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Table of Contents
1. Statement by the WSBI-ESBG Managing Director
2. WSBI–ESBG initiatives in support of the United Nations Global Compact
3. Illustrative Case Studies from WSBI-ESBG Member Banks
The members of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) enjoy a long history of socially responsible banking. They have a strong commitment to sustainable development and address their corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an integral part of their business.
WSBI-ESBG falls under the Global Compact’s category of a business association and as such respects the Global Compact’s corporate sustainability and value system based on a principled approach to doing business in respect of the four main headings of Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti- corruption. Given the nature and scope of its activities, WSBI-ESBG focuses on the Global Compact principles, according to WSBI-ESBG principles of responsible finance. The latter are summarised in the recently updated ESBG Charter for Responsible Business and WSBI-ESBG High level commitments and actions related to inclusive finance, such as WSBI contribution to the Universal Financial Access 2020 goal.
It is my pleasure to herewith state once more that WSBI-ESBG and its members continue to fully support the Global Compact and its 10 Principles. With the present communication, we express our continuous commitment to support and advance the 10 principles within our sphere of influence by making this clear statement of engagement to Global Compact, stakeholders and the public at large. Moreover, it should be acknowledged that, by promoting the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact, WSBI-ESBG members already deliver a powerful contribution to meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their 169 targets, adopted along the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
Aligning our objectives with those of the Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals is the only way to address pressing global challenges and contribute to fairer and more inclusive societies.
Chris De Noose
Managing Director, WSBI- ESBG
GLOBAL COMPACT 10 PRINCIPLES
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.Labour
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right
to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.Environment
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
2. WSBI–ESBG Activities in support of the United Nations Global Compact
The commitment of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and the European Savings
and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) to the United Nations Global Compact is mainly based on the
principles of responsible finance as summarized in the WSBI-ESBG Charter for Responsible Business,
renewed in 2017. The purpose of this Charter is to promote a responsible approach to business
throughout the WSBI-ESBG membership. The principles of the Charter are embedded in the four
main headings of the ten principles of the Global Compact initiative to a large extent, as outlined
Human Rights: In effect, the respect of the Global Compact Human Rights principle within WSBI-ESBG’s
responsible approach to business is encapsulated in a number of the Charter provisions under
the global headings of:
“Making a Responsible Contribution to the Community”: this is part of the DNA of WSBI-ESBG
member banks and includes such activities as linking their business objectives and success
to the needs of the local communities and society in which they operate, driving local economic
dynamism by financing economic development projects, including small and micro projects aimed
at creating jobs and reducing social exclusion, supporting local civic commitment and contributing
to social welfare through donations and community partnership programmes in such fields as
culture, research and development, education, social welfare and the preservation of natural and
historical heritage. By way of example, in Europe ESBG members have €500 billion in SME loans
on their books, equal to roughly a third of the market. Their loan-to-asset ratio is at 67%, showing
how they convert deposits into loans. Their volume in Europe of social housing loan activity in
2015 was €413 billion and the amount spend on philanthropic activities in 2015 was more than
“Fair and clear relations with customers”: provisions include clear and honest information on
products and services and terms and conditions of use, provision of advice that meets the needs
of customers and are appropriate to their personal circumstances and risk profile, the consideration
of all cases of financial difficulty sympathetically, information and communication with customers
and dealing with customer complaints quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, WSBI-ESBG promotes initiatives which have a positive impact on Human Rights and
which are aimed at enhancing inclusive finance, eradicating poverty and combatting social exclusion.
In addition, WSBI-ESBG promotes a deeper understanding of how to integrate due diligence in core
business processes regarding potential human rights risks for retail and private banking as identified
by authoritative international guidance, such as the United Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights. WSBI-ESBG equally carries out its activities following applicable regulation and ethical standards,
such as the Global Compact.
Labour: The respect of the Global Compact Labour principle within WSBI-ESBG’s responsible approach
to business is, amongst other, encapsulated under the Charter principle of “Responsible employers”.
