United Overseas Bank

RATING

SECTOR

Banking

WEBSITE

CONTACT

80 Raffles Place, Uob Plaza
048624
Singapore

Tel: +65.6.5339898
Email: investorrelations@uobgroup.com

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

EMPLOYEES

24,853

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Eric Lim

AWARDS

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Samuel Hamway

United Overseas Bank

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Targets  •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

United Overseas Bank is a Singaporean investment bank and financial services company. The firm serves areas worldwide, and is a leading financial institution in the world. 

The firm has 500 offices across 19 countries, 68 of these are in Singapore.

The company is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, holding US$235.4 billion in total assets. This places the firm as the 90th largest bank globally

United Overseas Bank offers a wide range of financial solutions. These include commercial and corporate banking services, personal financial services, private banking and asset management services, as well as corporate finance, venture capital, investment, and insurance services.

Company Sustainability Activity

United Overseas Bank has been committed to creating long-term value for their customers, colleagues and communities since their founding. 

In their strategy to build a sustainable business over time and across borders, they engage with their stakeholders constructively and regularly. This enables them to align their strategies with what is important to their stakeholders and demonstrates how they contribute to enterprise, innovation and economic growth across the region.

The firm publishes an annual sustainability report, where they explain their sustainability approach, objectives and performance in the context of the year’s operating environment. They also share how they create value for its stakeholders over the short, medium and long-term.

 

Highlights

  • $11 billion total sustainable financing extended to corporates as at the end of 2020
  • $4 billion sustainable financing extended to corporates in 2020 alone
  • $296 million volume of transactions in ESG-focused wealth management products 
  • $781 million UOBAM assets under management that incorporate ESG factors and/or social impact assessment in the investment process
  • $16 million low-income individuals reached by companies that benefited from UOBVM’s impact investments
  • $32 billion COVID-19 relief assistance benefitting around 20,000 business customer accounts
  • $23 million benefits given to their colleagues under its Healthy Employees, Active Lifestyles (HEAL) programme
  • $20 million invested in employee training and development

Targets

  • Maintain zero material cases of non-compliance with regard to tax management.
  • Maintain local procurement spend above 85% to support local suppliers.
  • Keep local employee representation above 90%.
  • Enhance and align the Responsible Financing Policy, practices and disclosures with MAS’s Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management. 
  • Strengthen capacity-building and ensure all relevant colleagues are trained in responsible financing principles, policies and procedures. 
  • Build a sustainable finance portfolio of $15 billion by 2023.
  • Create strong cyber and information security awareness with a “security is everyone’s responsibility” mindset and maintain a 100% completion rate for employee security training
  • Maintain 100% completion of mandatory training on MAS Fair Dealing for all employees. 
  • Handle all non-compliance instances of Fair Dealing in an independent, effective and prompt manner.
  • Equip at least 1,000 students with digital literacy skills and/or digital learning tools across the Group by 2021.
  • Contribute at least $1.5 million to support the social development of art across Asia.
  • Maintain mean Customer Experience (CX) score for Group Retail, Group Wholesale Banking and Markets at above 7.0 based on a 0-10 point scale. 
  • Customer issue resolution turnaround: 90% of general complaints were resolved within five business days across the Group.
  • Ensure 100% of branch colleagues in Singapore complete the Cultivating a Diverse & Service Inclusive Workplace course.
  • Ensure 100% of branch colleagues in Singapore complete the Managing a Diverse Service Environment course.
  • Achieve green building certification for all key wholly-owned UOB buildings.
  • Achieve 14% reduction in electricity use intensity by 2030, with baseline year of 2018. 
  • Achieve 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity (Scope 2) by 2030, with baseline year of 2018.

