National Bank of Kuwait Takes Further Steps in Building a Sustainable Future

Jul 23, 2020 4:00 AM ET
Article

July 23, 2020 - National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) launched its fourth annual Sustainability Report today, in alignment with the guidelines from the Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), the Boursa Kuwait voluntary sustainability disclosure guide and the Equator Principles.

As reflected in the previous year, these standards are important international standards for sustainability reporting, further cementing NBK’s commitment to enhancing its sustainability performance in accordance with both international and national best practices.

Last year, NBK’s sustainability report was titled “Growing Impact,” as it had assessed NBK’s 2018 sustainability performance in terms of impacts that can be both quantitatively and qualitatively communicated. For 2019, NBK’s theme for the sustainability is “Building Our Sustainable Future.” Accordingly, NBK continues this impact-focused and stakeholder-focused sustainability approach to transparently communicate various areas related to sustainability dimensions; environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects; and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

NBK’s Chairman of the Board, Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer, again provided an overview of the bank’s commitment to sustainability, stating: “This year, our report is focused on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) highlighting these three topics while also emphasizing the importance of employee and business aspects to support our ESG directions.”

“This report’s ESG focus is a tribute to NBK’s outstanding accomplishment of being included for the first time in the FTSE4Good index.”

Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer

Chairman of the NBK Board of Directors

As part of best-practice sustainability reporting methodology, especially in accordance with GRI standards, NBK conducted a materiality assessment to form the basis of the sustainability report. This process consists of meetings, workshops other assessments with both internal and external NBK stakeholders, to derive the most material (significant) topics for said stakeholders. For the 2019 sustainability report, a total of 17 material topics were formulated, being ranked among high, medium, and low levels, and plotted on a materiality matrix. These material topics, along with NBK’s six sustainability-focused priority areas, formed the basis of the 2019 sustainability report. In addition, NBK managed to disclose 5-year targets for sustainability focus areas.

Report Overview

NBK’s 2019 sustainability report was developed and structured through 7 main chapters. The first is “About NBK,” where general information regarding NBK was reported, including profile, vision, mission, values, and awards and recognitions. The second chapter was “Our Sustainability Approach,” where NBK discussed its materiality assessment results, illustrated the sustainability alignment with material topics, showed its approach to engaging its stakeholders, among others. Chapter 3 was “Governance & Responsible Business,” where NBK reported on its corporate governance, responsible business, sustainable growth, economic impact, risk, compliance, and transparency. The fourth chapter was “Social Contribution,” where NBK various areas that it engaged with and contributed to the community, across various categories like healthcare, youth, and education. Chapter 5 was “Our People & Workplace,” in which NBK reported various matters relevant to the management of its human capita, including diversity, Kuwaitization, training, talent management, among others. Next is the sixth chapter, titled “Environmental Protection,” where NBK assessed its environmental impact, mainly through energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, resource management, and various elements related to the new headquarters building. Finally, the 7th chapter is the “Annex.”

Across the sustainability report, NBK’s six sustainability-focused priority areas were emphasized—being below, along with selected findings reported in the report corresponding with the appropriate priority area:

Serving Customers

NBK’s first priority area is concerned with serving customers, especially with high quality and levels of satisfaction. Every year, NBK measures this engagement and satisfaction through increasing numbers of customer surveys, and measured through the customer satisfaction index (CSI), which it has continuously maintained above 90%. Furthermore, NBK integrates various innovative / technology aspects into customer service, including mobile banking and online banking features—both of which have seen increases in the number of active customers. In 2019, the number of active mobile banking customers in NBK increased by 28%, while the number of active online banking customers increased by 10%. Moreover, NBK is embracing technology through several areas, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), further discussed in the report.

Leading in Governance

NBK’s second priority area is related to business and governance matters, where aspects concerning policies, leadership, and others are reported. As a result of integrating sustainability elements into NBK’s business and governance, NBK successfully became included in the FTSE4Good ESG Index, which has elevated our sustainability status in the global perspective.

Caring for Our Environment

NBK’s third priority area involves the evaluation and reporting of environmental aspects, which include water, electricity, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions broken down into specific scopes. In 2019, there was a focus on the new headquarter building, because it comes with various expected positive environmental and efficiency benefits, among other outcomes. Additionally, NBK assessed its waste management practices, specifically looking at waste paper recycling, in which a decrease of 19.6% in waste paper was recorded. Part of these waste management directions also include partnership with Omniya for recycling.

Giving Back to the Community

NBK’s fourth priority area concerns the bank’s impact on the community, whereas it exhibits proper CSR elements. Every year, NBK invests into the community through sponsorships and events, and in 2019, an 11% increase in community investment was calculated. Part of this community investment goes towards the NBK Hospital, in which a 9% increase was also recorded. Moreover, NBK staff give back to the community through volunteering, in which there was 34% increase in volunteering hours in 2019.

Respecting & Developing People

NBK’s fifth priority area is about people, or specifically NBK employees and how they are sustainably managed. One area of sustainable human resource management includes diversity, in which case NBK has maintained the percentage of females in the workforce at 45%. Another aspect of sustainable HR management is Kuwaitization, where NBK gives back to community in which it operates by having national employees. In this regard, NBK’s Kuwaitization rate increased by 8.5%. Moreover, one result of our HR practices is that there have been zero health and safety incidents. In addition, NBK ensures that its employees are continuously trained and developed, and in 2019, has offered 271 training courses to a total of 3,037 participants.

Contributing to Sustainable Economic Development

NBK’s sixth priority area covers various economic areas and their integration with sustainability. This includes examining NBK’s direct economic impact on stakeholders and specific areas, as well projects that are aligned to national and international sustainability directions, including SDGs and KNDP. For example, one way that NBK gives back to the community in which it operates is by focusing on local suppliers in Kuwait rather than emphasizing foreign. In this regard,NBK’s direct economic impact increased by 14% versus last year. More details about the increase are available in the report..

About NBK:

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) was founded in Kuwait City in 1952 with the vision “to be the trusted bank of choice, building on our core values, people and expertise”. Building on our many achievements over the last sixty-seven years, NBK continues to pursue this goal within the current business, socioeconomic and environmental context. In 2019 NBK had nearly 50,000 customer deposits, revenue of more than $90 billion, and a total of 2,294 employees in Kuwait.

The full 2019 NBK Sustainability Report can be found at:

https://www.nbk.com/nbk-group/our-approach/sustainability

The 2019 NBK Annual report can be found at: 

https://www.nbk.com/nbk-group/investor-relations/financial-reports

NBK on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NBKPage

For additional information about NBK’s sustainability work, please contact:

Joe El-Ghazal  at:
sustainability@nbk.com
Tel: (965) 22592665   

# # #

Read the Report