This incorporates provisions concerning equal opportunities, high-quality jobs, good working
conditions and good work-life balance for employees, the promotion of training and lifelong learning
opportunities, as well as the promotion of a corporate culture of staff identification with the employer
and a strong value orientation of the responsible role of the WSBI- ESBG savings and retail
bank members in the region.
At European level, ESBG continues to play an active role in the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee
of the Banking Sector, set up under the European Union’s social policy and industrial relations at
sectoral level. The Social Dialogue in the banking sector covers financial service activities other than
insurance and pension funds. The sector employs around 4.2 million people in the European Union.
The objective is to maintain a constructive dialogue between the European trade union and employer
organisations. The Committee gives opinions on the European Commission’s initiatives in the field
of social policy and on the evolution of European policy having repercussions in the banking sector.
It also promotes and develops the social dialogue in the banking sector in order to contribute to the
development of employment and competitiveness and to the improvement of the living and working
conditions of employees in this sector. The current major challenges are the changing legislative framework
as a result of the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis, the impact of regulation and
skills needs. The Committee recently issued high level recommendations on CSR and Life Long Learning
and is currently focusing on telework and the digitalization trend within the sector.
Environment: The environmental dimension has put sustainable finance at the heart of global policy
discussions. The key drivers in the environmental area are the necessary change from a fossil fuel
based energy production to energy from renewable sources to overcome the climate change and the
more efficient use of all kinds of resources due to the rapid depletion of raw materials (circular economy)
to become more sustainable. Together, in recent years these have brought about two important
challenges: A) to take into account the new risks linked to climate change; B) to fight against global
warming, by fully participating in the transition to a low-carbon economy which implies promoting
the development of “green finance” and supporting “green economy”, keeping in mind that sustainable
finance goes much beyond low-carbon emissions.
Consequently the WSBI-ESBG Charter for responsible business on environment- friendly business
has become now more explicit, reflecting the increasing work and commitment from WSBI-ESBG
member institutions to adapt to global developments, market realities and challenges. Thus, WSBIESBG
member banks recognise that the environmental challenge and climate change are some of the
main collective hazards ever experienced worldwide. As such, they contribute to the mitigation of
climate change. They acknowledge risks and opportunities and try to adapt accordingly. They look
into the impact of their business on the environment, both in terms of own operations and indirectly
in terms of customers and suppliers. They also promote projects in energy efficiency, green transport
and green energy, mainly via the loan business. WSBI-ESBG members also work towards offering
products and services that respect social, environmental and sustainable development criteria.
Both at Global and European level WSBI-ESBG actively contributes to shape the debate on sustainable
finance. In this respect, WSBI has become a supporting institution of the UNEP Finance Initiative.
At European level, ESBG has taken part in initiatives from the European Commission to boost
energy efficiency investments, and particularly to the De-risking Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP),
set up under the auspices of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), an expert
group set up by the European Commission and UNEP FI.
Anti-corruption: WSBI- ESBG and its members continue to address anti-corruption by advocating
strong forms of corporate governance within their own organisations and taking this as a strong criterion
in due diligence and risk assessments on client relationships. Furthermore, member banks integrate
the digital dimension in all their processes and comply, following the FATF recommendations
on anti-money laundering, with national, regional or international laws governing anti-money laundering
and combating the financing of terrorism and have strong “know-your–customer” (KYC) procedures
The following are some examples of how WSBI-ESBG members undertake action following and
supporting the principles of the Global Compact.
WSBI is a member of the Coalition of Partners that support the World Bank Group’s Universal Financial
Access (UFA) 2020 Goal. At its meeting in Washington, D.C., on 23 September 2015, the
WSBI General Assembly announced a new UFA 2020 numerical commitment that aims to reach 1.7
billion clients and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020, based on the current
membership. This pledge reinforces WSBI’s continued engagement with its ‘Account for Everyone’
goal launched by the trade body in 2012, which it re-endorsed in 2015 at the World Bank spring
meetings. The UFA commitment also forms and integral part of the Washington Declaration issued
the day after during the 2015 WSBI World Congress. WSBI and the World Bank Group via a Memorandum of Understanding aim to identify and thereafter facilitate or implement joint actions involving
WSBI member banks in support of the 2020 goal. Actions taken jointly by the two parties are intended
to address issues at both global and country level, including needed legal or regulatory reforms, financial
technology investments, stakeholder dialogues, advisory services, innovation support for incubator
work, as well as field and market fit testing. Initial priority will go to WSBI members who represent
17 of the 25 countries the World Bank has identified as ‘focus countries’, containing 70 per cent
world’s unbanked. WSBI members in other countries could be added by mutual agreement.
