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Environmental, social and governance responsibilities

The Group complies with the guidelines issued by the Association of British Insurers on responsible investment disclosure and is committed to the communities and environments in which it operates. The Board is responsible for ensuring that high standards of responsible business are maintained and that an effective control framework is in place. We have established and maintained policies and procedures in relation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks. Details of these procedures can be found on our website.

Through our risk management structure and control framework, the Board receives regular and adequate information to identify and assess significant risks and opportunities arising from ESG matters. Specifically, the Brand and Values Committee (BVC), which is appointed by the Board and comprises the Chairman of the Board and Group Chief Executive, reviews the Group’s sustainable business priorities assuring the Group has policies in place to respond to issues arising from environment and climate change, and oversees the Group’s development of and delivery against public commitments regarding which activities and or businesses it will and will not encourage in line with the Here for good brand promise.

As risk control owner for reputational risk, the Group Head of Corporate Affairs, along with the Group Risk Committee, informs the BVC on matters relating to reputational risk. At the country level, the Country Head of Corporate Affairs is the risk control owner and the Risk Committee (RC) or, where there is no RC, the Management Committee is the governance oversight committee. All employees are responsible for day-to-day identification and management of reputational risk. Quarterly reviews of risks and reporting are carried out at country, regional and Group levels. Where a reputational risk is identified, the risk is escalated in accordance with clearly documented internal reporting procedures.

Key areas of risk are those associated with customers’ activities, potential impacts on the environment and local communities. The Board recognises its responsibility to manage these risks and that failure to manage them adequately would have an adverse impact on our business. These risks are recognised in reaching lending decisions explicitly identified in our credit policies, and in the provision of advisory and other financial services.

We have developed a series of position statements covering high-impact sectors and key issues, outlining the ESG standards we encourage our clients to observe. We have adopted the revised Equator Principles that set procedures, based on the International Finance Corporation’s guidelines, for recognising and mitigating the environmental and social impacts associated with Project Finance and Project Advisory. The principles have been embedded in the Group’s policy and procedures on Environmental And Social Risk In Project And Export Finance – Application Of The Equator Principles.

Standard Chartered Position Statements:

Money-laundering prevention

We continue to review and, where appropriate, strengthen our money-laundering prevention policies, procedures and training. The Board is not aware of any material exceptions to its policies.

Environment and climate change policy

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we take a long-term view of the environmental and social consequences of our actions, either directly from operations or indirectly through client and partner relationships. Our Environment and Climate Change (ECC) Policy was developed in 2009 to support this commitment, and focuses on four central themes:

  • Operational impacts – minimising the direct impact of our operations, including air travel, paper use, water and energy consumption
  • Commercial opportunities and sustainable finance – managing environmental and social risks and integrating climate change considerations into our products and services; developing new business in renewable energy and environmental finance
  • Engagement – ensuring that internal and external stakeholders are fully engaged to embed our strategy
  • Reporting – ensuring the continual efficacy of the ECC policy and strategy through providing delivery assurance

Community investment

We are committed to building a sustainable business and a more sustainable society, and recognise our responsibility to invest in the communities in which we operate. We made a total investment of USD47.4 million (2009: USD38.3 million) to charities, community organisations and causes across our footprint during 2010. This sum included direct financial support of USD19.4 million (2009: USD20.3 million), and indirect contributions, such as employees’ time, the donation of non-monetary goods and funds raised by staff, amounting to USD23.4 million (2009: USD13.3 million). In order to further increase our transparency around this data, in 2010 we introduced an online data collection tool along with a more robust set of guidelines for charitable donations across all markets, in order to collate quality-assured data about the types of initiatives we are involved in.

Community investment activity focuses on a number of major programmes – Seeing is Believing, Living with HIV, Nets for Life and Goal (Women’s Empowerment) – as well as a range of local initiatives across our markets. These are underpinned by employee volunteering activities.

HIV and AIDS policy

We are committed to addressing the social, health and human rights risks and responsibilities that confront our employees, their families and the communities in which we operate. We recognise that the principal competitive advantage of any business comes through its employees, but that this requires them to be healthy, skilled and motivated.

HIV and AIDS directly and indirectly impact our staff and, therefore, our business. Our HIV and AIDS policy has been adopted across all the countries in which we operate and applies to all staff and their families in a manner consistent with existing medical cover. We have exceeded our commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative to educate one million people on HIV and AIDS. We have educated over 1.6 million people and secured partnerships reaching 2.366 million people. A copy of our HIV and AIDS policy and further details of our other policies can be found on our website.

Annual Report and Accounts 2010