(BPT) - When the novel coronavirus outbreak impacted nearly every business across the globe, companies turned straight to their values to steer their response. A company’s mission and promise replaced the next product launch. Involvement in the community mattered more than the next earnings call. And how companies treated their employees superseded any other action.

Aflac recently released its 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report amid the pandemic to highlight how the company is creating a brighter future for its employees, customers, communities and stakeholders. The magnitude of the events of 2020 cast an even greater spotlight on a company’s purpose — the core values guiding its impact on the world. This is something Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Communications Officer Catherine Hernandez-Blades says represents a trend in corporate prioritization that focuses on the needs of stakeholders, particularly employees and those throughout communities at large, which continues to accelerate at a rapid pace.

“At Aflac, being an ethical company has always been the way we do business, but the spotlight has been magnified and proving it with action is more critical than ever,” Hernandez-Blades said. “Communicating with employees, consumers, investors and others about what you are doing as a company to address issues of concern is paramount. Our newly released CSR Report, along with our new, award-winning ESG Hub, does just that, featuring key areas in ethical responsibility, including governance, workplace, philanthropy and sustainability.”

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the quest for greater social justice in 2020 has fueled companies to reexamine their diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, and they might take a page from Aflac’s commitment to a diverse workforce. In 2019, Aflac U.S. hired 729 new employees who were 58% ethnic minorities and 65% women — an increase of 20% and 16%, respectively, in comparison to 2018. Sixty-four percent of Aflac’s board members are ethnic minorities or women. Aflac also spent $24.5 million with diverse suppliers in 2019 and achieved a 386% increase in working with veteran-owned businesses, a 9.4% increase with minority-owned businesses and a 5.2% increase in women-owned businesses in comparison to 2018.

Aflac’s CSR Report reveals the insurer’s long history of giving. To date, Aflac has contributed more than $150 million to support the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Additionally, Aflac has contributed nearly $22 million to organizations supporting minority causes and education such as the United Negro College Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc., Jack and Jill of America Inc., and United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley through 2019.

Most companies are likely reevaluating their CSR playbooks in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are tried-and-true approaches found in a tested CSR strategy that can inform next steps.

Visit Aflac.com/CSRReport to see the full 2019 Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Report titled "Investing Today for a Better Tomorrow.”

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