WSBI member savings and retail banks currently continue to make progress towards their Universal
Financial Access 2020 pledge, newly updated data released by WSBI shows. Latest available data compiled
by the Brussels-based institute point to 136 million new clients as of 31 December 2016 from
the UFA commitment starting point set at year-end 2014. WSBI members, who are present in some
80 countries worldwide, had 1.57 billion clients as of year-end 2016. Relatedly, the number of new
transaction accounts provided by WSBI through 2016, stood at 2.35 billion, up 236 million based on
the end-of-2014 benchmark.
Centenary Bank, under the so-called “Supawoman Club program” and in partnership with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), rolled out a financial literacy campaign among women to improve their levels of income and livelihoods. The “Cente Supawoman Club” program is one of the ways to address the gender imbalance in access to financial services, by specifically targeting women either as individuals or in groups. The campaign also entails business counselling to women, including book keeping principles and customer care. The Cente Supawoman Club was unveiled by Centenary Bank in 2015 to specifically address the needs of women that aspire to be prosperous. As part of the campaign activities, Centenary Bank will offer market, vendor, and classroom training, networking meetings, exposure visits, and mentorship support among others. At least 200 women were reached at Nakawa Market during the maiden financial literacy campaign. The program will cover other major markets including St. Balikudembe (Oiwino), Nateete and Nakasero for Kampala as well as several upcountry markets. The Bank is working with
over 5000 women under our Supawoman Club, 50% of whom are in groups.
About Cente Supawoman Club: The program allows for women to enjoy a variety of both financial
and non-financial services. These include; a special savings account designed specifically for women
who desire to save as individuals or groups, financial literacy training, discounted health and legal
insurance, mentorship and networking opportunities, and easy access to credit amongst others. The
main goal of the program is to empower women to be financially literate with the aim of improving
their business operations and livelihoods, as well as their bankable capacities. It targets business
women under the micro and small enterprise segment who aspire to grow their business. They must
be between the age of 21 – 65 years of age in urban and peri-urban setting.
About PSFU: Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is Uganda’s apex body for the private sector.
It is made up of over 190 business associations, corporate bodies and the major public sector agencies
that support private sector growth. Since its founding in 1995, PSFU has served as a focal point for
private sector advocacy as well as capacity building and continues to sustain a positive policy dialogue
with the Government on behalf of the private sector.
At least 200 youths across the country received financial literacy training from Centenary Bank in
partnership with the International Labour Organization under the Youth Entrepreneurship Facility
(YEF). The youths received experiential and hands-on training in costing, budgeting, managing businesses,
book keeping, and marketing, among other skills, to enable them turn their energy and ideas
into business opportunities with the ultimate goal of increasing their income and creating work for
themselves and others. The youths operate a variety of businesses including dairy processing, salons,
boutiques, furniture shops, boda-bodas, retail shops and mobile money kiosks. Some of the groups
that benefited from the training include; Youth after School Initiative (Kawempe), Omizu Youth
Group (Arua), Yot Kom Kwo Youth and Kacel Watweno Village Saving group – all from Arua. Others
were from Nebbi, Lira and Mbale. Centenary Bank runs this programme in collaboration with ILO
to reach out to youths countrywide, as the youth segment is one of Centenary Bank’s focus areas. By
providing skills to targeted youth groups, the programme creates a ripple effect where the youths
cascade the knowledge and skills gained to their colleagues in their various fields across the country.
