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.
The greatest impact we have as a financial institution is through our financial activities. We have developed a comprehensive framework which will ensure that the group proactively identifies, manages, monitors and embeds environmental and social (E&S) risk management into its lending processes. Standard Bank aims to drive Africa’s growth with minimal negative reputational, social, economic and environmental impact.
Climate change, coupled with the related issue of water scarcity, has emerged as a leading risk for business and society. SBG is working toward better understanding our environmental impacts and the impacts of climate change on our business. In 2018 we continued to invest in the reduction of our direct carbon footprint through energy and water monitoring and savings measures at our head offices and branches.
We understand that to become the leading financial services organisation in, for and across Africa, we must contribute to the long-term prosperity of the communities and countries in which we operate, by facilitating inclusive economic growth and social development.
To do this effectively we must ensure our relevance to social needs and our capacity to help advance national objectives. Our vision commits us to contributing to socioeconomic development in a way that is consistent with the nature and size of our operations in the countries we serve.
Africa’s growth depends on her people having access to quality education, and the promotion of skills training and lifelong learning opportunities in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
The group social and ethics committee is responsible for ensuring that we act ethically in relation to internal and external stakeholders, and society more broadly.
The committee meets quarterly and includes executive and non-executive directors. Key issues discussed by the committee during 2018 included progress on embedding an ethical culture in Standard Bank; group-wide principles for stakeholder engagement; measures to accelerate gender and racial transformation within South Africa, and gender equity across the group; effectiveness of group policies and processes to minimise instances and support the victims of discrimination and sexual harassment; issues raised by environmental and social rights groups; and employee wellbeing.
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 2016 – 2018, as well as the governance policies we have in place.
Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production have continued to increase in recent years, with coal considered to be one of the largest contributors to emissions. At the end of 2015 a global agreement to reduce emissions and combat climate change was concluded by 195 nations at the Conference of Parties in Paris (“Paris Agreement”) with the signatories including all 20 African countries in which the bank currently has a presence