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Our approach and progress

As a financial institution operating in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and volatile environmental conditions, we have the opportunity to make a positive difference.

To guide our work, we have an environmental strategy focused on climate change and access to essential resources. We believe that addressing climate change and providing reliable access to energy, food and water is essential for the economic prosperity and political stability of our markets.

Our strategy is set out in our Environment and Climate Change Policy and Procedures and has three specific aims:

  • Reducing our operational impacts, including our energy and water consumption, paper use and air travel
  • Engaging with stakeholder groups including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), sustainable investors, governments and employees to encourage community developments that mitigate and adapt to climate change
  • Promoting sustainable finance by identifying risks and opportunities in environmental finance

Our Group Environment Committee (GEC) has ultimate responsibility for the execution of our strategy, ensuring that it is embedded into our daily operations. GEC consists of senior executives from all functions of Standard Chartered with support from three external experts in the areas of energy, climate change and water. Figure 1 illustrates our framework for managing our environmental policy.

environmental policy management chart

Figure 1: Our framework for environmental policy management

By including representation from key functions at Group Environment Committee level, we adopt a strategic approach in response to sustainable business opportunities and risks. Key functions of the Committee include:

  • Property, Research and Assurance (PRA)
  • Consumer Banking (CB)
  • Wholesale Banking (WB)
  • Group Technology and Operations (GTO)
  • Corporate Real Estate Services (CRES)
  • Governance (Gov)
  • Risk
  • Human Resources (HR)
  • Corporate Affairs (CA)

Our environment and climate change strategy enhances our ability to support our clients as well as communities faced with energy challenges, food price inflation, inadequate access to clean water and the consequences of climate change. We embed our strategy in staff awareness campaigns, and work on the ground through a network of Country Environment Co-ordinators (CECs), spanning more than 75 per cent of our operating countries.

Employee participation

To reach our environmental targets, we rely on the proactive efforts of our employees. The CECs drive initiatives and environmental campaigns to spread the ethos of sustainability that resonates with their local circumstances. They help to support our four strategic priorities (energy, water, food security and climate change) through various on the ground activities and campaigns to reduce resource use in Standard Chartered.

For example, the Dubai Country Environment Co-ordinator team supported energy security through their Take the Stairs campaign. For one day, staff were asked to leave the lift on the ground floor in return for a raffle ticket. All staff that took part had the chance to win AED 1,000 and recognition for their efforts to reduce energy use. Until that day, many staff were unaware of where the stairs were located and since this activity many have kept the practice up, both saving energy and improving their health, making it a huge success.

On a larger scale, countries are encouraged to participate in the United Nations’ International Days to support the environmental movement on the ground. In 2010:

  • More than 30 countries celebrated both World Environment Day and World Water Day
  • More than 20 countries celebrated Earth Hour

This highlights the commitment at the country level and the enthusiasm for change.

Protecting the environment: Case study

Take a Brake Low Carbon Action, Hong Kong

The Take a Brake (TAB) Low Carbon Action programme aims to improve the air quality in Hong Kong. Through the encouragement of a low carbon lifestyle and greener driving techniques, the programme supports all sectors of the community to become involved and reduce their environmental footprint. Launched in September 2010 and sponsored by the Standard Chartered Hong Kong 150th Anniversary Community Foundation, Take a Brake has become a showcase of Standard Chartered’s commitment to sustainability.

TAB encourages residents in Hong Kong to give their car a break for the day. It calls on drivers to leave their cars at home for at least one day each month and develop green driving habits to reduce their vehicles’ carbon emissions. The programme received support from the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, the largest participatory sporting event in Hong Kong, whose organisers have called on all marathon athletes and the whole community to take a ‘Brake’ on Marathon race day, by travelling on public transport, running or simply walking.

TAB has been well received by the business community and schools. Over 20 large corporations joined its Corporate Green Driving Award Scheme and 4,000 young people were recruited as TAB ambassadors to help make a difference in Hong Kong.

The programme has provided the TAB team with a valuable opportunity to engage with different stakeholders. It is jointly organised and implemented by Friends of the Earth (HK), Green Power and WWF-Hong Kong, three prominent and active green groups in Hong Kong, and has the full support of the Environment Bureau of the Government of the HKSAR.

For Standard Chartered, the programme was a great way of demonstrating our thought leadership on important environmental issues and showcasing our commitment to sustainable development.

Annual Report and Accounts 2010