The initiative is part of Centenary Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility financial literacy programme
that is reaching out to thousands of people through partnerships countrywide. The programme, which
began in 2012, has trained over 1,000 youth entrepreneurs countrywide so far in districts like, Nebbi,
Mbale, Soroti, Kiboga, Gulu, Kasese, Lira, Mbarara, Arua, Tororo, Mubende, Kabale, Masaka and
Postal Savings Bank of China attaches great importance to green credit business, and therefore actively
implements the regulatory requirements, including Guidance Opinions on Building of a Green Finance
System and Green Credit Guidelines. PSBC strictly implements the environment standards and norms, including administrative permissions for environmental protection and regulations on environmental
safety, and firmly prohibits marketing, admission and acceptance of the customers and
businesses out of compliance with industry policies and standard requirements on energy consumption,
environmental protection, quality and safety, etc. The Bank conducts classified management and
dynamically evaluates the environmental and social risks of enterprises and projects, insisting on “onevote
veto system for environmental protection” and implementing “zero tolerance” policies for enterprises
and projects failing to meet the environmental protection requirements.
In 2016, the Bank has kept enhancing the building of green credit policies and systems and has defined
the key directions and areas of green credit development. While further intensifying efforts for supporting
environment-friendly industries and projects, the Bank strengthened the management and
control over credit projects for high environmental risk industries and strictly restricted credit extension
to borrowers and loan projects in industries with “high pollution, high energy consumption and
over-capacity”. As at the end of 2016, the balance of green credit (mainly including projects in green
transport, renewable and clean energy, and energy conservation and environmental protection) of the
Bank amounted to RMB75,231 million. In 2016, Postal Savings Bank of China won multiple honours
including “Excellent Green Finance Brand”, “Annual Outstanding Inclusive Financial Bank” and
“Outstanding Social Responsibility Practice Enterprise in 2016”.
APAP TODOS is the first in kind local initiative to financially include disabled people in Dominican
Republic. Social and financial inclusion is part of APAP's vision and values. This creates in the institution
the commitment to design inclusive solutions. The bank promotes the equality and non-discrimination
policy that seeks to create a culture of inclusion and equality in the company. Whilst banking
hearing impaired clients and recruiting employees with disabilities, APAP is has major position as
an inclusive financial institution, becoming the first and only in the sector. The programme is called
APAP TODOS. Its main objective is banking disabilities people, with focus in hearing impaired in a
first stage. The programme makes it the first and only bank in the country to offer customer service
in sign language. The initiative seeks to achieve financial inclusion, as well as accessibility to clients
with different physical-motor disabilities. Financial education to people with these conditions, is also
one of the components of APAP TODOS, as well as labour inclusion. In the first 8 months of execution
in 2015, the program had trained in sign language the personnel of 50% of APAP´s branches
in an area where the largest population of deaf people in the country is concentrated. Financial education
is also existing in sign language and offered as part of APAP TODOS through the bank’s CSR
Due to the limitation of language, this population was excluded from the information given to them
in these workshops. To circumvent this barrier, APAP developed strategic alliances with other institutions
to make this social and financial inclusion program possible in such a short time. Among the
allies APAP partners with universities, schools and associations that work for people with disabilities.
Erste Group launched in October 2016 the “Step-by-step” Social Banking programme, aiming to
address directly the needs of traditionally unbanked groups of the societies in Central and Eastern
Europe (CEE) and Austria. Erste’s Social Banking programme fosters the financial inclusion of low income
individuals, first-time entrepreneurs and social organisations, offering them fair access to basic
financial products, sound money advice and ongoing tailored business mentoring, so that these people
can gain the financial confidence needed to improve their lives. The rollout of this Social Banking
programme across all seven core markets of Erste will be completed by 2019.
Over the past two decades, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe have made very significant
progress in their convergence with Western Europe. However, studies suggest that some 16 million
persons in the countries in which Erste Group is present (Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania,
Hungary, Croatia and Serbia) are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; this corresponds to
around 30% of the adult population in the region. Three out of four persons in this group have been
unable to build sufficient savings to meet unexpected expenses and one in five cannot afford to adequately
heat their homes. In addition, seven out of ten low income people in the region have seen
their income levels remain flat or decrease over the course of the past decade.
