The SBM Group has officially launched its Sustainability Agenda, reiterating its commitment to continue to promote sustainable business practices and responsible corporate behaviours, alongside strengthening its contribution to inclusive communities and economic development within the countries where it has a presence.
The strategic agenda underpins the Group’s sustainable goal of committing to a long-term comprehensive sustainability roadmap that embodies the guiding principles of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) best practices, while contributing to the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In his address during the launch event, the Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, stated: “The unveiling of the SBM Group’s Sustainability Agenda highlights the importance of meaningful partnerships, collaboration and knowledge sharing involving both the public and private sectors in order to accelerate the country’s progress towards a sustainable future. The Government will ensure a brighter future for the coming generations by making sustainability the foundation upon which a resilient and thriving economy will be built. We came up with a series of unprecedented measures and policies over the last few years so as to catalyse the country’s transition to a greener and more sustainable economy, while continuing to invest in green energy with the aim for it to become one of the pillars of our economy.”
To help fulfil its mission, SBM seeks to advance environmental and social progress, and to conduct business in a way that creates long-term value for the Group and for future generations, while being guided by its core values of customer-centricity, integrity and trustworthiness.
“Banking and financial institutions, such as ours, play a pivotal role in crafting a sustainable future for our societies, communities and the population. Through our Sustainability Agenda, we are giving a strengthened and renewed meaning and impetus to our corporate responsibility, in tune with the exigencies of a fast-changing world. Aligned with our core and long-standing purpose of triggering meaningful and positive change in the economies and societies in which we operate, our framework defines how we aspire to constantly promote the sound and sustainable interests of our organisation and our numerous stakeholders,” says Mr. Sattar Hajee Abdoula, Group Chairman of SBM.
The SBM Group’s Sustainability Agenda seeks to thrive on transparency, open engagement and partnerships. It is geared towards promoting impactful and durable progress that addresses the challenges and imperatives of a fast-changing world.
The SBM Group Sustainability Agenda is driven by 3 core pillars:
Supported by 13 commitments and 50 initiatives, SBM Group aspires towards an equitable society, a vibrant economy and a zero-carbon world. These core pillars express the Group’s consistent engagement to lowering its environmental footprint, supporting social fairness, and generating responsible and sustainable economic growth, while being consistent with the country’s ambitions for sustainable development. The work across these pillars is interrelated, and the Group is focused on putting its head and heart together to connect and innovate, to challenge and support each other with the aim to help rewire our society as well as achieve systemic change at the pace and scale required to attain climate targets.
SBM has already spearheaded several initiatives in this regard. On the social front, through the SBM Foundation, SBM has awarded, to date, over 2,000 scholarships to students from underprivileged backgrounds across the island. In the same vein, the SBM Foundation provided financial assistance to 24 non-governmental organisations, disbursing MUR 16.1 million for community development initiatives in 2022.
SBM subsidiaries in Kenya, India and Madagascar have also strengthened their commitment to sustainability. SBM Kenya, for example, has sponsored a large solar home system project for around 470,000 Kenyans, while SBM India has launched the first ever branch to be designed inside a container, which also offers minimal environmental footprint. This is a first in India and sets an example in the banking landscape, offering all essential amenities of a full-service branch to the rural population. SBM Madagascar is actively participating in and coordinating a number of CSR activities aimed at assisting needy sections of society by providing access to education and basic requirements, among other things.
“Our Sustainability Agenda is more than a checkbox. It is an essential component of who we are as an organisation. It is our responsibility to act in ways that enhance the world in which we live. As we continue to work towards weaving environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into the Group’s operations and decision-making processes, we look forward to engaging into necessary partnerships, embracing the relevant ecosystems and championing catalytic public-private partnerships that will open doors for change. We firmly believe that financial institutions are crucial stakeholders in meeting the pressing challenges that climate change and social inequality represent today,” says Mr. Raoul Gufflet, Group Chief Executive Officer of SBM.
“The unveiling of this framework is yet another step of an exciting journey that will see the rollout and implementation of numerous significant initiatives across the Group in the coming months. This journey starts at home, with our teams, so that we can foster a culture of sustainability in the workplace while extending it to our customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. Put simply, we must all RE:ACT to have the greatest IMPACT on our communities,” adds Mr. Gufflet.