NBK releases its annual sustainability report for 2020

Highlighting its sustainability accomplishments and efforts over the past year

NBK releases its annual sustainability report for 2020
  • ESG standards are a key pillar of NBK’s corporate culture
  • NBK follow a rigorous approach in integrating ESG issues at the heart of its business
  • NBK will continue to strengthen its position as a leading provider of sustainable banking services

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has issued its annual Sustainability Report for the year 2020 under the theme “Maintaining Course”, underscoring its leading role and institutional approach to integrate sustainability into systems for managing environment, social and governance (ESG) impacts.

In this fifth Sustainability Report, which is aligned with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), NBK shares its key sustainability-related accomplishments for 2020 through a proactive and comprehensive response to support customers, employees and its community in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as initiatives in environment, healthcare, social contribution, education and sports.

In developing this report, NBK continued to follow a stakeholder-focused and standards-aligned approach to sustainability. Accordingly, the report was developed with consideration given to a range of global and local sustainability frameworks and drivers, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP).

NBK boasts its accomplishments over the past years towards achieving its sustainability pillars, and looks forward to continued progress in making ESG standards a basis for dialogue with customers, embedding sustainable finance in all its operations, and building sustainability as an integral part of its corporate culture.”

NBK strives to strengthen its position as a leading provider of sustainable banking services, and is committed to maintaining this approach. NBK has always defended the essential role of banking services in achieving the aspirations of individuals and companies, along with its rigorous approach in integrating ESG issues at the heart of its business.

The year 2020 has been one-of-a-kind for NBK, as COVID-19 presented a range of challenges, well-met by the coordinated efforts of NBK staff in every business unit.

NBK’s Resilience throughout COVID-19

The annual Sustainability Report highlights the bank’s response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic across its functions and operations. NBK’s readiness and incisive early action helped manage the emerging COVID-19-related risks.  Every department played a role in NBK rapidly implementing and scaling up digital solutions and electronic services for remote work and for security and continuity in financial services provision.  NBK’s IT team supported the transition from on-site operations to a remote access infrastructure, enabling employees to work from home and to serve customers through virtual financial transactions.  NBK also amplified customer support services to aid customers in this forced transition to mobile banking.  Further, NBK leveraged all their social media channels and brand to inform, educate, and motivate both customers and community members regarding pandemic safety measures.

Internal Governance

The report summarizes NBK’s governance structure, Board of Directors (BoD), Board Committees, governance disclosures and compliance processes.  It describes the bank’s ethical and transparent business practices, highlighting its code of conduct, commitment to human rights, prioritization of investor relations, and a range of ethical business areas that include anti-corruption, anti-fraud, and anti-money laundering.  NBK strengthened its commitment to the highest standards of governance by initiating the process to add two new independent members to the board of directors (completed this year), enhancing the role of the Risk and Compliance Committee in surfacing and managing a wide range of risks, and emphasizing its long-standing commitment to human rights by creating and approving a new Human Rights policy.

Enhancing Business Practices and Building a Richer Customer Experience

In 2020, because in-person visits to branches decreased 44% and use of mobile banking increased 41%, NBK implemented numerous initiatives and programs to build a satisfying customer experience within that new environment, including digital transformation infrastructural changes, local delivery banking, youth programs and discounts, partnerships with popular retail outlets, and social-media-mediated education and support for customers as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.  Customer satisfaction remained essentially steady at 93% satisfaction despite the unprecedented changes forced by COVID-19.

Caring for People

Another key sustainability dimension reported for the previous year is the workplace, where the bank exhibits sustainable management of and engagement with its people. Some highlights this year include implementation and achievement of: dozens of leading-edge practices to support the health of employees in the midst of the pandemic; 72.7% Kuwaitization rate; 45.8% female employees’ proportion of the workforce, the highest among all regional banks; 51,924 employee training hours delivered; and the provision of NBK Clinic services to employees.

Impacting Community

NBK has a very long-standing commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen in the community, especially by giving back through contributions, awareness raising, and community engagements. Social media was a vital tool for NBK in 2020, enabling virtual engagement with NBK’s community by achieving nearly 2 million engagements across their six major social media platforms.  The report outlines NBK’s social initiatives ranging from healthcare to COVID-19 awareness to education and youth, including the provision of around 375 volunteering hours by staff concerning COVID-19 awareness, and training 32 youth students through “Tamakan” career readiness program for fresh Kuwaiti graduates.

Managing Environment Impacts

The report highlighted the substantial progress made in reducing environmental impacts, including energy, water, waste and resource management, headquarter relocation, and the calculation of NBK’s footprint in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Because of both COVID-19 demand reductions and moving to the new green headquarters building, the bank achieved 70% and 80% reductions in their electricity and water consumption, respectively.  NBK also both reduced paper use and recycled nearly 100 metric tons of paper, lowering their GHG emissions by 615 metric tons just from those two efforts alone.  The bank also was able to recycle over 3,600 electronic devices.

It is worth mentioning that NBK is the first banking institution in Kuwait to issue a sustainability report highlighting the bank’s social, economic and environmental initiatives and the implementation of corporate governance principles in accordance with the standards of Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The bank’s efforts in this regard over the past years were recognized by inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index and the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index in MENA, in which NBK ranked first among regionals banks and Kuwaiti companies in terms of the index’s weight. In 2020, NBK also maintained its MSCI ESG Index rating at BBB.


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