Today, Western Union released its second annual environmental, social, and governance (ESG) report. This comes as a pivotal time, marked by challenges and great opportunity take positive steps forward. Over the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives like no other event in recent memory, leaving communities everywhere to reckon with loss, disruption, and fear. We also have seen civil unrest around the world, as people take to the streets to protest systemic racism and oppression.
History-changing events like this one demand the best of us as individuals, leaders, businesses, and communities. At Western Union, we have a nearly 170-year history of connecting people when the world feels distant and divided. From the days when we built a telegraph system to connect people across continents and oceans, to building a network for people and businesses to move money to nearly every corner of the earth, we have relied on the power of our people, our innovation, and our technology. At every step, we have met the challenges faced by our business and our society, and I am proud to say that this crisis has been no exception.
We know, however, that meeting this and other challenges means striving toward a world that works together. Last year, I was honored to be one of 181 signatories to the U.S. Business Roundtable’s (BRT) Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, which emphasized that for corporations to be successful over the long term—and to return value to shareholders—they need to serve the interests of customers, employees, and the communities in which they operate.
Today, against the backdrop of COVID-19, business’s role in building a more united future has never seemed more relevant—or more urgent. Serving our stakeholders in today’s world takes determination and innovation. It demands that we build unity through ingenuity to create new, lasting solutions for people, businesses, and societies.
This report provides an update on Western Union’s ESG progress, and how we are addressing some of the most pressing issues facing society, our shared environment, and our company. We highlight six key areas of focus for Western Union:
- Connecting people and businesses to the global economy: Through innovation and collaboration, we strive to empower people and businesses pursuing opportunities near and.
- Fostering an engaging and inclusive culture: Our employees are fundamental to both our legacy and our future of connecting people across the globe. We insist on equal treatment for our employees regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnic origin or sexuality.
- Moving money with integrity: We have put sophisticated safeguards in place and work hand in hand with law enforcement and others to help thwart and prosecute fraud, human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, illegal wildlife trade, and other criminal activity.
- Governing and managing for success: Western Union is committed to operating ethically with honesty and integrity and doing business the right way. Our governance structures and practices provide oversight and guidance around critical issues for our business, including ethics, board diversity, executive compensation, fair competition, supply chain integrity, data privacy, and cybersecurity.
- Safeguarding our shared environment: We are committed to acting responsibly to respect the environment and minimize our footprint, and to improving our environmental performance.
- Supporting workforce skills development and humanitarian relief: Since 2001, the Western Union Foundation has given more than $125 million to help hundreds of thousands of people across the globe through training, education, and humanitarian relief. In 2019, the Foundation launched its Opportunity Beyond Borders, a three-year, $15-million commitment to provide vulnerable youth with the skills and training needed to succeed in today’s global digital economy.
This remains a challenging time, as the long-term impacts on society and business of both COVID and our ongoing reckoning with inequality continue to unfold. Still, our efforts to face this crisis have left me both energized and hopeful. The importance of our work is clearer than ever, and we remain committed to fulfilling it with the highest standards of responsibility, integrity, and sustainability.