• Introduction
    • OVERVIEW
    • THE STANDARD BANK GROUP
    • OUR REPORTING SUITE
    • OUR SEE JOURNEY
    • ASSURANCE STATEMENT
     
     
     
     
     
  • SEE impact areas
    • OVERVIEW
    • 1.
      FINANCIAL INCLUSION
    • 2.
      JOB CREATION AND ENTERPRISE GROWTH
    • 3.
      INFRASTRUCTURE
    • 4.
      AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT
    • 5.
      Climate change and sustainable finance
    • 6.
      EDUCATION
    • 7.
      HEALTH
     
  • ESG
    • OVERVIEW
    • OUR REPORTING SUITE
    • MESSAGE FROM SIM TSHABALALA
    • ESG GOVERNANCE
    • MATERIAL ISSUES DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD
    • ENGAGING OUR STAKEHOLDERS
    • HOW WE DO BUSINESS
    • MANAGING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL RISKS
    • SUSTAINABLE FINANCE
    • OUR PEOPLE
    • CORPORATE SOCIAL INVESTMENT
    • ESG METRICS,  POLICIES AND REPORTS
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Transformation
    • OVERVIEW
    • INTRODUCTION
    • A MESSAGE FROM LUNGISA FUZILE
    • THE ROLE OF A BANK IN GROWING THE ECONOMY
    • STANDARD BANK’S BEE SCORECARD 2019
    • WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION
    • B-BBEE CERTIFICATE
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Downloads
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Engaging our stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement is part of our everyday business. We depend on constructive relationships with our diverse stakeholders to achieve our purpose of driving Africa’s growth, understand stakeholder expectations, and help us identify the material issues impacting our business.

Effective engagement builds trust, strengthens our legitimacy as a socially-relevant and responsible corporate citizen and supports our efforts to develop and implement effective solutions to Africa’s social, economic and environmental challenges.

Standard Bank’s stakeholders are those individuals, groups, and organisations that materially affect or could be materially affected by our business activities, products, services and performance. They provide us with the resources and capital we need to achieve our strategy and purpose; influence the environment in which we operate; and confer legitimacy on our activities.

The issues on which we engage our stakeholders are multiple and diverse. We are committed to respectfully listening to and constructively engaging with all legitimate stakeholders. Proactive engagement provides us with insights that help to inform the definition of our material issues and shape our business strategy and operations, while enabling us to manage and respond to stakeholder concerns and minimise reputational risk.

The group policy, advocacy and sustainability team, within group risk, is responsible for reporting on material stakeholder engagements to the group social and ethics committee, and for ensuring that material stakeholder concerns and issues are incorporated into Standard Bank’s annual assessment of material issues. It also serves as a subject matter expert on developing good stakeholder engagement practices and managing certain stakeholder engagements on behalf of the group.

We categorise our stakeholders into two primary groups: those with a direct relationship with the group, and those with an indirect relationship. The following table describes some of the ways we engage with these different groups.

