I was delighted to be appointed Chairman of the Sustainable Banking Committee during 2018.
The Sustainable Banking Committee plays an important role on behalf of the Board in addressing our commitment to rebuild our reputation and earn our customers’ trust while looking at the long term challenges. We are now building a more sustainable bank, a more responsible company - doing business in a more sustainable way.
The Committee has retained its forward looking, strategic outlook, and throughout 2018 I can report that good progress was made. Some highlights include the Committee receiving regular culture updates with spotlights on wellbeing, inclusion and how we are supporting colleagues to develop skills and capabilities needed for the future.
The Committee also dedicated time to understanding the actions that needed to be taken by management to improve the bank’s position in the customer service rankings published by the Competition and Markets Authority, with a keen focus on management’s longer term ambition. Updates were also received from customer facing franchises, including digital and mobile strategy, customer journey management, and business banking.
The bank announced climate policy changes in 2018 and the Committee recognises growing stakeholder interest in climate change and wider environmental issues.
A spotlight was given to our relationship with suppliers with an internal audit perspective on both culture and suppliers.
Details of the Committee's recent progress can be found in the 2018 Annual Report & Accounts.
The Committee has continued with its stakeholder engagement programme and during 2018 met with 16 external stakeholders over four sessions. Topics were:
• Sustainable credit
• Ethics of artificial intelligence
These sessions continue to provide a valuable opportunity for external stakeholders to offer insights and challenge that shape future policies, influence strategic priorities and inform decision making – they are a great opportunity for Board members to listen and learn.
During the year the Committee also undertook visits to our Private Banking and Premier Banking businesses along with visiting the Digital Studio in Bristol and the London Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub. The purpose of these visits is to provide Board members with customer and entrepreneur insight and interaction.
The Committee’s stakeholder engagement was enhanced by hosting a lunch with some of the members of the recently formed Colleague Advisory Panel, which has been set up as a pro-active response to changes in the UK Corporate Governance Code and as an additional channel for colleagues to engage directly with the Board.
Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Sustainable Banking Committee