Standard Bank is committed to doing the right business the right way, ensuring that our clients are treated fairly and consistently, that we adhere to global and national regulatory and governance standards, and that our decisions and actions are informed by the group’s values and ethics. As per South Africa’s King IV Code of Corporate Governance, we recognise that we are an integral part of the societies in which we operate, dependent on these societies for our licence to operate, and that we are therefore obligated, morally and legally, to act in accordance with what is good for these societies as well as what is good for the bank.
Our employees, clients, regulators and investors increasingly expect us to ensure that our business activities deliver a positive impact for society, the economy and the environment. Our governance approach promotes strategic decisionmaking that combines long-term and shorter-term outcomes to reconcile the interests of the group, stakeholders and society to create sustainable value. We see corporate governance as an enabler that creates competitive advantage through enhanced accountability, effective risk management, clear performance management, greater transparency, and effective leadership.
We support responsible investment through assessing and managing our environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. This helps to ensure that our investors gain comfort from implementation of our ESG policies, processes and performance, to inform our decision-making.
Our ESG Report provides an overview of the processes and governance structures we have in place to support our commitment to doing the right business, the right way. It provides an update on our progress towards enhancing our positive social and environmental impacts, and mitigating negative impacts, through our core business activities.
For information about how Standard Bank applies the King IV corporate governance principles, please visit the group’s 2018 application of the King IV Principles.
Our material issues are those that matter most to our key stakeholders and providers of capital, and which impact on our ability to create value in the short, medium and long term. We therefore consider an issue to be material if it has the potential to substantially impact on our commercial viability, our social relevance and our relationships with our stakeholders. Our material issues are informed by the expectations of our stakeholders, and the economic, social and environmental context in which we operate (the triple bottom line).
We measure our ability to create shared value in terms of our five strategic value drivers – client focus, employee engagement and risk and conduct, which determine our financial outcomes and our social, economic and environmental (SEE) impacts. Our material issues encompass the risks and opportunities in relation to each of these value drivers.
While material issues evolve over time, in response to changes in our operating environment and stakeholder expectations, the broad themes tend to be relatively stable. We view the materiality determination process as a business tool that facilitates integrated thinking.
- Deliver a compelling value proposition for our clients in an increasingly competitive environment
- Protect and maintain the integrity of client data
- Work with our customers to mitigate overindebtedness (including sales-in-execution)
- Diversity and inclusion (particular focus on gender equity)
- Transformation in South Africa
- Impact of digitisation and automation on workforce requirements
- Build and retain local skills and capabilities in countries of operation
- Stability, security and speed of IT systems
- Reputational and operational risk associated with third parties, counterparties and suppliers
- Card fraud
- Policy, regulatory and legal risks in key markets
- Constructive relationships with regulatory authorities
- Increase in physical security threats/incidents in Africa Regions
- Returns on IT investment
- Maintain resilience of our balance sheet
- Improve efficiencies and manage the cost base
- Sustainable revenue growth
- Contribute to job creation and enterprise development in countries of operation
- Deepen financial inclusion across Africa with appropriate digital offerings
- Balancing Africa’s power and energy needs with the negative impact of climate change
- Adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, especially in relation to water in key sectors and markets
We are committed to understanding these impacts, which are direct and indirect, and using this understanding to inform our decision-making at every level. This enables us to maximise the positive impacts of our business, and minimise and mitigate the negative impacts, while simultaneously generating new business opportunities and financial returns for the group. We’ve adopted SEE impacts as one of the five value drivers which inform our strategy, and against which we measure our performance.