The Step-by-step programme will be rolled out through Erste Group’s network of local banks and in
partnership with other organisations and NGOs. It also builds on individual programmes that the
Group’s subsidiaries in the CEE region have already launched and works together with existing local
Social Banking projects, such as Austria’s Zweite Sparkasse (founded 2006) and Romania’s good.bee
Credit (2009), with the target of creating a unique infrastructure for financial inclusion across the
region. As part of the Social Banking programme, Erste Group’s banks will also cooperate with the
ERSTE Foundation and local partners to provide clients with appropriate financial literacy, money
advice, business training, workshops and mentoring.
The Board of Directors of CaixaBank, S.A. approved a Human Rights policy in May 2017 in order to
highlight the entity's commitment to human rights, in accordance with the highest international standards.
CaixaBank considers respect for human rights to be an integral part of its values and the minimum
standard for legitimately carrying out its business activities. It also believes that the protection
of human rights rests mainly with governments and that companies have a responsibility to promote
and respect them in the course of their operations. Under this premise, in accordance with its Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, CaixaBank operates within a culture of respect towards human rights,
and expects its employees as well as collaborators, partners and other parties directly related to its
operations, products and services to do the same.
The CaixaBank Human Rights policy is translated into commitments and principles of conduct regarding
authoritative human rights guidance and texts, within their responsibility as providers of financial
services and as part of the community. These commitments and principles of conduct are also
found within their responsibility to employees and providers.
As a provider of financial services, Caixabank undertakes to use any means within its reach to, amongst
other goals, develop new products and financial services in a manner consistent with their aspirations
towards human rights. CaixaBank also commits to integrating social or environmental risks into decision-making
processes, and avoid financing or investing in those companies related to human rights
controversies, particularly via the adherence to the Equator Principles and to the UN Principles for
Moreover, CaixaBank considers the action in terms of human rights when initiating, renewing, expanding
or terminating business relationships with third parties. In this regard, it undertakes to dedicate
the necessary resources to effectively implement the policy, including actively communicating it
to the whole workforce, trading partners and other relevant parties.
The Social Economy context in Portugal can be summarized as follows: funding needs of 750 €millions,
more than 55.000 Socially Purposed Organisations (SPOs) and a potential funding available of
1250€ million. Although there is potential for funding, SPOs remain without access to it. The causes
for this are manifold, both for the demand and supply sides. Causes regarding the demand side are:
lack of information, poor quality applications and partnerships, lack of medium and long term sustainability
strategies, and lack of coincidence between the objectives of the funder and the SPOs.
Causes regarding the supply side are: lack of transparency in calls for proposals, lack of articulation
and complementarity between funders, lack of feedback about the selection process, lack of clarity
regarding the application of documents, and the need for more simplified and quick application processes.
GEOfundos started to address the need to build capacity amongst SPOs and social entrepreneurs,
by cutting down the lack of and dispersion of information on funding opportunities. GEOfundos
comes as the solution, as it aims at providing increased ability to obtain effective and efficient
funding, which will lead to the increased financial sustainability of SPOs and social entrepreneurs.
GEOfundos started as a partnership between several organisations, amongst which the Associação
Mutualista Montepio. The GEOFundos platform is the only platform in Portugal that has all national
and international funding opportunities for SPOs and entrepreneurs. It provides a number of personalized
services that include warning systems. These are: customized information by region, activity,
amount and target groups. The platform is a learning space with a knowledge centre with videos,
documents, articles, etc…Its expert centre provides consultancy and training services for capacity
building. Support is also offered for doubts and questions.
The platform is addressed to all SPOs and social entrepreneurs, NGOs, associations, charities, mutuals,
cooperatives and foundations who wish to apply for national and international funding/investment,
regarding the areas of environment, education and training, poverty, social innovation, arts and culture, health and humanitarian support. GEOfundos provides several advantages to the social economy.
Firstly, it grants SPOs more time, as it is easier for them to access funding, thus dedicating more
time to their mission. Secondly, it increases SPOs success in applications, thanks to its support services.
