Bank Windhoek Holdings (BWH) has released its first comprehensive Sustainability Report that presents a baseline analysis of its sustainability performance from the period July 01, 2014 to June 01, 2015.
Sustainability is a key strategic theme for the group following its development of a comprehensive sustainability and reporting framework.
This framework integrates environmental, social and governance dimensions into the group’s everyday operating practices. “The group’s objective has always been to deliver sustainable long-term value to its stakeholders by growing in a responsible manner. Sustainability is, therefore, a core long-term value for BWH and its entities and our strategy is founded upon addressing sustainability holistically to include environmental, social and economic issues,” said Christo de Vries, Managing Director at Bank Windhoek Holdings, with the launch of the report.
“Our group believes that growth is coupled with an acute sense of the group’s social, economic and environmental responsibilities. Our group has a proven track record of being a partner in Namibia’s socio-economic development and our commitment to serve the local communities in which we operate is stronger than ever. We acknowledge that our role in society has never been more important and that we have the power to help communities achieve their social and economic potential,” De Vries said.
“It is always tempting to make sustainability a compliance issue and adhere only to the lowest environmental or social standards for as long as possible,” De Vries said.
“However, our philosophy is to look at the issue of sustainability strategically and to adopt the best relevant practices. The role of leadership is crucial in accomplishing our sustainability vision. Our challenge is to develop a culture in which both leadership and employees hold shared assumptions and beliefs about the importance of balancing economic efficiency, social equity and environmental accountability.” “To achieve this, our commitment to social and environmental concerns must be communicated consistently, both in words and in actions. The shared beliefs have to be supported by a formal performance management system. We took the approach assigning ownership of our key sustainability focus areas to a number of executives within BWH, rather than one department.”
The group has identified specific sustainability indicators and developed measureable targets for each area.
“Most importantly, I believe that ‘charity begins at home’. One of our most important stakeholders to consider is our employees. The success of implementing sustainability is closely aligned to levels of motivation, which we aim to increase through the development of a unique value proposition for all employees,” De Vries said.