CE, Standard Bank Group
Standard Bank is committed to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth across the continent we call home.
By this we mean growth that creates jobs and economic opportunities for as many Africans as possible; that helps to alleviate poverty and supports community development and financial inclusion; supports improved access to crucial services such as quality health care and quality education, adequate water and sanitation, and reliable and affordable energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure; minimises harmful impacts to the natural environment, and respects universal human rights. To achieve this vision, we need to ensure that the clients we bank, and the projects, partnerships and infrastructural developments we finance, create net positive social, economic and environmental impacts. These considerations are front and centre when we make business decisions.
To ensure this commitment is embedded across the business, we use social, economic and environmental (SEE) impact as one of our five strategic value drivers – alongside financial outcomes, client focus, employee engagement, and risk and conduct. Our value drivers measure our strategic progress. Our SEE value driver requires us to think proactively about evolving client needs and the changing operating environment. It also provides us with an opportunity to grow our business by providing innovative solutions to address societal, economic and environmental challenges in the markets in which we operate.
SEE requires us to take a long-term view, and to assess the positive and negative impacts of every business decision not just for the group, but for the communities in which we operate. It is central to the commercial strategies of our business units and legal entities. It shapes how we do business, how we generate our income, and the products and services that we offer our clients. It requires a conscious and deliberate approach to generating a net positive impact. When assessing return on investment and credit risk, for example, we need to simultaneously consider factors such as number of jobs created, number of people benefitting from improved access to public services, or greenhouse gas emissions avoided, for example.
We are committed to tracking, assessing and reporting on our SEE impacts, both positive and negative. We’ve formalised this commitment through the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, to which we became a founding signatory in September 2019.
CE, Standard Bank Africa Regions
Standard Bank is proud to be a founding signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. More than 100 banks from five continents launched the Principles at the annual UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.
It was a particularly significant moment for us, given our role as part of the core team responsible for developing the Principles, alongside 27 other banks, from all over the world, spanning developed and developing economies. As Africa’s largest financial services group, with an explicit commitment to providing the diverse range of financial services and products required to drive sustainable and job-creating economic growth across the Africa, we recognised at the outset the value and critical importance of this initiative, and its alignment with our own efforts to redefine what it means to be a sustainable business.
UN Principles for Responsible Banking set the global benchmark for what it means to be a responsible bank. They’re a firm recognition that banks’ indicators of impact and success should be much broader than their financial results.
As a founding signatory, we commit to aligning our business strategy with the objectives and targets set out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, and relevant national and regional frameworks – working responsibly with our clients and customers to create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
We commit to developing a far clearer understanding of the scope and scale of our impacts on society, economic growth and the environment; and to working proactively to ensure that we maximise the positive impacts of our business activities, while minimising our negative impacts. We also commit to consulting, engaging and partnering with our stakeholders, recognising that the societal goals we aim to achieve require cooperation and collaboration across sectors and geographies. Read more about our progress here. We welcome your feedback.