Erste Group

RATING

SECTOR

Financial Services

 

WEBSITE

CONTACT

Erste Group Bank AG
Am Belvedere 1
A-1100 Vienna
See directions

Phone: +43(0)5 0100 – 10100
Fax: +43(0)5 0100 9 – 10100
Email: contact@erstegroup.com

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

EMPLOYEES

45,690

 

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Marosi Gabriel

AWARDS

  • In 2020, 13 sustainable funds were awarded the FNG label: four funds were awarded three stars and nine funds received two stars. The FNG label is the quality standard for sustainable investments in German-Speaking countries and was first awarded by Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) in 2015.

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Kavita Kripalani

 

Erste Group Bank AG

SECTIONS :  Sustainability •  Targets  Evaluation •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

Erste Group Bank AG was founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank. Around 45,400 employees are serving 16.2 million clients in more than 2,100 branches in 7 countries. Erste Group is one of the largest financial services providers in Central and Eastern Europe.

Erste Group Bank AG engages in the provision of banking and financial services. It operates through the following business segments: Retail, Corporates, Group Markets, Asset/Liability Management & Local Corporate Center, Savings Banks, and Group Corporate Center.

Company Sustainability Activity

When Erste Group was founded 200 years ago, one of its primary goals was to actively contribute to the positive development of society and thereby assume responsibility for society. 

Erste Group has adopted the definition and mission of sustainability from “Our Common Future” (UN Brundtland Commission,1986), which states that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Erste Group is creating sustainable economic activity by adding value for people, the environment and for the communities in which they operate. This approach is specifically implemented in 3 areas:

  1. Diversity – the company affirms that the uniqueness of individuals (age, gender, cultural background) is essential for finding innovative solutions and for business success.
  2. Environment – Erste Group strives to have a direct positive impact on the management of natural resources and indirectly through their business dealings.
  3. Social responsibility – the bank is committed as a bank to finance cultural and social activities but also by encouraging their employees to personally engage in their communities. 

Highlights

Environmental Objectives  

  • Clean energy & energy security 
  • Resource & energy-efficient buildings 
  • Smart mobility and transportation   
  • Resource depletion & waste management   
  • Pollution prevention, preservation of water and maritime resources  
  • Protective land use, forestry 
  • Protection of biodiversity 
  • Animal welfare

Social Objectives  

  • Human rights 
  • Healthcare, education and job safety 
  • Diversity and equal opportunity   
  • Employee attraction, relations and retention, employee rights   
  • Customer engagement & financial literacy  
  • Product integrity safety and liability  
  • Advertising & marketing ethics

Governance Objectives  

  • Management and ownership structure  
  • Corporate governance procedures 
  • Executive and employee compensation  
  • Supply chain standards 
  • Anti-competitive practices 
  • Bribery, corruption & ethics 
  • Political lobbying & donations  
  • Tax & Financial transparency

Targets

  • Erste Group joined the institutions aligned with the Paris Agreement and is committed to progressively reduce its coal financing down to achieve a net-zero exposure by 2030
  • Erste Group contributes to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030

Progress

  • Office space in the LED technology equipped building was reduced from 21,000 m² of floor area to 14,000 m² compared to the old premises
  • In 2020, the use of district cooling was reduced significantly by 39.2% (2019: 27.7%) to 1.0 GWh (2019: 1.7 GWh) through improved use of cold groundwater for cooling. 
      • The construction of a photovoltaic system on the roof of the Erste Campus began in December 2020
      • The 764 modules covering roughly 2,000 m2 will supply approximately 250,000 kWh per year, which is roughly equivalent to the consumption of 5 branches or 125 households
      • This installation is an important step to make the main building of Erste Group even more climate-friendly, in addition to measures already taken, such as the use of 100% green electricity and the use of rainwater and district cooling
  • Slovenská sporiteľňa achieved a further 10% reduction in electricity consumption by reducing the CO2 footprint of its branches and optimizing data server functions 
  • At the beginning of 2020, Erste Campus as well the branches of Erste Bank Oesterreich and some savings banks switched to Verbund as their electricity provider
  • Verbund is Austria’s leading electricity company and one of Europe‘s largest producers of electricity from hydropower, making up almost 100% of their electricity generation
      • Reduced its paper consumption by 37.5 tonnes in 2020Other paper reduction initiatives in 2020 include Erste Bank Croatia introducing electronic delivery of invoices and Česká spořitelna’s ongoing Low-paper office operation project with topics such as cashless banking, biometrics and robotics 
  • Sustainable investment funds – With an increase in value of 77% in 2020, the ERSTE WWF Stock Environment Fund underlined that sustainability and financial performance can be combined
  • In 2020, Erste Bank Restaurantbetriebe switched to a reusable system for coffee cups at all restaurants it operates at Erste Campus
    • This initiative will save at least 85,000 disposable coffee-to-go cups per year

