• 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 AND POLICIES
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • 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
Your PDF selection has been added to my report icon-close Created with Sketch.
Sustainable trade finance

Banks and corporates face a growing demand from shareholders, customers, investors and other stakeholders, for their trade finance transactions to actively support the production of goods or services in a manner that minimises adverse environmental and social impacts and promotes environmental and social benefits.

Standard Bank has been working with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Banking Commission, co-leading a working group tasked with equipping banks to encourage sustainable finance trade practices by:

  • Providing clarity to banks on the implementation of sustainability policy and standards through the development of guidelines on sustainable trade finance, with a focus on short-term trade finance. Initiatives are also underway to support a better understanding of the applicable voluntary standards, certification schemes and other approaches that can mitigate ESG risks. Educational and training programmes for trade finance professionals are being developed.
  • Promoting industry-wide consensus on a definition for sustainable trade finance. The aim is to discourage inaccurate use of the term and to prevent ‘greenwashing,’ a practice in which trade transactions are inaccurately labelled as sustainable without any means of verifying this.
  • Monitoring and driving the development of industry initiatives around environmental and social risks and finance provision.

Given that trade finance often involves more than one bank, having a common framework to guide banks is valuable. An overarching framework enables banks to consistently and accurately assess trade risk while developing appropriate responses that promote sustainable trade finance.

Standard Bank’s commitment to the ICC Banking Commission’s sustainable trade finance process dovetails with the aims of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which highlights the need for trade and investment infrastructure to connect Africa. As an African bank clear in its purpose to drive Africa’s growth, partnering with the ICC to develop standards and rules in trade, in general, and universally adopted global best practice in sustainable trade finance specifically, supports our purpose to facilitate trade and investment flows between African countries, and between African countries and global markets in a way that promotes sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Vinod Madhavan
Quote
Vinod Madhavan
HEAD, TRADE, STANDARD BANK GROUP
As a global bank linking international capital to African opportunity, Standard Bank is alive to the pressures on global multinationals and other businesses to ‘green their supply chains’ - by meeting the growing social, economic and environmental expectations of consumers, global legislation and society.
Nigel Beck
Quote
Nigel Beck
HEAD, SUSTAINABLE FINANCE, STANDARD BANK GROUP
Standard Bank’s direct involvement in assisting the ICC build an easy-to-use process and tool, defining and enabling sustainable trade finance globally, is part of our journey to embed our SEE framework into our product offering, ensuring that our lending decisions and business practices evolve in a way that produces value for clients and society at large.
UN Principles for Responsible Banking

Standard Bank is 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. The Principles set the global benchmark for what it means to be a responsible bank.

They make it clear that banks’ indicators of impact and success should be much broader than their financial results.

The group was part of the core team responsible for developing the Principles and was closely involved in the consultations and negotiations that took place in the 18 months leading up to the launch. The core team represented 28 banks, from all over the world, spanning developed and developing economies. Working closely with the UNEP FI secretariat, we consulted with a wide variety of banks across the globe, and engaged with a great many other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, banking associations, regulators and technical experts.

ALIGNMENT
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
1. Alignment: We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the SDGs, Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks.
CURRENT PROGRESS
Our strategy commits us to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth across Africa and ensuring that our business activities create net positive social, economic and environmental impacts. We have adopted social, economic and environmental (SEE) impact as one of the five value drivers against which we measure our strategic progress.
IMPACT AND TARGET SETTING
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
2. Impact and target setting: We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services. We will set and publish targets where we can have the most significant impacts.
CURRENT PROGRESS
We have identified seven SEE impact areas, informed by the SDGs and directly relevant to our core business as a provider of financial products and services. We are committed to tracking, assessing and reporting on our SEE impacts, both positive and negative. We are in the process of identifying metrics to assess and track progress.
CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
3. Clients and customer: We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
CURRENT PROGRESS
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.

Our sustainable finance business unit is responsible for partnering with our clients to develop and implement sustainable finance solutions.

Our client risk committees assess issues related to ethics and conduct in relation to new and existing client relationships.

STAKEHOLDERS
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
4. Stakeholders: We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.
CURRENT PROGRESS
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. We provide further information on how we engage our stakeholders.
GOVERNANCE AND CULTURE
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
5. Governance and culture: We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking.
CURRENT PROGRESS
The Standard Bank 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.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
6. Transparency and accountability: We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.
CURRENT PROGRESS
Our report to society provides an update on our activities under each of our SEE impact areas, while the ESG report provides an overview of the processes and governance structures we have in place to support our commitment to doing the right business, the right way. We are committed to consulting, engaging and partnering with our stakeholders, and to reporting transparently on progress.
  • ALIGNMENT
  • IMPACT AND TARGET SETTING
  • CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
  • STAKEHOLDERS
  • GOVERNANCE AND CULTURE
  • TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
1. Alignment: We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the SDGs, Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks.
CURRENT PROGRESS
Our strategy commits us to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth across Africa and ensuring that our business activities create net positive social, economic and environmental impacts. We have adopted social, economic and environmental (SEE) impact as one of the five value drivers against which we measure our strategic progress.
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
2. Impact and target setting: We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services. We will set and publish targets where we can have the most significant impacts.
CURRENT PROGRESS
We have identified seven SEE impact areas, informed by the SDGs and directly relevant to our core business as a provider of financial products and services. We are committed to tracking, assessing and reporting on our SEE impacts, both positive and negative. We are in the process of identifying metrics to assess and track progress.
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
3. Clients and customer: We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
CURRENT PROGRESS
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.

Our sustainable finance business unit is responsible for partnering with our clients to develop and implement sustainable finance solutions.

Our client risk committees assess issues related to ethics and conduct in relation to new and existing client relationships.

UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
4. Stakeholders: We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.
CURRENT PROGRESS
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. We provide further information on how we engage our stakeholders.
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
5. Governance and culture: We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking.
CURRENT PROGRESS
The Standard Bank 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.
UN PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING
6. Transparency and accountability: We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.
CURRENT PROGRESS
Our report to society provides an update on our activities under each of our SEE impact areas, while the ESG report provides an overview of the processes and governance structures we have in place to support our commitment to doing the right business, the right way. We are committed to consulting, engaging and partnering with our stakeholders, and to reporting transparently on progress.