 
Stakeholders with a direct relationship with the group
WHY WE ENGAGE
Our clients range from individuals and small businesses to large corporates, state entities and multinationals. We need a clear understanding of different clients’ needs and preferences, to provide an appropriately tailored service offering.
HOW WE ENGAGE
  • Direct engagements through various channels
  • Client satisfaction surveys
  • Feedback from complaint resolution processes
  • Engagement with and support to SMEs through our enterprise development teams/incubator services at country level
We rely on our people to achieve our purpose. Regular engagement with our people and their trade union representatives is vital in fostering constructive relationships and making Standard Bank a great place to work.
  • Engagement between executives and senior management through Group Leadership Forum and in-country visits
  • Regular engagements with employees’ trade union representatives
  • Annual ‘Are You a Fan’ groupwide employee survey
  • Targeted surveys to obtain input from their employees on strategic topics
  • Executive communications via email and Yammer
  • Support for employees impacted by restructuring
  • Diversity and inclusion forums discuss matters of equity in the workplace
  • Critical Conversations provide opportunities to engage with senior executives and thought leaders
  • Financial fitness sessions
  • Employee wellness initiatives
  • In South Africa, the political, economic transformation and black economic empowerment (PETBEE) committee receives regular progress updates on transformation progress from Standard Bank South Africa (SBSA) management teams
Our shareholders provide the financial capital that allows our business to grow. We have a fiduciary duty to manage their investment with care and provide them with a compelling value proposition to retain their confidence and support.
  • Investor meetings, calls and conferences
  • Interim and annual results announcements
  • Investor issues and concerns are communicated to relevant internal stakeholders, including the board, and inform our planning and reporting
We engage with our suppliers and business partners to protect the integrity of our supply chain and ensure we’re aligned in terms of expectations and standards.
  • We manage our relationships with suppliers through service level agreements and direct engagements.
Stakeholders with an indirect relationship with the group
WHY WE ENGAGE
We engage with regulators, policy-makers and legislators on policy and regulatory matters that impact our operations and operating environment, to support evidence-based policy-making and dialogue and ensure effective compliance.
HOW WE ENGAGE
  • Regular formal engagements with central banks and other regulatory bodies on policy, regulatory and operational issues
  • Engagement through trade associations
  • Attending deliberations in Parliament
  • Seminars with government officials on forthcoming policy changes
  • Examples of engagement in South Africa can be found here.
We engage with NGOs, environmental and human rights groups, research institutes, think tanks and community representatives to access information and diverse perspectives on various issues and inform our decision-making. This helps us understand the potential social and environmental impacts of proposed and existing business practices and projects.
  • We partner with UN Women on their #HeForShe programme to promote gender equity
  • We welcome engagement on specific issues. During 2019, for example, we engaged with BankTrack regarding the East Africa oil pipeline, and we continue to engage with the Centre for Environmental Rights and the Raith Foundation in South Africa regarding finance for coal-fired power
  • In South Africa we engage regularly with selected civil society organisations and think tanks through our Expanded Democracy Support Programme and host regular dialogues at our head office in Johannesburg
We engage with trade associations and other industry bodies, working through them to influence our regulatory and operating environment and working with them to agree industry standards and guidelines.
  • The group CE serves on the board of the International Institute of Finance. We participate in regular global discussions on issues impacting the sector
  • We’re an active member of the Equator Principles Association and chaired the Association during the process of developing and agreeing the new EP4 Principles, adopted in November 2019
  • We’re co-chair of the Banking Committee of the UNEP FI
  • We’re a founding signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking
  • We’re part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Banking Commission on Sustainable Trade Finance to equip banks to finance sustainable trade practices
  • We’re active participants in various industry bodies in our countries of operation, including, for example, Business Leadership South Africa (BUSA) and the Banking Association South Africa
We engage with political parties to understand their expectations of our role in addressing societal challenges.
  • In South Africa, we host regular bilateral engagements with political parties as part of our Democracy Support Programme
We engage with the media to support accurate and well-informed reporting.
  • We have a dedicated team at head office in Johannesburg who oversees our engagements with the media
Academia
  • We partner with various educational institutions to support skills development and access to education.

Engaging our regulators

In South Africa, we’ve adopted an externally assured operating model for the process of monitoring policy and regulatory developments, assessing their impact and providing evidence-based submissions to stakeholders.

We maintain a schedule of policy and regulatory developments, which is shared with relevant internal stakeholders across SBSA to ensure awareness and readiness for new regulatory requirements.

In 2019 we
worked on
38
new regulatory
issues, and made
submissions on
15
issues
.
Issues on which we engaged with government departments and Parliament included:
  • Market conduct with National Treasury and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority
  • Fintech and crypto assets with the SARB
  • Financial crime with the Financial Intelligence Centre
  • Consumer credit and over-indebtedness with the National Credit Regulator
  • Development of a climate change legislative framework with the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Submissions included comment on:
Draft Expropriation Bill
Draft Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill
Draft Conduct Standard for Banks
Draft Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill
Position Paper on Proposed Amendments to the NCA Regulations

