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.
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.
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 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.