Towards A More Comprehensive View of sustainability
“On behalf of the board and our employees, it is my great pleasure to announce the launch of the National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) first Sustainability Report. We have taken a step-leap forward in assessing and describing our sustainability and corporate social responsibility-related impacts, policies, strategies, and improvement programs and initiatives.
In addition to providing superb financial services, we strive relentlessly to bring about measurable economic, social, and environmental benefits to our region. We have dedicated ourselves to fueling innovation, human development and economic prosperity, protecting our environment and people through numerous social initiatives, and working to build healthy communities.
NBK will continue to meet increasing demands for change and transformation. We are implementing technological advancements in our products and services to capture growth opportunities in emerging markets. Along with bank growth, we are pursuing strategies to weave sustainability into our product and service offerings and our overall governance policies and practices. We fully recognize that our stakeholders now expect this integration of sustainability.”
Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Chairman of the Bank and the Community Committee
Evolution of NBK Sustainability-Related Reporting and Disclosure
NBK’s governance practices and financial performance have been covered in NBK’s Annual Reports since our incorporation 65 years ago. Since 2008, NBK has also published an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. In the past, these CSR reports focused primarily on our community giving initiatives in Kuwait, while also highlighting our key environmental programs. We now release this 2016 NBK Sustainability Report as a new approach to our reporting of a wider range of sustainability-related impacts, issues and opportunities of interest to our stakeholders.
Our Stakeholders and Material Issues
NBK’s key stakeholders include employees, customers, investors, communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry and sector bodies, suppliers, regulators and governments. In defining the material issues of concern for NBK, we benchmarked sustainability leaders and competitors in our region, examined leading sustainability indices and raters globally and in the MENA region, and reviewed the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Financial Sector guidelines.
NBK is Now Taking a New Approach to Sustainability
Our stakeholders increasingly expect banking and financial services firms to integrate environmental, social and economic sustainability considerations into risk management and investment choices, product and service offerings, management of resource consumption and emissions, human resource development, safety and wellbeing, community engagement, governance policies and practices and ESG disclosure and reporting. NBK is committed to proactively evolving our sustainability policies and practices, more thoroughly reporting on our impact and management policies and practices, better communicating what we are already doing, and vigorously meeting these changing conditions and more rigorous expectations.
In 1952, NBK started as the first private indigenous bank in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf region. Since our founding as the first local bank in the emerging country of Kuwait, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has held a leadership position in the Gulf region’s banking sector. NBK strives to maintain a market leadership position in providing corporate, consumer and private banking services, and to expand our impact and geographic reach in ways that better serve our customers.
Supporting Economic Growth and Development
In alignment with our objective to support the economic growth of Kuwait, NBK Group is leading the financing of the Kuwait government’s infrastructure development projects within Kuwait’s National Development Plan. NBK provided financing for government mega projects, such as the Al-Zour North IWPP and other Build Operate Transfer concessions (BOT Projects), such as expansion of Sulaibiya Waste Water Treatment plant. NBK also helps finance Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects and corporate expansion projects.
Partnering in Sustainability-Related Projects
NBK is increasingly playing a primary role as financial partner in major sustainability-related projects. Projects already underway and in development phase include the clean fuels refinery upgrades, solar energy projects, a waste-to-energy incinerator, sea water desalination plants, housing provision, and hospital construction.
Clean Fuels Project
During the year, NBK coordinated, structured and arranged KWD 1.2 billion, financing from local banks for the strategic Clean Fuel Project of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). The project, which is part of Kuwait’s USD 99.3 billion economic development plan, involves integration, modernization, and expansion of two of the Middle East’s largest refineries, Mina Abdulla and Mina Al-Ahmadi.
Since our founding NBK has been known as ‘The Bank You Know and Trust.’ Delivering the highest quality service has been foundational to NBK’s dominant position in the local market and growth in the region and beyond, and is integral to how we manage our business day to day.
NBK employees work hard to ensure customers’ experiences in every segment of our business, meet and exceed their expectations. Overall, NBK receives excellent customer satisfaction ratings: 91% in retail banking in Kuwait, 90% in Private Banking, 91% in corporate banking services and 90% in NBK Egypt.
Access to Banking
NBK is actively developing services to meet the special needs of our customers. Based on the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) mandate to provide services to customers with special needs at one branch per governorate, specific branches have been identified to service customers with physical disabilities, visual impairments and hearing difficulties.