GOVERNANCE OF STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENTS

Stakeholder engagement is governed by our group stakeholder engagement principles, which were approved by the group social and ethics committee in 2018. The principles provide a guideline for our operations across geographical areas, while recognising the need to accommodate local contexts. We developed the principles in consultation with our regional and country chief executives across Africa.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO:
Constructive engagement, listening to concerns and suggestions with an open mind
Being accessible
Responding appropriately to legitimate concerns
Being transparent in our engagements
Ensuring that our code of ethics and our values underpin and inform our engagements

We engage with our different stakeholders in different ways and strive to be responsive to their concerns. Given the scale of our operations and the diversity of our stakeholders, we have adopted a decentralised stakeholder engagement approach. Different teams within the group meet with their stakeholders regularly on matters of mutual interest. At country level, accountability for oversight of stakeholder engagement lies with the country board or, in some cases, the country executive committee. Executives in country are responsible for managing engagement with material stakeholders in the country.

We have guidelines and policies in place to govern our engagements with various types of stakeholders. These ensure that group representatives have an appropriate mandate for engagement, and that potential conduct and reputational risks are managed.

Governance of engagements with external stakeholders
STAKEHOLDER TYPE
Industry, trade associations
RELEVANT GUIDELINE/POLICY GOVERNING ENGAGEMENT
Participation in Trade Associations policy:
  • Aims to ensure that the group’s position and representation is managed and is consistent across various associations; that adequate internal consultation is undertaken to formulate our positions; that our representatives are clearly mandated and supported to communicate group-wide positions; that developments and positions on material issues are appropriately reported to relevant stakeholders, and that all representatives conduct themselves in a way that reflects the values and protects the reputation of Standard Bank.
  • Applies to membership of banking or insurance associations, broader business associations and industry workgroups set up by regulators or government
  • Sets out categories of representatives; process for nominating and appointing Standard Bank representatives to new and existing committees; principles for participation; and criteria for an annual review of representatives
  • All representatives are required to undergo compulsory training on competition law provided by group compliance
Political parties
Group code of ethics
  • Designated group representatives should engage, in a transparent and fair manner, with politicians and political parties, with a view to making a positive difference to the relevant country’s wellbeing and Standard Bank’s business environment
  • Individual employees are free to engage in legal political activity in their personal capacity but should not make use of Standard Bank resources for this purpose
  • When personal relationships exist with political role players, employees should guard against those relationships being used to unfairly influence political decision-making or decision-making in Standard Bank
Regulators, policy makers, legislators
Regulator interaction guidelines
  • Aims to ensure engagements are conducted transparently and constructively and are aimed at highlighting the potential impact of policy and regulatory changes on our clients and the economy
  • Applies to all employees.
Governance of donations to external stakeholders
STAKEHOLDER TYPE
Political parties
RELEVANT GUIDELINE OR POLICY GOVERING FUNDING
  • Requests for funding of, or decisions to fund, any political party are referred to the group chief ethics officer
  • We do not fund political parties outside South Africa
  • In South Africa, we provide funding for political parties under our democracy support programme. Parties represented in the National Assembly of Parliament receive funding using the Independent Electoral Commission’s formula. This boardapproved funding policy is reviewed every five years. Political parties receive no other financial support from the group. Guidelines are in place to guard against the risk that such contributions could be used inappropriately, by the group, its employees or third-parties, to obtain business advantage. In 2019, R5.1 million was allocated towards the democracy support programme.
Civil society organisations
  • Policies are determined at country level
  • In South Africa, the expanded democracy support programme guidelines govern the assessment of funding requests and the provision of financial support to civil society organisations. The guidelines aim to ensure consistency in the assessment, management and outcomes of funding requests and compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory obligations and the group values and code of ethics, while guarding against the risk that such contributions could be used inappropriately to obtain business advantage. In 2019, we disbursed R4 million towards expanded democracy support programme.
Sponsorships
  • The group sponsorship policy governs all sponsorships undertaken by the group and its subsidiaries
  • We define sponsorship as a commercially viable investment of cash, product or in-kind support with a rights holder, for which the group receives quantifiable commercial rights in return
  • Due diligence must be carried out on rights holders prior to contracting, to ensure entities are of impeccable integrity and are reputationally sound
  • Total sponsorship spend is reported quarterly, to the social and ethics management committee and social and ethics board committee.
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