Supply chain

  • In fulfilling their contractual obligations, suppliers of materials, equipment and services selected as group partners are required to: 
      • Comply with national and local laws, decrees and regulations  
      • Fulfill all their legal obligations regarding the health and safety of their employees and their contractors  
      • Strictly comply with environmental legislation  
      • Respect and implement the basic principles of corporate social responsibility
  • Since 2016, sustainability criteria drafted with the Group Sustainability Office of Erste Group have been a mandatory element of the selection process 
  • To ensure that Erste Group’s suppliers meet the group’s corporate responsibility standards, audit questionnaires must be completed for any purchase worth more than EUR 100,000, and regular supplier business reviews have to be performed
 
 

Certificates

  • LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • Erste Group Procurement holds the CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark, a certification awarded by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 50001
  • ÖKOPROFIT
  • Erste Campus in Vienna is certified to a platinum level by DGBN/ÖGNI Österreichische Gesellschaft für Nachhaltige Immobilienwirtschaft

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

The Impakter Index aligns Erste Group’s sustainability initiatives with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

  • Employee health and work-life balance: Erste Group affirms that employees perform better and are more motivated when their work and private lives are well balanced and the company contributes to their good health
    • The focus of 56 Erste Groups is on fostering an awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and promoting preventive health care as a complementary service to the public healthcare system
  • The focus of 56 Erste Groups is on fostering an awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and promoting preventive health care as a complementary service to the public healthcare system

SDG 4: Quality Education

  • For Erste Group, financial literacy is a key factor in creating equal opportunities, economic prosperity and social inclusion
  • Erste Group aims to be not only commercially successful but also to act in a socially responsible manner 
    • It pursues a multitude of activities that contribute to the cultural and social development of society and also encourages its employees’ individual social involvement 

SDG 5: Gender Equality

  • Diversity and equal opportunity: For Erste Group, diversity and equal opportunity are key elements of its human resources strategy
    • It, therefore, seeks to offer a work environment that is free of discrimination and that values the work of each and every person regardless of gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, skin color, religious or political affiliation, ethnic background, nationality or any other aspect unrelated to their employment

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • For Erste Group, financial literacy is a key factor in creating equal opportunities, economic prosperity and social inclusion
  • Customer satisfaction: High levels of customer satisfaction and the resulting customer loyalty safeguard the bank’s long-term success
    • It is therefore vital to continually adapt products and services to customers’ expectations and needs and to ensure high service quality
  • Responsible investment and finance: Public interest in the indirect impacts of bank products on the environment and society has been growing significantly 
  • Erste Group is steadily expanding its range of responsible investment and finance products
  • Social banking: For a variety of reasons, even today many people do not have access to financial services from commercial banks
    • In accordance with its founding principles, Erste Group’s social banking programs help people to help themselves and contribute to a positive economic development of the excluded parts of society

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • Erste Group aims to be not only commercially successful but also to act in a socially responsible manner 
  • Diversity and equal opportunity: For Erste Group, diversity and equal opportunity are key elements of its human resources strategy

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Suppliers and supply chain: Responsible criteria in the supply chain: Against the backdrop of interrelated economic activities, companies must consider not only the ecological and social impacts of their own operations but also those of their entire supply chain
    • Through its supply-chain management, Erste Group is making every effort to avoid an undesirable indirect impact on the environment and human rights 

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Ecological impact of banking operations: Protecting the environment and the climate are currently among the most significant global challenges
    • Erste Group aims to minimize its ecological footprint, specifically its consumption of energy and paper, and to use natural resources responsibly

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • Anti-corruption measures: Corruption and bribery may be a problem in many parts of the economy so Erste Group employees are required to attend a customized training program enabling them to recognize and prevent fraud and corruption

Evaluation

Erste Group is on its journey to incorporating sustainability throughout its operations. Erste Group is creating sustainable economic activity by adding value for people, the environment and for the communities in which they operate. This approach is specifically implemented in diversity, the environment, and social responsibility with specific environmental, social and governance objectives.

Erste Group has goals to reduce coal financing and achieve net-zero exposure by 2030. While this goal is a step in the right direction, Erste Group lacks other specific and measurable initiatives that would consider them on the road to sustainability. Despite this, the bank has made significant progress in reducing electricity consumption in offices worldwide.

In addition, Erste Group contributes to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda but would benefit from explicitly aligning its initiatives with the goals. The group also obtains numerous sustainability-related certificates and awards.

Erste Group has is rated a C.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Erste Group is on the road to sustainability. The group would benefit from implementing more specific and measurable targets.

Key Points

  • Cooperation with other international asset managers (organized by PRI and Sustainalytics) continued in 2020. 
  • As a founding member of the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, Erste AM has supported the five-year active dialogue with the world’s 100 largest emitters of greenhouse gases from sectors such as oil and gas, electricity, transport and chemical industry since November 2017. 
  • Data security: The security of customer data is a key prerequisite for long-term success in the banking industry and of fundamental importance to Erste Group. Erste Group, therefore, applies the highest standards in its IT infrastructure and provides ongoing training to its employees to offer maximum protection against the misuse or loss of customer data. The danger of cyber-attacks requires ongoing investment to maintain and improve data security.
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