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Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement is integral to our sustainability strategy and ensures that we address current and emerging risks and opportunities in the markets in which we operate. It helps us to clarify priorities and develop policies. We also gain insights on how external stakeholders perceive our performance on sustainability issues.

Stakeholder engagement 2009

Our key stakeholders include employees, customers, investors, community, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry and sector bodies, suppliers, regulators and governments. We used a variety of approaches, including focus groups, themed discussions and one on one meetings, to engage with our stakeholders during the year, as well as surveys on customer loyalty and employee engagement to understand and address the issues that are material to our long term success.

Our economic research team also published research on critical sustainability issues, namely water stress and food security, that we shared with our key stakeholders.

An outline of the different ways in which we engaged key stakeholders during the year follows.

Stakeholder Engagement approach
  • Annual employee engagement survey, Q12
  • Social networking site on environment projects - Greenstorming
  • Monthly employee email newsletter on activity on sustainability from across the markets
  • Quarterly e-newsletter from World Wildlife Fund, 'PLANETDigMag', updating employees on good practice in protecting the environment
  • Employee training on Living with HIV
  • Employee volunteering
Clients and customers
  • Annual customer loyalty survey
  • Monthly customer satisfaction surveys
  • Customer complaints tracking and root cause analysis
  • One on one meetings
  • Round tables
  • Focus groups
  • Roadshows
  • Social networking and engagement, including the launch of an online educational programmes about Living with HIV -
  • HIV education available - face to face, eLearning and webLearning, available in more than 10 different languages
  • Collaboration with multilateral agencies and key NGO partners to deliver community investment programmes
  • Education of clients and customers
  • Conferences
  • Employee volunteering
  • One on one meetings
  • Round tables on themes
  • Participation in NGO meetings, for example. NGO Private Sector
Industry bodies
  • Meetings
  • Advisory panel participation
  • Conferences
  • One on one meetings
  • Regular written communication
  • Active implementation of regulatory requirements and involvement in regulatory oversight processes
  • One on one meetings
  • Conferences and speaking engagements
  • Regular written communication

We also respond directly through questionnaires from analysts and from our feedback email on our website:

Feedback from stakeholders on our approach to sustainability

Stakeholder feedback  How we have responded
Demonstrate how being a well run, successful bank contributes to the sustainable growth of the markets in which we operate.   In 2010, we will conduct a social and economic impacts study of our operations in two strategically important markets in Asia and Africa. We will also study the impact of our Seeing is Believing programme.
Further outline how sustainability is embedded through our governance structure.   Refer to the governance section for more information.
Highlight our contribution to external thought leadership and global debates, e.g. World Economic Forum, Corporate Leaders Group.   See the section on our participation in Industry Organisations.

Key stakeholder groups

a) Investors

Our core objective in building a sustainable business is to create long-term shareholder value. There is a growing consensus among investors that robust management of environmental, social and governance issues is a proxy for sound management and sustained business competitiveness. Consequently, sustainable investment is rising; the signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) currently represent assets under management totalling $21 trillion. With an expected continued increase of sustainable investment, the focus on integrating environmental, social and governance issues into financial investment decisions is expected to increase.

To raise awareness of our sustainability strategy and respond to input on material issues from our investors, we have established relationships with the leading socially responsible investors (SRI) funds and researchers in the United Kingdom, France, USA, Hong Kong, Italy and Norway.

To further strengthen and expand these relationships, Group Sustainability and Investor Relations conducted an SRI roadshow in Paris in November. We demonstrated our integrated approach to managing short, medium and long term risks and how we turn them into opportunities. Subsequently, 75 per cent of the 14 SRI firms we met had a more positive outlook on our sustainability performance and 50 per cent viewed us as leaders in sustainability.

There is a growing interest in sustainable investment in Asia, prompted by government economic stimulus packages to facilitate a transition to low carbon economies. We hosted the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASRiA) forums in Hong Kong on renewable energy finance.

We receive favourable ratings from SRIs and for the second year running were included in the GS SUSTAIN, a framework designed by Goldman Sachs to identify those companies best placed to sustain competitive advantage, superior returns on capital and equity market outperformance, relative to industry peers over three to five years. We are also listed on the FTSE4GOOD index.


b) Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

We proactively engage with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to identify emerging socio-economic, governance and environmental issues and to tap into their expertise in the formulation of our sustainability strategy and policies. In January we held two focus groups and three one on one meetings with NGOs to solicit feedback regarding our sector and issue position papers. We continue to incorporate their insights into our evolving sustainable business practice.

Given the economic environment this year and the potential impact it could have on the development agenda in Africa, in March we hosted a briefing for 24 NGOs, and development organisations, which operate in Africa, in conjunction with our Group Research team. This led to an increased awareness of economic issues, stimulating debate and further deepening our relationships with our development organisation clients.

c) Industry Organisations

In 2009 we participated in a number of industry forums and contributed to global debates covering the wider sustainability agenda. These included:

  • Chairing the Financial Services Governors' Community at the World Economic Forum
  • Providing input to international regulators on the response to the economic crisis, including submissions to the Walker and Lord Turner review
  • Chairing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative
  • Serving as a founding member of the Climate Principles
  • Participating in an International Finance Corporation (IFC) advisory panel on gender reporting, culminating in a resource guide
  • Hosting two investor forums on behalf of the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (ASrIA) in Hong Kong

d) Community engagement

We continue to engage with the communities in which we operate and run programmes at a global, regional and country level. Our three global programmes are Seeing is Believing, Living with HIV and Goal. Nets for Life is our Africa regional programme.

Seeing is Believing, which began in 2003, has benefited 8.3 million lives. We have contributed to 1.5 million cataract operations, treated 3.8 million people for river blindness and vitamin A deficiency, and funded more than 600,000 refractions and other eye care treatments, with the remaining beneficiaries receiving screening, basic treatment and health education.

Living with HIV programme has more than 1,150 HIV Champions in 50 countries, who have all been retrained over the past two years. Working with local communities, our HIV Champions delivered face to face education sessions to 630,000 people in 2008 and 2009. This year we also created an online HIV and AIDS education website in 2009 -

Goal, our women's empowerment programme, impacted the lives of more than 1,600 girls in India with schemes in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. We are expanding the scheme further in 2010.

Nets for Life is our Africa regional programme to prevent malaria. We committed $5 million in October 2008 to distribute a further five million insecticide treated bed nets by 2013. Since the programme launched, 1.7 million nets have been distributed and over 3 million people educated on how to use them.

Each of our country operations also create individual programmes to engage with their local communities.

e) Clients and customers

We believe that being client-centric and customer-focused we will deepen our relationships with our customers and clients to deliver sustainable financial performance. In both Consumer and Wholesale Banking we have expanded our product offering to meet the needs of customers and clients. We have also strengthened our complaints handling processes.

Future focus

In 2010, we will continue embed our sustainability approach by using core products and services to deliver sustainable growth and to communicate the impact that we as a Bank have on the real economy, society and the environment.

Report tools

Annual Report and Accounts 2009