Sustainability is an integral part of our overall business strategy to create financial and non-financial value for our stakeholders.
To guide our business activities and client interactions in this area we apply a number of established principles, policies and procedures. These include the Code of Conduct, Business Principles, Compliance Framework and Sustainability Framework.
Our sustainability governance revolves around a system of checks and balances to ensure stakeholders can be part of decision-making processes. Processes, roles and responsibilities are defined and shared across several levels of the organisation.
Code of conduct
Our Code of Conduct is based on three core values: trust, professionalism and integrity. The Code provides a framework for balancing the needs of our diverse stakeholders and guides the way we behave as individuals and as a bank. It is informed by key national and international standards, including the Dutch Banking Code and the Principles of the UN Global Compact.
We only do business with clients whose standards and principles are aligned to our own, and carry out checks on fraud and integrity as part of our client acceptance process.
As part of our client risk-assessment process, the sustainability standards we expect our clients to meet are clearly set out in our Sustainability Framework. These are based on international conventions, codes of conduct and are regularly updated based on stakeholder feedback.
We also apply sector-specific policies where our involvement may be restricted or prohibited entirely, as is the case with the weapons industry. Individual policies are also in place for every specific sector in which we operate. These policies outline the risks we have identified and our approach to those sectors.
We also operate a Sustainability Risk Management Policy, which describes the processes and tools we use to evaluate clients and designates those responsible for these processes at NIBC. We use a sustainability toolkit to assess environmental, social and governance issues related to all clients and transactions.
UN Global Compact
NIBC is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact. We believe that sustainability starts with our value system and meeting our responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our commitment under UNGC complements our Code of Conduct and is embedded in our business strategy, policies and procedures. We provide a written update on our progress each year as part of our commitment which is available here.
NIBC is one of 82 financial institutions globally that have committed to apply the ten Equator Principles for project finance. They indicate how we manage environmental and social risks in these projects, our support for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and our contribution towards efforts to prevent global temperatures rising beyond 1.5°C.
We apply the Principles to all project financing transactions. Furthermore, each year, we report on our implementation of these and provide a summary of transactions where they were applied. For the latest information, please view the NIBC Equator Principles Report.
Our Managing Board is ultimately responsibility for all Sustainability matters. Board members discuss and advise on sustainability strategy, targets, planning and budget. The Managing Board is also responsible for policies that impact NIBC’s culture and ethics, such as the Code of Conduct. Updates to the sustainability framework and underlying policies are reviewed and approved by NIBC’s Risk Management Committee.
The Sustainability Team is responsible for preparing and implementing sustainability strategies, targets, planning and budgets, and engaging with external stakeholders. It presents quarterly to the Risk Management Committee and regularly with Executive Team members to discuss progress and evaluate ongoing activities. Quarterly reports on figures and progress are also presented to the Managing Board and subcommittee of the Supervisory Board.
As sustainability is aligned to the overall business strategy, various departments are responsible for managing sustainability as part of their ongoing activities. For example, business teams apply the Sustainability Framework in their client interactions, Facilities & Services manages NIBC's energy efficiency programme, and Human Resources is responsible for sustainability activities related to employees.
Each of our international offices has a representative who acts as a liaison for the Sustainability Team located in the Netherlands. They help inform local staff about our sustainability policies and activities and report back on any relevant local initiatives or issues to head office.
Training & awareness
Employees receive training on environmental & social risks, sustainability developments and NIBC’s Sustainability Framework. A general introduction to sustainability is part of the introduction training and a specific Sustainability Workshop is offered to new hires. The training offers general information and uses a case-study to offer insights on how the Framework applies to client business.
Sector teams also receive training from CSR experts that cover general sustainability developments as well as sector-specific topics. Information on NIBC’s sustainability standards is made available on the intranet as well as in newsletters.