GEOfundos has been operating since May 2017. Between May 2016 and August 2017 there
have been a total of 554 opportunities available in the platform, with a total number of 201 identified
funders (133 international and 68 national). The preliminary impact outcomes of this 6 month period
63% of the inquired subscribers applied for funding opportunities received through GEOfundos
26% of these were successful applications
These entities report that 76% of their funding opportunities were found through GEOfundos
3,6 million €is the minimum amount captured by SPOs and Social Entrepreneurs that can be
attributed to GEOfundos
Berlin Hyp's “Green Pfandbrief” is used for real estate financing that fulfils clearly-defined sustainability
standards. Berlin Hyp, a member institution of the German Savings Banks Finance Group
(DSGV), is committed to sustainable action. This means that in addition to economic considerations,
ecological and social aspects are also taken into account, for example. The bank has observed a rise in
loan demand for 'green' real estate for some years now: buildings constructed in accordance with
sustainability standards and distinguished by above-average energy efficiency. Since April 2015, institutional
investors have had the opportunity for green and sustainable investments. As a mortgage
covered bond, the Green Pfandbrief fulfils all legal requirements. At the same time, the covered bond
complies with the Green Bond Principles promulgated by the International Capital Market Association
(ICMA). There are clearly-defined requirements concerning the appropriation of the issue proceeds.
The bank's operating reporting system is particularly transparent. Moreover, an independent
sustainability rating agency has confirmed the bond's ecological added value: oekom research AG has
issued a positive overall assessment of the Green Pfandbrief. According to oekom, it complies with
Green Bond Principles; the agency assigned a “good” classification to the bond's sustainability quality,
and rated the issuer's sustainability performance as “best in class”.
The Green Pfandbrief is collateralised by strictly applying sustainability criteria. To this end, Berlin
Hyp's cover assets pool will comprise loans extended for the purchase, construction or renovation of
green buildings (certified as such by third parties) throughout the term of the Green Pfandbrief. Berlin
Hyp has done its calculations close to one year after placing the Green Pfandbrief: the bank wanted
to know how much in the way of damaging carbon dioxide emissions were saved through the refinanced
loans. The result: depending on which basis for calculation is used, for every million euros
of Green Pfandbrief nominal value, a minimum of 6.9 tonnes of CO2 are being saved each year. For
Berlin Hyp, the launch of its Green Pfandbrief was the starting point of a comprehensive Green Bond
programme. The Bank has more than doubled its portfolio of green loans since then, and launched
the first green senior unsecured bond in the autumn of 2016. This makes Berlin Hyp the first issuer
to have placed green bonds in more than one asset class.
In July 2017 Bankia launched “Bankia Responde”, a new online transparency platform, which is intended
to provide answers and information to the public at large on the management of the bank.
Anybody (clients and non-clients) wishing to obtain information about institutional aspects related to
the management of the bank, can access the platform and ask questions. This initiative is a further
step in Bankia’s transparency policy towards its stakeholders. The bank commits to providing an answer
within three days to all pertinent questions related to institutional aspects of the management of
the company. The transparency platform does not deal with questions related to products, agency
opening hours, or other related questions of a commercial nature, as these can be addressed by customer
Some relevant questions that have already been addressed are: what is the status quo of the BankiaBMN
Bank merger? When will Bankia be privatised? How much public money has the entity already
given back? What procedure has been followed to give back the “interest floor clauses”? “Bankia
responde” will also provide a pool of knowledge with the collected responses, which will offer online
information to those who wish to remain informed about major institutional matters concerning the
bank. The platform will be continuously updated with new questions from users and answers from
the entity, organised chronologically and by themes.
Bankia perceives the platform as an opportunity to improve transparency, allowing it to explain to the
public at large what the entity does, and why it is useful for society and clients. According to Bankia
CEO, Mr. Goirigolzarri, the main condition for the sustainability of a project relies in society’s support
for that project. The “Bankia Responde” platform has been launched in line with a new phase for the
bank, focused on sound and profitable growth.
Public education for children and youth and cooperation with schools has always been important to
Swedbank and the savings banks. In 2011 the Swedish national curriculum was revised and since then
private economy is a part of social science in Swedish upper secondary school. This was also the
starting point for Swedbank and the savings banks to agree on a nationwide educational offering to
schools with the intention of contributing with expertise and experience in this field. The educational
initiative called “Young Economy” has since then been one of the bank’s most prioritized societal
engagements for children and youth.
