To ensure our products, services and operations meet the changing needs of our customers, society and the environment, it’s essential we understand different perspectives, concerns and ideas from inside and outside the bank.
Our stakeholders are wide-ranging from customers and consumer groups, to government, media and investors. We aim to listen and adapt.
A key feature of our external engagement programme is the regular roundtable meeting we hold between our Sustainable Bank Committee and key external stakeholders who are topic experts, policy makers and sometimes customers of the bank. During 2017, we worked to maintain the level of robust attention on our activities and strategy and ensure we kept abreast of new ideas, thinking and good sustainability practice.
In December, to mark our progress and the importance of external stakeholders in our journey towards becoming a sustainable bank, we held a reception for participants from previous years, as well as other key stakeholders.
During 2017, we held four stakeholder engagement sessions. The topics focused on some of our core priorities as identified in our Key Influences table. These were:
- Technology Innovation for Social Good – this session invited stakeholders to discuss areas they thought we should prioritise in considering the social good that can come from our technology.
- Our MoneySense programme was updated with interactive games and quizzes for children aged 5-18 years old. It has helped over 5 million young people learn about money in the last 23 years
- RBS focused on using technology to find new ways to support vulnerable customers and customers with a disability. We looked for ways to minimise negative impacts or provide new useful services
- Working with the RNIB, we developed accessible debit, savings and credit cards. Our mobile banking app was the first in the UK to be approved by RNIB as accessible
- We trained a TechXpert in every branch to help set up customers’ online and mobile banking
2. Climate Risk – this timely session was held just after the release of the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) final recommendations, and a request from the Bank of England to provide information on the bank’s approach to climate risk. Following the session we have:
- Publicly announced our support of TCFD on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement
- Engaged with and completed the Bank of England/Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) Review of the impact of climate change on the UK banking sector
- We are implementing the TCFD recommendations in our reporting and developing our climate change strategy to bring together how the bank will address both the risks and opportunities of climate change
- We are undertaking some ‘scenario-based’ research to understand the transitional and physical risks associated with climate change for the sectors and customers we serve
- We are revising our Environmental, Social and Ethical risk policies, including reviewing prohibitions for the most high impact fossil fuel activities and reductions in exposure over time
- We are setting new targets to continue growing our lending to low carbon sectors as part of our sustainable finance strategy
- We are continuing to raise colleague awareness across the bank
3. UK Housing - this session aimed to gain greater understanding of the nature of the housing crisis, the extent that banks impact on this and identify actions which RBS could take to help alleviate it.
- Following this session, we are investigating the key themes and exploring the feasibility of several ideas including shared ownership mortgages and 'civic housebuilding' projects, which can help ease supply constraints whilst still keeping housing affordable
- We were the first high street bank to publicly champion the Build to Rent sector (builds specifically for the rental market), setting aside £1bn to fund over 10,000 units for rent across the UK
- We are one of the largest lenders to the UK housing associations and we continue to actively support the sector
4. Financial Capability & FinTech - this session was held to help us to think creatively about how technology can help identify ‘teachable moments’, which make it easier for customers to understand banking and make informed choices about their personal finances.
- We have trained TechXperts in all our branches
- There are a number of specific initiatives underway, including offering Financial Health Checks to colleagues
- Our Financial Health Check service helps customers to organise their finances and to prioritise and achieve their financial goals. This year, we've carried out over 1 million Financial Health Checks for customers*
- We continue to develop our MoneySense financial education programme, with our latest workshop designed to help children understand the different types of fraud & scams
*Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.
Our assessment of the most important influences in our operating environment which have the potential to influence our ability to serve customers and create value for the long term.