pilot project in northern England has seen them provide £370,000 to help establish 30 community wood groups and improve their sites.

Enabling their people to be their best

  • Met their target of women to fill at least 33% to 35% of their most senior roles ahead of schedule (currently 35%) and they will continue to strive for gender balance at all levels, particularly within their leadership teams (their Board is 36% female).
  • Their disability target of 2.6% across all levels is also on track to be met (currently 2.5%) and they will have a growing focus on tackling the stigma of disability through education and support. 


UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 1: No Poverty

  • They take positive action against homelessness.
  • They actively look for ways to improve financial inclusion and support, and protect their members’ money.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 

  • They are working to reduce economic inequality.
  • They seek to ensure everyone has access to good and secure housing, finances, and work opportunities.

SDG 11: Sustainable 

  • They are building new, EPC-A community homes on their not-for-profit development, Oakfield.
  • They have pledged that every town and city that has a branch today will still have one until at least January 2023.

SDG 12:

  • They maintain the Carbon Trust Triple Standard.
  • They work hard to reduce their environmental impact by sending no waste to landfill and recycling their office equipment.
  • They source food throughout their offices locally.

SDG 13: Climate Action 

  • Internally, their energy use and business miles from their fleet are carbon neutral.
  • Their green propositions will help members to reduce the carbon footprint of their home.

Secondary SDGs: 4, 5, 7, 15, 17


Nationwide Building Society is committed to sustainable development through the publishing of a thorough sustainability report which clearly indicates their targets and progress. 

The partnerships they have created with Shelter and St Mungo to prevent homelessness and reduce poverty, as well as the Woodland Trust to plant 60,000 trees in new woods across the U, demonstrate that the Society is committed to their community and the planet.

The sustainability certificates they hold such as the Carbon Trust Triple Standard as well as the global initiatives they have committed to are noteworthy. Nationwide Building Society also complies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, basing a priority on SDGs 1, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

For these reasons, Nationwide Building Society has been rated a C. 

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Whilst Nationwide Building Society is evidently working towards sustainable development, the company could benefit from earning more awards that validate their progress, as well as explicitly complying with more UN Sustainable Development Goals. 


Key Points

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