Through “Young Economy” Swedbank and the savings banks offer schools lectures about private
economy for free. The lecture is usually one hour and aims at wakening the interest and understanding
for how the pupils can build a sound and sustainable private economy. All the material for the presentations
is created by the Swedbank head office and is updated continuously. The current material was
launched in the autumn of 2016. The content is built around three young characters and consists of
PowerPoint slides that are mixed with movie clips and interaction with the pupils. Areas that are
addressed are for example the impact of minor expenses, payday loans, moving from home, insurances and basic knowledge about the labor market. There is no advertising about the bank or banking products
in the lecture.
Swedbank and the savings bank have branch offices all over Sweden and in total there are about 250
employees engaged in “Young Economy”. These “Young Economy”-ambassadors are usually employed
as advisors in branch offices and visit local schools to give lectures a few times per year. Six
people work full time with “Young Economy” and their task is, besides lecturing, to support and
educate other ambassadors. In 2016 48 000 pupils attended the “Young Economy”-lectures. In Sweden
there are about 100 000 pupils in each grade. Swedbank’s public affairs department is responsible
for providing the ambassadors with supporting material as well as internal and external communication
about “Young Economy”, for example through the website and in social media. Teachers can
book lectures via www.swedbank.se/ungekonomi or through direct contact with the local branch office
or the “Young Economy”-ambassadors. Since 2015 there is an annual network meeting when all
“Young Economy”-ambassadors are invited to a full day at the head office for inspiration, education
and sharing of experiences. The last meeting was on September 6, 2017 and among the speakers was
Anna Ekström, Sweden’s minister for upper secondary school and adult education and training.
In 2016, BPCE carried out a far-reaching analysis to identify green growth segments and to measure
their potential in terms of the economy, employment, environmental gains and net income generation.
Its analysis aimed to better understand the expectations of players in these segments and their growth
models, to allow the Group to build relevant solutions. Groupe BPCE has a longstanding presence in
several of these segments, and it wants to help them achieve balanced growth in support of employment
and local economies. The Group’s stakeholders were consulted via: • two customer surveys –
one quantitative and one qualitative; • interviews with internal experts. The information gathered allowed
the Group to characterize the interest and requirements of current and future users of the new
goods and services being produced in the green growth segment. In the nine green growth segments
that were identified, the construction and renewable energy segments are already experiencing strong
growth. Thermal regulations for new buildings and existing standards for renovation work are driving
growth in this market. However, the project sponsorship process – ranging from technical choices to
financing solutions – is too complex to be adopted on a large scale and to produce the intended impact
in terms of energy savings. Groupe BPCE has considerable experience in this area and has been developing
solutions to better support its customers in their green real estate projects for over ten years.
It is aided in this area by its membership of professional networks such as Effinergie, the Club d’Amé-
lioration de l’Habitat and the association HQE France GBC, the network of sustainable planning and
real estate professionals. The renewable energy sector is expanding once again, in particular with the
development of major wind farm and solar PV energy projects. The Banque Populaire banks and the
Caisses d’Epargne, assisted by Natixis Energeco’s expertise, are among the major financers of this
activity. The challenge now facing the sector is to allow the development of projects that are more
widespread and better connected to the local regions. One of the major changes in renewable energy
is the integration of energy management, storage and transport solutions. This nascent segment has
real potential and Groupe BPCE intends to be one of the pioneers in financing its growth. Sustainable agriculture is another fast-growing segment with strong economic and environmental potential. This
disparate sector is being driven by consumer demand, and provides the Group with a growth opportunity.
Sustainable transport and mobility solutions, recycling, the renewal of production infrastructure
and eco-innovation are other emerging segments that have attracted BPCE’s attention. Finally, the
ocean economy – blue growth – covers all ocean-related segments and their specific features: responsible
fishing, sustainable tourism, marine energy, etc. Groupe BPCE’s banks, led by Crédit Maritime,
intend to establish the conditions to foster their development along the coastline.