Standard Bank Group’s (the group or Standard Bank) ESG (environmental, social and governance) report provides an overview of the processes and governance structures the group has in place to support our commitment to doing the right business, the right way.
It includes information about how we ensure that a strong ethical culture and appropriate conduct is embedded across the group – reflected in the way in which we treat our clients, suppliers and partners, how we support and develop our people, and how we impact on the societies in which we operate.
Around the world, investors, regulators and standard setting bodies are demanding greater transparency about how businesses are managing non-financial risks, particularly those created by climate change. Social expectations about the role and responsibilities of business in general also continue to change. Our business depends on us being a trusted partner to a broad range of stakeholders, including our clients, our regulators, our business partners and the communities in which we operate.
The Standard Bank Group board is responsible for ensuring the group conducts itself as a responsible, ethical corporate citizen.
Dedicated board and management committees are responsible for the oversight of ethics, conduct, culture, stakeholder engagement and ESG risk management, to ensure our values and standards are reflected in all our day-to-day activities. In 2019, the group adopted a new ESG governance framework, which recognises ESG as a separate risk type within non-financial risk and assigns clear accountability for management of this risk area.
Standard Bank Group’s material issues are those that matter most to our key stakeholders and providers of capital, and impact on our ability to create value in the short, medium and long term. We 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.
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.
Achieving our group purpose and strategy depends on our reputation as a trusted partner across Africa. The group’s code of ethics, organisational culture and values determine how we do business and with whom we do business.
Our board and executive management are responsible for ensuring an appropriate focus on ethics, conduct and positive client outcomes. The social and ethics board committee is responsible for ensuring that the group adheres to our values, code of ethics, and human rights statement, and our commitments under the UN Principles for Responsible Banking.
MANAGING E&S RISK IN LENDING
Standard Bank’s environmental and social (E&S) risk assessment process is based on international best practice. The group adopted an environmental and social risk governance standard and policy in 2018, which set out the principles under which we identify, measure, manage and report on E&S risk.
There are increasing opportunities to deliver sustainable and impactful investment expertise to our clients and stakeholders across a broad range of growth themes.
As a first step in that effort, we have established a sustainable finance business unit, the first of its kind in Africa. The unit is responsible for partnering with our businesses to better serve our clients, drive innovation and capture emerging opportunities as sustainable growth becomes increasingly important for investors, institutions and companies globally.
The Standard Bank Group employs over 48 000 people (excluding Liberty). We strive to create a work environment in which our people feel deeply connected to our purpose, their colleagues and our clients; are empowered to, and recognised for, delivering against our strategic objectives and being client centric in everything that they do; make the most of every opportunity to embrace new ways of working and learning new skills to remain relevant and achieve their full potential; and are encouraged to speak up and feel heard.
Our recruitment, on-boarding and training processes are designed to entrench our values, ethics and conduct standards across the group.
Africa’s growth depends on her people having access to quality education, skills training and lifelong learning opportunities, and affordable and accessible health-care and shelter.
Standard Bank aims to create shared value through our corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives, addressing social needs in a sustainable manner, while also seeking business opportunities. Our CSI programme aims to deliver benefits for the communities in which we operate, while enhancing our visibility and reputation, improving our employee experience, and demonstrating our local relevance.
We understand that responsible management of environment, health, safety and social responsibility issues is important to our growth, profitability and long-term success. This section provides a selection of our ESG performance data from 2017 – 2019.
The Standard Bank Group has a comprehensive suite of policies to ensure effective risk management and regulatory compliance. These are complemented by specific standards and policies designed to protect the rights of our employees, ensure the fair treatment of our customers, and support our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen. We have listed some of these policies below, with links to the policies themselves/summaries of the policies.