With an international team of 85,000 employees and a presence in 59 markets, serving customers in close to 150 markets worldwide, Standard Chartered recognizes its global impact and ability to drive positive change. The bank has made a solid commitment to adopting sustainable practices, which are at the core of its corporate culture, notes Standard Chartered Taiwan CEO Ian Anderson.
“Climate change is arguably the biggest challenge the world has faced,” he says. “It’s a global problem that requires a global solution, and banks have a very unique role to play in that. We are rising to the challenge, which is why we aspire to become the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank.”
In order to carry out its brand promise to be “here for good,” Standard Chartered has implemented a sustainability model that comprises three pillars: Sustainable Finance, Responsible Company, and Inclusive Communities.
The bank has pledged to invest around US$75 billion in sustainable infrastructure, cleantech, and renewable finance between 2020 and 2025. It aims to reach net zero carbon emissions from its operations by the end of 2030 and from its financing by 2050.
In pursuit of such ambitious goals, Standard Chartered operates an extensive outreach program for its multinational clients, providing data insights and information on how it measures and monitors its climate risk management and sustainability endeavors.
“We have a collective obligation to be more transparent and lead the way,” Anderson says. “If we’re going to make meaningful efforts around sustainability, we need to disclose what we’re doing and use that information to work with our clients.”
To that end, Standard Chartered aims to provide clients with the best possible sustainability advice, and Anderson stresses the importance of consistent and correct data to enable accurate comparisons and assessments. “If you provide financing using subpar information, you might end up greenwashing,” he says.
“Standard Chartered is determined to drive sustainable development and provide sustainable finance solutions to our clients, which will result in a long-term and substantial positive impact on the environment,” Anderson adds. “This vision can only be achieved by ensuring the authenticity and integrity of every detail in the process.”
Anderson says that Standard Chartered is in a position to assist customers in aligning with the Tsai administration’s Green Finance Action Plan 2.0. “We’re able to introduce many sustainability linked fund propositions globally and bring them to Taiwan for our wealth clients,” he says. “Given our network and connections, we can help facilitate sustainable supply chains and ensure that our customers find the right suppliers, providing them with the necessary financing.”
The third pillar of Standard Chartered’s sustainability model, Inclusive Communities, concerns creating more equitable economies by sharing skills and expertise through community programs. One such program is Futuremakers, a global initiative to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people.
Futuremakers supports underprivileged youth and young people with visual impairments in pursuing their dream careers. Originally seeking to raise US$50 million between 2019 and 2023, and later increasing that target to US$75 million to account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Standard Chartered utilizes the funds collected through the program to empower younger generations to “learn, earn, and grow.” The bank employs visually impaired individuals on its telemarketing team to begin a career in banking, but also assists young people in pursuing other careers.
“In the short time since we initiated the Futuremakers program in Taiwan, we’ve assisted over 1,200 disadvantaged youth in pursuing a career by providing them with training, mentoring, and coaching,” notes Anderson.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Standard Chartered expanded its employee and community care efforts. In 2020 the bank initiated the “Stay Well” program, calling on over 1,400 employees to do online grocery shopping for disadvantaged families. The initiative also involves proofreading audiobook material and assisting visually impaired people with ordering masks online.
In Taiwan, Standard Chartered is transforming its physical environment to better align with its sustainability goals. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the bank will move its Taiwan headquarters to a new premises and anticipates achieving LEED certification for the office building, which is friendly to both staff and the environment. The office will be designed and configured to support flexible work arrangements, cross-departmental collaboration, and work-from-home solutions. Anderson anticipates that the new environment will further promote staff engagement in realizing the company’s vision to be the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank.