Standard Bank Offshore Group has released its first ‘Report to Society’. This important milestone outlines the progress, and future intentions the organisation has to positively impact the societies, economies, and environments in Jersey, Isle of Man and across Africa.
The report identifies what the organisation has achieved over the last few years and tells the story of its progress across four impact areas; climate change and sustainable finance; job creation and enterprise growth; education; and health.
The Group has implemented innovative methods to address Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) challenges, this includes partnering with specialists for expert guidance, mobilising Corporate Social Investment funds and engaging its 450-person workforce through employee led action groups targeting the key impact areas.
In 2021, the Group engaged with sustainability experts, ClimatePartner UK, to calculate its Corporate Carbon Footprint (before the impact of Covid-19) and to form a group-wide climate action strategy, with the goal to become a net-zero organisation by the end of 2030. As a first step in this journey, Standard Bank Jersey reached certified Carbon Neutral status, offsetting with projects aligned to its purpose, Africa.
To improve diversity and inclusion practices, the bank signed up to DIFERA; the Channel Island’s first diversity and inclusion employer accreditation scheme and in 2021 Standard Bank Jersey became the first bank in the British Isles to be awarded a 4-star DIFERA rating. It has since been awarded the Accès Accreditation kitemark for their office accessibility audit.
In 2020, Standard Bank Jersey established the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF), an initiative formed alongside the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and its partners. The AWIF aims to address the significant under-representation of women in the fields of finance and investment in Africa, securing donations from international donors.
Standard Bank Jersey has also made significant inroads in respect of its sustainable finance goals, including launching a discretionary managed Responsible Portfolio proposition. The multi-asset portfolio only invests in companies that promote environmental and societal good, while avoiding industries that cause harm. Current thematic exposures include renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure while future earmarked thematic exposures include water and waste, and economic inclusion.
Jersey employees have also committed to several fundraising and volunteering initiatives including a hedgerow maintenance project, where staff carried out weeding and maintenance of 500 metres of hedgerow allowing wildlife to navigate the Island safely. In 2021 the Group organised a corporate entry for the Send a Cow Relay for Hope, a virtual relay fundraising event to provide life-saving hygiene training to families in rural Africa. Employees from Jersey, the Isle of Man and South Africa collectively ran, walked, or cycled 5,400 miles, raising over £14,000.
All employees are gifted two volunteering days each year to support local charity. Other volunteering endeavours have included supporting learning and development projects with local schools.
Charles Molteno, CEO of Standard Bank Jersey said: ‘At Standard Bank Jersey we are committed to doing the right business, in the right way and in line with the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, of which our Group are a founding signatory. Our indicators of impact and success are far broader than our financial results, which is why we wanted to ensure that social, economic, and environmental areas had the same level of importance and focus as all our value drivers, which include financial outcome, client focus, operational excellence, risk and conduct and employee engagement.
‘As a multi-jurisdictional organisation it is important that we are fully transparent with our employees, industry, peers and the wider communities in which we operate – and the Report to Society was commissioned to demonstrate our work to date. It is vitally important that our employees are aware that their work is contributing positively to society, and we hope this first of its kind report captures this.’
For further information on Standard Bank Offshore Group’s SEE work and to read the Report to Society, visit the link here.