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Baltic International Bank sets the Sustainable Development Goals in line with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative

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Victor Bolbat. Photo: Toms Norde
Developing the Bank's strategy and moving towards the overall goal of becoming a strong and sustainable investment Bank based on the internationally acclaimed ESG (Environmental. Social. Governance) approach, Baltic International Bank has set the Sustainable Development Goals under the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and is committed to achieving these goals in the Bank's operations and processes. By 2030, the United Nations (UN) has approved a total of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In its activity, the Bank will focus on seven of them.

Responsible banking principles of the UNEP Financial Initiative

The UNEP FI sets out six principles for responsible banking. The first is alignment which requires the Bank to align its business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement, and relevant national and regional frameworks. The second principle of responsible banking is about impact constantly increasing the positive impact and reducing the negative impact on society and the environment. The third principle of responsible banking is our customers as the Bank commits itself to working responsibly with its customers and counterparties to encourage them to adopt sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations. The other three goals are related to stakeholders and define responsible cooperation with stakeholders and their involvement in the achievement of society’s goals; governance and goal setting through a responsible culture and efficient management of the Bank; and finally, the sixth goal is about transparency and accountability with the Bank committing itself to being transparent about and accountable for its influence and contribution to all processes and achievement of society’s goals.

“The banking sector has an important role to play in promoting sustainable development. It can set an example for others directing society towards a sustainable economy, for instance, by encouraging investment in environmentally friendly and sustainable projects. Baltic International Bank bases its day-to-day processes and activities on the ESG (Environmental. Social. Governance) approach which encompasses all areas of the Bank's activity allowing it to succeed in a sustainable and socially responsible manner; so, our desire to set and implement the Sustainable Development Goals under the UNEP FI which is a comprehensive initiative that operates at both micro and macro level, covering a wide range of areas from employee concerns to responsible consumption, climate protection, poverty and inequality at all levels, is only natural”, emphasized Victor Bolbat, chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals, which Baltic International Bank will implement in its activity, are organically embedded in sustainability activities excellently complementing and enriching them as we are proud to be the first local equity bank in Latvia to receive the highest Platinum Award of the Sustainability Index in our country this year,” added Victor Bolbat.

“Each of the Sustainable Development Goals is also relevant for Latvia, and our country is committed to promoting them through prosperity, inclusive society and sustainability. It is clear that this can only be done jointly, and business involvement plays a crucial role. Baltic International Bank is one of the first domestic companies to choose, from a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals, the goals that are most relevant to it and commit itself to meeting them by tailoring them to its own interests, needs and possibilities. We expect the interest of local businesses to grow significantly in the near future, and, as new companies become aware of their wider economic, social and environmental impact, they will align their sustainability plans with global goals,” said Dace Helmane, director of the Institute for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility.

Bank's 7 Sustainable Development Goals

Since its foundation, it has been important for the Bank to maintain a healthy lifestyle and promote well-being at all ages which is why “Good Health and Well-Being” is the first Sustainable Development Goal that the Bank focuses on in its activity. The Bank cares for its employees by creating a supportive culture for children and families in the work environment, and, as a responsible employer, ensures motivating working conditions, balancing work and leisure time, and organising special events for the families and children of its employees. Caring for society, the Bank organises the Blood Donor Day and provides diverse support to cultural and literary projects, for instance, by sponsoring the publication of the unique book "Family Coats of Arms in Contemporary Latvia”.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal providing for "Poverty Eradication" in all its forms and at all levels, the Bank engages in a variety of community activities – renders annual support to the boarding schools where, within the framework of charities, the Bank’s employees jointly provide footwear, clothing, games and sports equipment and other things useful for children, donate computer equipment to Latvian schools, participate in various donation collection initiatives to support children and families in need.

Baltic International Bank renders socially significant support to the Holy Family House, a multifunctional family support centre that enables families with children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities to receive spiritual, social, psychological and educational support, and integrates Christian values into society, as well as to the day childcare centre “Teresa's Home” which provides social services for disabled children living in Riga.

The Bank is committed to providing affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to all in line with the Sustainable Development Goal "Affordable and Clean Energy" whereby the Bank offers and supports alternative investment ESG projects, such as the current wind energy investment project.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal "Decent Work and Economic Growth", the Bank promotes stable and sustainable economic growth, full employment and good work for all by caring for its employees and paying its taxes and salaries responsibly. This is also evidenced by the "Family Friendly" award given to the Bank for the third year in a row by the Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia, one of the criteria of which is taking care of the needs and comfort of the employees.

Innovations, which also lie at the heart of the Sustainable Development Objective "Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure", run throughout all of the Baltic International Bank’s operational processes. In addition to supporting start-ups, especially in financial technology, and implementing innovative solutions such as Open Banking or open banking platform for cooperation Sandbox, the Bank is also working on improving its infrastructure through an ambitious, large-scale project in the Kalēju Quarter where the Bank performs renovation of the oldest building in Riga with a total investment of approximately EUR 12 million.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal "Responsible Consumption and Production", the Bank promotes sustainable consumption and resource use. For instance, in 2018 the Bank reduced its water consumption by 9.9% compared to 2017; the Bank also sorts waste of which almost half (42%) is recycled. Since 2016, the Bank has started monitoring electricity consumption, and set itself the target of reducing it by 5% in 2017. Lighting has been optimised, and some of the bulbs were replaced by LED bulbs. The Bank also purchases electricity from renewable sources. Heat consumption is also reduced because of the careful adjustment of the equipment to the needs of the employees, as well as eliminating unnecessary consumption. There is also regular environmental education for employees.

Energy consumption has a major impact on CO2 emissions and their impact on the climate. The Bank reduced its CO2 emissions by 5% (in 2018 compared to 2017) in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal "Caring for the Climate" under which the Bank also supports sustainable projects with a lasting public contribution.

About the United Nations Environmental Programme Financial Initiative (UNEP FI)

The United Nations Environment Program is a leading international environmental body that sets the agenda for environmental issues worldwide, promotes the implementation of coherent environmental and sustainability processes within the United Nations system, and acts as an authoritative advocate for environmental issues at the international level. The UNEP FI is an international partnership between the UNEP and the financial sector. More than 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and investors, are working with UNEP FI to bring about systemic financial change in support of a sustainable world. UNEP FI brings together leading international banks, regional leaders, development banks and specialised environmental banks.

About Baltic International Bank

Baltic International Bank has been active in the Latvian financial market for 26 years and is one of the most experienced banks in the field of individual customer service in Latvia. The Bank provides high quality products and services tailored to the individual financial needs of its customers, as well as investment solutions based on the sustainable ESG (Environmental. Social. Governance) principles. The Bank cooperates with the world's leading capital management companies specialising in investments in energy efficient companies and renewable energy production, while at the same time facilitating capital growth for investors and taking care of the environment. The corporate values of Baltic International Bank are expertise, reliability and succession.

 
11-09-2019
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№10(115)Октябрь 2019
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