The inaugural award for CSR Bank of the Year goes to the Dutch ING Group. The selection process was conducted by Innovest Strategie Vilue Advisors, an investment research firm specialising in CSR, in association with The Banker.
In addition to ING s good performance and attitude towards corporate responsibility, its most significant differentiating factor is that, compared with other large financial institutions, ING has avoided excessive exposure to most of the major scandals to have affected the financial services industry.
For a CSR strategy to succeed, significant buy-in from senior management is necessary. ING s CE0 Ewald Kist has demonstrated a personal commitment to include sustainability as part of the group s long-term strategy. At the Johannesburg summit in 2002, he was one of 11 signatories to a statement recognising the role of sustainable development, under the guidance of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In 2002, ING reported for the eighth consecutive year on its progress on corporate responsibility Since ING has adopted the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, it provides fairly comprehensive data on its interaction with all stakeholders – in particular, its employees, its customers, the environment and society Since then, an internal survey on the implementation of CSR polities worldwide, conducted in 2003, indicated that 60% of ING s business units have
adopted polities, procedures and monitoring systems for customer satisfaction; 66% have procedures for complaints; 66% for product information; and 60% have adopted policies and procedures on privacy. With respect to the environment, ING monitors waste management as well as energy and water usage, with significant improvement from the previous year For 2002, ING s charitable contributions were El 1.2m, 0.25% of operational net prof-it.
Contributions include not only to charities but also for emergency funding, most recently, for SARS victims in Hong Kong. Finally, ING also recently committed itself to the Equator Principles, together with 11 ether global banks.
As a result, ING wil1 comply with the sustainability regulations for financing various large-scale projects in developing countries as set by the International Finance Corporation, a subsidiary of the World Bank. ING is clearly a leader in terms of corporate responsibility. The challenge now is to entourage others to follow suit.