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"As an international bank, we have a role in tackling the environmental, social and economic challenges that face many communities across our footprint in Asia, Africa and the Middle East."

John Peace Chairman

 

From the Chairman,
John Peace

We are proud to present our 2010 Sustainability Review. This is our fifth year of reporting in this way, but sustainability has been our guiding principle for more than 150 years. Our success as a financial institution depends on it.

Our strategic intent is to be the world’s best international bank, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 2010, we launched Here for good, our new brand promise. This promise encapsulates our distinctive approach to international banking and is the backbone of our sustainability agenda. Here for good has marked a step change in how others see us and how we see ourselves.

Our ability to create long-term value for our shareholders is linked intrinsically to the health and prosperity of the societies in which we operate. We believe that we can have a positive impact on economies and communities by taking the right decisions in terms of who and what we finance.

Changing trade patterns, a shift in economic power from the West to the East and unprecedented increases in demand for resources require all businesses to manage the impact of their activities and the global risk landscape to a greater extent than ever before. We are committed to doing business in markets we know intimately, offering products and services we understand fully to clients and customers with whom we have deep relationships. We are also committed to responsible conduct in all our actions.

As an international bank, we have a role in tackling the environmental, social and economic challenges that face many communities across our footprint in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We do this by helping our clients to manage risk, by providing credit, by facilitating trade and investment flows globally, by promoting sustainable finance and by investing in communities.

Trade-offs are inevitable, and not everyone will agree with the choices we make. We don’t sidestep difficult decisions, but use our judgment with great care and work proactively with our clients to ensure positive and sustainable outcomes.

In 2010 – in what continued to be a challenging economic and regulatory environment – we made significant progress in our efforts to build a sustainable business.

We increased our lending to consumers and businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, helping to fuel economic growth across our markets.

We achieved higher levels of engagement by deepening our dialogue with stakeholders, including investors, customers, non-governmental organisations, politicians, regulators and employees. We also sought to inspire others by sharing our experience and best practice.

We pursued our customer-focused strategy in order to serve our clients and customers in the right way. Again, we showed our determination to stand by them in good times and bad, helping them to achieve their ambitions.

Understanding the value we help create in economies and societies is important. In 2010, we commissioned independent research to assess our social and economic impact in Ghana and Indonesia, the first in a series of studies to help us maximise our contribution to development as part of our brand promise to be Here for good. In 2011, we will build on this work to measure the impact of the products, services and community investment that we provide in our markets.

We also remain firm in our support for the United Nations Global Compact and its 10 principles on human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. This review represents our report on the progress we have made in these areas.

We continue to set ourselves stretching new goals and to measure our progress, embedding our sustainability agenda yet more deeply into our core business processes. Sustainability is not a destination, but a journey. We strive to become better at ensuring that we provide finance responsibly and effectively; better at providing innovative solutions to meet the needs of our clients and customers; better at reducing our environmental impact; better at empowering our people to become agents of change; and better at investing in communities.

Over the coming years, we must work together with governments, regulators and other banks to secure a well-functioning financial system that encourages growth. This is vital to our success in having a positive and sustainable social and economic impact as a business.

Banking is about providing sustained support for clients and customers as well as long-term value creation more broadly in society. As we look to the future, our commitment stays firm: our aspiration to contribute positively to the communities where we live and work will not change; our core strategy – focusing on the needs of our clients and customers, on the basics of banking and on being the world’s best international bank, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East – will not change; and our determination to being Here for good will not change.

peace-signature

John Peace

Chairman

Annual Report and Accounts 2010