Progress

  • 1.5 million face masks provided to colleagues
  • >1 million pieces of personal protective equipment donated to healthcare workers and vulnerable communities around the world
  • CSISG improved from 72.6 to 74.3, with the highest ratings among peer banks for contact centre at 7.87, mobile app at 7.89, ATM/Self-service machines at 7.64
  • Outperformed customer issue resolution target with 95% of complaints resolved within five business days in Singapore
  • Group Wholesale Banking and Global Markets: Achieved mean CX score of 8.3
  • Group Retail24: Achieved 8.2 in mean CX, and improved NPS from 23.6% to 34.2%
  • >$6.3 million monetary and in-kind contributions to the community
  • Close to 19,000 hours volunteered by colleagues to serve the community
  • Achieved a 2.1% overall reduction in electricity use intensity compared with 2018
  • Greenhouse gas emissions intensity showed a corresponding decrease of 2.9% compared with 2018
  • $11 billion total sustainable financing extended to corporates as at the end of 2020
  • $4 billion sustainable financing extended to corporates in 2020 alone
  •  As of the end of 2020, their sustainable financing portfolio totaled more than $11 billion. In 2020 alone, they extended $4.3 billion in sustainable financing to their clients, more than four times that in the previous year.
  • $296 million volume of transactions in ESG-focused wealth management products 
  • $781 million UOBAM assets under management that incorporate ESG factors and/or social impact assessment in the investment process
  • +10.6 improvement in Net Promoter Score
  • No fines in respect of any data breach
  • No material information security incidents that impacted customers
  • $16 million low-income individuals reached by companies that benefited from UOBAM’s impact investments
  • $32 billion COVID-19 relief assistance benefitting around 20,000 business customer accounts
  • $23 million benefits given to colleagues under Healthy Employees, Active Lifestyles (HEAL) programme
  • $20 million invested in employee training and development
 

Certificates

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 1: No Poverty

  • In 2018, UOB Asset Management and UOB Venture Management became supporters of the Singapore Stewardship Principles for Responsible Investors, a set of principles intended to encourage investors to voluntarily pursue the spirit of stewardship and good governance.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

  • As a responsible employer, United Overseas Bank is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment where its colleagues can perform at their best. 
  • They believe that taking care of their well-being also helps improve their overall productivity and drives their performance.

SDG 4: Quality Education

  • In 2020, UOB Group Commercial Banking and its clients raised a record of more than $1.8 million during its annual Lunar New Year fundraising in Singapore to support children from low-income backgrounds through education and visual arts.
  • UOB launched UOB My Digital Space, a new multi-year education programme to bridge the digital gap for children from low-income backgrounds across the region.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • UOB Venture Management (UOBVM) has been incorporating ESG considerations into its investment process since 2004. Responsible investment practices are a key pillar in its impact investment strategy.
  • In 2020, UOB Venture Management invested in TaniHub Group (TaniHub), a leading agritech company in Indonesia that connects farmers directly with customers on its integrated agriculture e-commerce and financing platform. 

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 

  • UOB Venture Management’s Asia Impact Investment Fund (AIIF) invests in growth companies across Southeast Asia and China that aim to help people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. 
  • With inclusive finance as a key target sector, the AIIF has invested in providers of micro-loans that help to improve the livelihoods and income resiliency of marginalised groups such as low-income individuals and women micro-entrepreneurs.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • In view of the environmental challenges posed by the emergence of large urban areas, they developed the UOB Sustainable City Solutions, a comprehensive suite of customised financial solutions aimed at creating a positive impact. The solutions leverage the Bank’s core strengths and their ASEAN footprint, and feature cross-sector initiatives that are housed under three sustainable finance umbrella frameworks, namely:
    • UOB Real Estate Sustainable Finance Framework 
    • UOB Smart City Sustainable Finance Framework 
    • UOB Green Financing for Circular Economy Framework

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • The GSSP sets out the requirements they have of their suppliers in order to reduce the environmental and social risks and impact associated with sourcing activities.
  • They focus their efforts on energy optimisation, water conservation, reducing paper consumption and diverting office waste to recycling options. 
  • With operations at office buildings and branches accounting for the majority of their direct environmental footprint, they have implemented a range of programmes throughout their workspaces to conserve resources and to manage waste effectively.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • The firm recognizes that climate risk can translate into known financial risk types for banks including credit risk, market risk, operational risk and liquidity risk, of which they consider the potential credit risk impact to be the most material. 
  • Climate risk is identified, assessed and managed through their Responsible Financing Policy which is integrated into their Credit Risk Management Framework. 

