The year 2017 was one of the most transformational in MetLife’s history. The spinoff of our U.S. retail business, which dated to the company’s founding in 1868, was the centerpiece of our strategy to become a simpler, less capital intensive company with stronger free cash flow. We do not know when the next economic downturn will come, but we expect that MetLife will be well-equipped to weather the storm.
We continue to build our business in protection and fee-based products and to enhance our digital capabilities to better serve our customers. We delivered solid financial performance in 2017, growing our adjusted earnings per share by 8 percent.
MetLife is committed to continuous improvement not only in its business operations but also in its corporate responsibility efforts.
Today, investors, regulators, non-governmental organizations and others are looking more closely than ever at how companies perform on a wide range of corporate responsibility measures. Some of our achievements since last year’s Global Impact report include:
- Committing $2.3 billion to impact investments such as affordable housing, green energy, infrastructure and municipal bonds in the United States, and $2.5 billion to impact investments in other countries, to bring social and environmental benefits while generating economic returns. With these additions, our portfolio of impact investments has grown to $50 billion.
- Making a combined $45 million in grants through MetLife and MetLife Foundation, including $30 million for financial inclusion efforts that help low-income individuals and families access safe and affordable financial products and services.
- Being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (North America) for the second year in a row. The DJSI is a widely recognized standard for corporate responsibility that tracks leading sustainability-driven companies.
- Achieving a grade of “A minus” from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for reporting and management of climate issues. This rating places MetLife in CDP's top quartile “Leadership” category among financial services providers.
- Being named to the first all-sector Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index in January. This followed our being named to the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index in 2017 and 2016.
- Being recognized by the Women’s Forum of New York as a “Champion” for the high representation of women on our Board. Currently, 25 percent of our Board members are women.
- Being named to the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion” by the U.S. Business Leadership Network and American Association of People with Disabilities. This was the first time MetLife has been recognized for its efforts to provide a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.
At MetLife, we are committed to engaging our stakeholders in a constructive way, and we have concluded that we should enhance our corporate responsibility efforts to meet evolving standards. To ensure we have a strategic and coordinated approach, we are creating a new corporate responsibility function to develop an integrated strategy that aligns with our priorities and positions us as a leader in this area.
We believe the steps we are taking to operate our business sustainably and responsibly will generate a positive global impact for all of our stakeholders.
Steven A. Kandarian
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer