Home Banking & Finance Gulf International Bank issues inaugural sustainability report

Gulf International Bank issues inaugural sustainability report

Gulf International Bank (GIB) announced that it has published the Bank’s first groupwide Sustainability Report (the Report) which shows GIB’s commitment to sustainable growth and performance against Environmental, Social and Governance indicators.

The Report provides an overview of GIB’s strategic approach to sustainability and the Bank’s direct activities and initiatives and discloses them in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for the year ending 31 December 2021.

It also sets out the values and principles that guide the Bank’s behaviours via a Group Sustainability Framework that was adopted in 2021 to ensure that sustainability is embedded in GIB’s approach and offerings. These include sustainability-linked loans to clients, micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) financing, advisory on green sukuk issuance and sustainable asset management solutions.

Among the Report’s highlights are a number of significant milestones achieved during the year:

  • 31% reduction in scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions relative to 2020
  • 29.6% female representation in 2021, up from 25% in 2018
  • Launch of the Sustainable World Fund, which offers investors the opportunity to invest in a fully sustainable vehicle
  • Issuance of a US$625 million Sustainability-linked Syndicated Loan for GIB – the first for a Bahrain headquartered bank and a first for a majority Saudi-owned bank
  • Incorporation of sustainability in Risk Management and Profiling for all clients – the programme began in 2021 and is being rolled out on a phased basis through 2022
  • Introduction of a supplier code of conduct that seeks to ensure the Bank’s supply chain operates on sustainable lines

Commenting, Abdulaziz Al-Helaissi, Group Chief Executive Officer of GIB, said, “This time last year, every meeting room at GIB’s HQ had a supply of plastic water bottles.  Today, there are none in the building.  Whilst this is a tiny proportion of the estimated 1.4 billion plastic bottles used every day globally, for us it was a very visible manifestation of the cultural change underway at GIB and every person can play their part to support the institution they work for.  Reducing plastic and greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing our diversity and inclusion, are only some of the improvements we have made as we aim to become a more sustainable bank.  Most importantly, we have begun to offer a set of sustainable finance products to support our client in their own sustainability efforts.”

Venetia Bell, Group Chief Sustainability Officer of GIB, added, “We believe that finance can be a force for good. It occupies a unique place in business and commerce with banks, like GIB, acting as enablers of growth and development and influencing and supporting the wider economy. This belief in the important role we have to play underpins our commitment to continuing to strengthen our ESG performance and to leading by example. Our first report affirms that our sustainability strategy is already making material progress and delivering real outcomes for the Bank, our clients and other stakeholders. We know there is a great deal more to do and look forward to bringing ESG and sustainability considerations even further into the mainstream of our business, our culture and our offerings throughout 2022 and beyond.”