Belinda Scott, Senior Manager of CSR at NBAD, receiving the award
The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the Number One Bank in the UAE, has been awarded the Pan-Middle East Award for the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme by the prestigious emeafinance magazine.
In choosing NBAD, emeafinance credits NBAD for being the first bank to publish an annual Sustainability Report and for NBAD’s objective to balance returns for shareholders with considering impact on future generations when making business decisions. It also highlights Michael H. Tomalin’s, the Group Chief Executive of NBAD, quotes in the 2009 Sustainability Report: “Sustainability issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, human rights, and growing gaps between rich and poor have become central challenges. Our collective response will change the nature of our economies and societies.”
Abdulla M.S. Abdul Raheem, the Senior General Manager and Group Chief Operating Officer at NBAD, explains NBAD’s strategy: “We adopted corporate social responsibility because CSR helps NBAD build trust and a deeper relationship with the communities we do business in. Sustainable and responsible practices serve society and also contribute to increased productivity and efficiency.”
Mr. AbdulRaheem continues: “Moreover, NBAD is committed to supporting Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, which outlines environmental protection and sustainable progress and development for the Emirate.”
In awarding NBAD the Best Corporate Social Responsibility award, emeafinance also recognises NBAD for its high Emiratisation rate, investment in the development of its staff, sustainability training for employees, developing occupational health and safety policies and procedures, and the Bank’s integrated approach to embedding sustainability into core business practices.
“We are extremely pleased and I thank emeafinance for recognising the National Bank of Abu Dhabi the Best Corporate Social Responsibility programme,” says Belinda Scott, the Senior Manager of CSR at NBAD. “We believe that CSR is a way of doing business and not just about carrying out a series of standalone projects that have no purpose or relevance to NBAD’s vision or direction. This award shows that we are definitely moving the in right direction and makes us excited to continue the journey toward sustainability.”
By adopting sustainability as a key strategic objective, NBAD made a commitment to adopt the Equator Principles, under which NBAD would require social and environmental risk assessments to be carried out by companies seeking project finance.
NBAD’s CSR credentials also include its part in helping to found Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) in 2008 and becoming a member of ADSG’s General-Secretariat.
In addition to being the market leader in releasing its 2009 Sustainability Report, NBAD became the first regional bank in January to launch a solar-powered ATM, which would be followed by other ‘Green’ products and services such as cards made from sustainable materials.
NBAD’s 2009 Sustainability Report, available on the Bank’s website, is a baseline report of the Bank’s sustainability performance. The Report strengthens NBAD’s commitment to transparency and its journey to become a sustainable company. In reporting and transparency, NBAD meets the Global Reporting Initiative Application Level B which is based on the number of GRI indicators that have been included in the report.
Internally, NBAD is committed to efficiency and sustainability in its operation. As such, in 2011 the Bank is working to reduce energy consumption by 15%, paper usage by 10%, and water by 10%. To this end, NBAD promotes recycling, reducing paper usage, and will work towards decreasing the Bank’s carbon emissions.
To achieve these goals, NBAD launched late last year its Greener Office Programme, which aims to educate the NBAD staff about the importance of adopting sustainable and environmentally-responsible practices.
“Working toward the objectives of reducing our use of resources and promoting a culture of recycling would lead to a wider impact in the community and also improve efficiency and profitability for the Bank,” Ms. Scott says. “Most importantly, NBAD aims to promote sustainability and responsibility to a wider society through education and initiatives and programmes that highlight the importance of this critical issue.”
To this end, NBAD has prominently sponsored, supported and participated in local and global events that advance sustainable practices. In January, for instance, NBAD sponsored Abu Dhabi Future Energy Forum. The Bank also joined the regional Arab Sustainability Leaders’ Group and sent a delegate last year to the Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency.
NBAD also advances the importance of sustainability issues through participation in such events as Earth Hour in which the Bank joins hundreds of millions of people across the globe to turn off all lights on March 26th for 60 minutes.
The Bank’s CSR intiatives also include yearly blood drives in several locations; investment into training nationals, which resulted in NBAD achieving 38% Emiratisation at the end of 2010, and programmes to promote healthy lifestyle choices for employees.
NBAD is preparing its 2010 Sustainability Report, the second such report.
“The 2010 Sustainability Report for NBAD is in the final stages of production and will be shared as soon as possible. The report sets out, not just what we achieved in 2010, but also our stretching targets for 2011. The Sustainability Team is keen to identify employees interested in getting more involved in embedding the principles of sustainability into their area of the business,” Ms. Scott comments. “Our vision is to be the Number One Arab Bank and among the many initiatives, our rich CSR programme is part of mechanism that will lead us to achieve this vision,” Ms. Scott says.