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • The UOB Code of Conduct explicitly prohibits engaging in bribery or corruption in any form. 
  • The Group-wide anti-bribery and corruption policy and procedures include measures and guidance to assess risks, to understand relevant laws and to report concerns. Appropriate training is implemented for all new employees and yearly refresher courses are mandatory for existing employees. 
  • They require employees, contractors, vendors, third parties and other stakeholders to be aware of their anti-bribery and corruption provisions. These parties are encouraged to speak up, and to raise any question or concern which they may have if they see anything that they feel is unethical or runs counter to the anti-bribery and corruption provisions. 
  • There were no confirmed cases of bribery and corruption reported in the UOB Group for the year ending 31 December 2020.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • UOB Venture Management (UOBVM) has been incorporating ESG considerations into its investment process since 2004. Responsible investment practices are a key pillar in its impact investment strategy.
  • In 2020, UOB Venture Management invested in TaniHub Group (TaniHub), a leading agritech company in Indonesia that connects farmers directly with customers on its integrated agriculture e-commerce and financing platform. 

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 

  • UOB Venture Management’s Asia Impact Investment Fund (AIIF) invests in growth companies across Southeast Asia and China that aim to help people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. 
  • With inclusive finance as a key target sector, the AIIF has invested in providers of micro-loans that help to improve the livelihoods and income resiliency of marginalised groups such as low-income individuals and women micro-entrepreneurs.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • In view of the environmental challenges posed by the emergence of large urban areas, they developed the UOB Sustainable City Solutions, a comprehensive suite of customised financial solutions aimed at creating positive impact. The solutions leverage the Bank’s core strengths and their ASEAN footprint, and feature cross-sector initiatives that are housed under three sustainable finance umbrella frameworks, namely:
    • UOB Real Estate Sustainable Finance Framework 
    • UOB Smart City Sustainable Finance Framework 
    • UOB Green Financing for Circular Economy Framework

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • The GSSP sets out the requirements they have of their suppliers in order to reduce the environmental and social risks and impact associated with sourcing activities.
  • They focus their efforts on energy optimisation, water conservation, reducing paper consumption and diverting office waste to recycling options. 
  • With operations at office buildings and branches accounting for the majority of their direct environmental footprint, they have implemented a range of programmes throughout their workspaces to conserve resources and to manage waste effectively.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • The firm recognizes that climate risk can translate into known financial risk types for banks including credit risk, market risk, operational risk and liquidity risk, of which they consider the potential credit risk impact to be the most material. 
  • Climate risk is identified, assessed and managed through their Responsible Financing Policy which is integrated into their Credit Risk Management Framework. 

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • The UOB Code of Conduct explicitly prohibits engaging in bribery or corruption in any form. 
  • The Group-wide anti-bribery and corruption policy and procedures include measures and guidance to assess risks, to understand relevant laws and to report concerns. Appropriate training is implemented for all new employees and yearly refresher courses are mandatory for existing employees. 
  • They require employees, contractors, vendors, third parties and other stakeholders to be aware of their anti-bribery and corruption provisions. These parties are encouraged to speak up and to raise any question or concern which they may have if they see anything that they feel is unethical or runs counter to the anti-bribery and corruption provisions. 
  • There were no confirmed cases of bribery and corruption reported in the UOB Group for the year ending 31 December 2020. 

Evaluation

United Overseas Bank is undoubtedly committed to implementing sustainability into its business operations. The firm publishes reports including their annual Sustainability Report.

The firm’s reported strategies are explicitly in line with many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The company’s progress and targets are numerical, clear, and numerous. 

Furthermore, the firm has many sustainability-related awards, and is notably in pursuit of certifications. Their transparency is noteworthy.

This company has been rated a B

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

United Overseas Bank’s targets and progress are strong. Its compliance with the UN SDGs is excellent, and the firm is undeniably committed to a sustainable business model. The firm also has demonstrated success through listings and certifications. 

However, United Overseas Bank could increase its level of certifications in buildings and still has room to improve regarding their sustainability.

Key Points

  • The firm links its initiatives directly, to the UN SDGs
  • United Overseas Bank has a notably extensive sustainability report, clearly considering it as a serious matter rather than an obligatory one.
  • The firm recognizes the majority of its carbon emissions are due to buildings, and is pursuing certifications as a result.
  • The report does not spend as much time regarding sustainability in its own investments as would be desired.
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