Is the sector involved in Corporate Social Responsibility?

The financial sector adjusts its policy to economic, social, ethical and ecological factors. Precisely what that strategy should look like is different for each financial institution. What is the same for each institution is that the entire organisation must support the strategy and give priority to ethics and integrity in decision-making.
Companies that have incorporated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their policy, do not just focus their business on economic achievements, but also have respect for social, ethical and ecological factors. Responsibility towards society therefore takes a central place in a CSR policy.

The rolling out of various regulations in respect of good governance has made various financial institutions also develop a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Social, ethical and ecological factors are becoming increasingly important when developing business plans. For each financial institution there is a different CSR strategy. Each of them places its own emphasis and has its own mix of various CSR elements. Each institution must make sure that its strategy has the support of the organisation as a whole and that ethical concern and integrity will prevail when it comes to taking decisions.

71% of the sector (11 out of the 19 institutions surveyed) has drawn up specific procedures to evaluate the social and ecological risks of the decisions. These procedures are tested in an internal dialogue with top management but also in consultations with for instance employees and trade unions, customers, consumers or commercial partners, investors or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). That way, the possible risks of specific decisions come to light immediately.

A CSR strategy looks nice on paper, but is of course only effective if the commitments that are made are put into practice. A CSR strategy only stands a chance of success if it can trickle down through all parts of a company and if everyone gives ethics and integrity a central role. A manager who implements the CSR strategy may take on the role of propagating that message.

In 90% of the sector (9 out of the 19 institutions surveyed), such a specific manager has been appointed. In 1.4% of the sector (4 out of the 19 institutions surveyed) the person responsible for the CSR reports directly to the CEO, which means that he or she can influence matters up to the highest level. In 2013, this direct reporting to the CEO will be adopted by a larger number of banks. There is 1 institution in which he reports to a member of the Executive Committee, in 60% (4 out of the 19 institutions surveyed) to the head of a department.