Top 25 Corporations Demonstrating Best Practices in ESG 2024

SBM, driven by a commitment to provide clients with high-quality services while aligning business operations with environmental sustainability, emphasises its responsibility to the environment.

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SBM BANK KENYA

SBM Bank Kenya, a regulated bank registered in Kenya, is a subsidiary of SBM Holdings, the leading financial services institution listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

The bank made its entry into the Kenyan market in 2017 and has since established itself as a fast-growing financial institution offering a broad range of services covering Corporate Banking, SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) Banking and Personal Banking through its network of 40 branches across the country.

According to SBM Bank Kenya, the institution emphasises its commitment to achieving strong and sustainable returns for shareholders while meeting the relevant needs of stakeholders and supporting community development. The bank integrates Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into strategic decision-making processes. As expressed by the bank, “We strive to create shared value with our customers, communities, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders through sustainable business practices. This commitment is underpinned by our vision to be one of the leading and trusted financial services providers in our geographies, driven by innovation and technology.”

Furthermore, SBM Bank Kenya articulates its core values of Customer Centricity, Trustworthiness, Integrity, Respect, and Prudence, which serve as guiding principles in all aspects of its operations. These values consistently lead the bank to embrace sustainable practices across its operations, aligning with its overarching commitment to responsible and ethical financial services.

 The bank, driven by a commitment to provide clients with high-quality services while aligning business operations with environmental sustainability, emphasises its responsibility to the environment. In the bank’s own words, “It is why we have committed to financing projects in the renewable energy sector which aims to accelerate Kenya’s transition to a low-carbon economy. And it is why we sponsor events like Taka Taka ni Mali, which promotes circular economy practices to reduce waste and promote sustainability.”

 Moreover, SBM Bank Kenya is actively involved in fostering awareness of environmental issues and implementing measures to minimise their impacts. As expressed by the bank, “We are also committed to raising awareness about environmental issues and mitigating their effects, whether through our Paper Lite project, which aims to reduce paper usage and waste; or through initiatives like our participation in the #JourneyofWater by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where we sensitise communities on conservation of water resources through sustainable land use practices.”

 In the same way, the bank is committed to reducing its carbon footprint in Kenya by enhancing biodiversity through tree planting activities across the country as part of its efforts to support the Kenyan government’s commitment to plant 15 billion trees by the year 2032.

 In realising the social responsibility aspect of the ESG framework, SBM Bank Kenya actively embodies its commitment to creating economic opportunities for the communities it serves. As articulated by the bank, “As SBM Bank Kenya, we recognise that our brand and our business is only as strong as the communities we serve. It is important for us to create economic opportunities for the communities in which we operate.”

 Additionally, the bank understands the intrinsic connection between the strength of its brand and the vitality of its business, and hence places a paramount emphasis on the wellbeing of the individuals who contribute to its success. SBM Bank Kenya’s dedication to fostering a healthy work environment is expressed in their words, “We also recognise that our brand and business is only as strong as the people who work for us. We are fully committed to ensuring a healthy work environment where our employees can be their best selves and flourish.”

 To ensure alignment with the global strategy, SBM Bank Kenya has established a comprehensive human resources (HR) policy covering recruitment, training and development, performance management, and remuneration linked to performance. In the bank’s perspective, “Quite rightly, our people are the backbone that continues to power SBM Bank Kenya’s growth, and which is why we constantly strive to engage with both our employees and the public through various wellness and awareness programs aimed at improving their lives.”

 Beyond the workplace, SBM Bank Kenya plays an active role in supporting communities through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives whose focus has always been on diversity and inclusion, and whose impact includes a multiplier effect on local communities. A key focus of these initiatives has been on marginalised groups and women entrepreneurs who have the potential to become economic movers and shakers. This has led to partnerships with organisations like the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) and other women-focused business associations which aim to boost local ingenuity through targeted financial solutions and mentorship programs.

 The bank’s commitment to social progress is also exemplified in a risk sharing agreement with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) worth KES 1.2 billion to increase financing of SMEs and women-led enterprises.

 SBM Bank Kenya has built its reputation on the idea that a strong governance framework delivers measurable value to shareholders and other stakeholders. In their words, “Our governance framework seeks to ensure that the board of directors has an appropriate balance of skills, experience, and diversity. Additionally, it ensures that management is accountable and transparent in its conduct of business.”

 A hallmark of SBM Bank Kenya’s commitment to good governance is its adherence to the UN Women Principles for Gender Equality, signed in 2019, formally committing itself to furthering gender equality throughout the organisation.

 Moreover, the bank has joined the UN Global Compact which is a UN sustainability initiative that drives businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.

 Transparency and accountability are also fundamental tenets of good governance, underpinning the conduct of business, and SBM Bank Kenya adheres to this principle in all aspects of its business. In this regard, the bank is subject to international standards of corporate governance and risk management oversight, in line with applicable regulatory frameworks.

 The commitment to good governance also extends to effective communication with shareholders by maintaining an open channel of communication through timely disclosure of financial results and other key developments affecting the bank’s business.

 Stakeholder engagement is also essential, which requires being proactive rather than reactive when addressing concerns from stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, shareholders, employees, and communities near its premises.

 Essentially, SBM Bank Kenya’s commitment extends beyond financial services to actively contribute to community wellbeing and environmental conservation, embodying a holistic approach to corporate responsibility. Through diverse initiatives and partnerships, the bank not only strengthens its brand but also enriches the lives of its stakeholders while adhering to the principles of transparency, accountability, and gender equality: a true trailblazer in the ESG space.

AUTHOR: SBM BANK KENYA

EDITOR: KAREN NDUKU

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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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