NBK Group is committed to the highest standard of responsible and ethical corporate governance, and to transparency and integrity in our management practices and communications. Accordingly we have documented and published our Corporate Governance Structure, Framework and Policies in an effort to communicate them more openly to interested parties.
Key Accomplishments in 2016
During 2016, the Group achieved a number of key accomplishments in our corporate governance, including:
- Reviewed and developed the governance policies and charters in accordance with international practices, applicable rules and regulations issued in Kuwait and supervisory authorities in other countries where the Group operates
- Developed and implemented new automated systems for compliance, operational risk, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (U.S.A), Anti-Money Laundering, combating financing of terrorism
- Evaluated the effectiveness of orporate Governance implementation and development across the Group through providing support and monitoring to governance units at the subsidiaries to help them manage Board and committee affairs at the subsidiaries
- Organized awareness sessions for employees across the Group regarding corporate governance implementation and other regulatory requirements
- Advanced continuous development to the Corporate Governance reporting system across the Group
- Complied with Capital Markets Authority regulations concerning Corporate Governance, with Watani Investment Company (NBK Capital) and Watani Financial Brokerage Company being ranked in the top (10) companies list that fulfill all the CMA requirements
RESPECTING & DEVELOPING PEOPLE
NBK recognizes that competent and committed employees are absolutely critical to building and maintaining customer loyalty and providing quality service. Additionally, employees develop our new product and service offerings to meet the volving needs of customers. Their work and contribution enables NBK to protect and grow our strong market position, build our brand, and enhance our reputation in the community.
Training & Development
In 2015 and 2016, NBK’s investment and attention to employee training and development increased significantly from previous years. NBK invested approximately KWD 1.25 million and KWD 1.3 million in Training and Development in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Our state-of-the-art training center guides and educates employees in customer service and developing financial solutions, risk and compliance, and technical learning.
NBK is committed to embracing diversity and equal opportunity in our workplace. For us, unlike most organizations, the most material diversity-related issue is increasing the percentage of Kuwaiti nationals in our workforce. As indicated in the chart below, in 2016, 66.4% of NBK’s workforce was Kuwaiti. NBK has programs aimed at increasing this percentage.
Employee engagement, loyalty, motivation, willingness to put in extra effort beyond their job description – all of these impact not only employees’ experience and the work climate for all of NBK, but customer satisfaction and business performance overall.
Recognizing this business rationale for supporting employees and creating a positive work environment led NBK to launch the ‘I AM NBK’ program in April 2012 in the Consumer Banking Group, and then organization-wide in June 2014. Our I AM NBK program focuses on engaging every employee in living our values and collaborating in serving customers.
Labor Rights and Human Rights
In both internal operations and for the projects in which we invest, NBK adheres to regulations on human rights, such as indigenous rights and impacts on indigenous peoples and communities, protection of human health, protection of cultural properties, occupational health and safety, rights around involuntary resettlement, stakeholder engagement and participation. We are compliant with all laws regarding child and forced labor, freedom of association, collective bargaining, and non-discrimination.
By taking sustainability initiatives to the next level and strenghthening our efforts to improve the environmental footprint of our operations, NBK’s transition to a low-carbon bank that complies with the Equator Principles has gained significant momentum.
NBK's New LEED-Gold Headquarters Building
NBK’s new LEED-Gold Headquarters Building in Kuwait City is nearing completion. Some of the sustainability design attributes are:
- Approx. 40% energy performance enhancement
- Approx. 30% savings in indoor water use
- Min. 50% construction waste diversion rates
- 80% site open space
- Green Roofs
- Onsite Grey water recycling fulfilling minimum of 10% of total flushing demand
Internal Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Within our operations, NBK has many environmental initiatives to recycle paper, shut off lights in branches over weekends, use power saving equipment, saving power used in air conditioning and lighting, digital documents, recycled toners, reducing transportation through staff assignment and shuttles.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Requirements Met by NBK-Financed Projects
NBK is fully compliant with the EPA’s regulations, both internally (for example in our new Headquarters Building) and also for projects in which NBK invests. Projects are compliant with the Ministry of Electricity and Water’s regulations and energy conservation program, as relevant.
NBK recognizes responsible investment requires assessing risks associated with environmental and social impacts, and is committed to incorporating these sustainability considerations into our investment risk assessment and decision making more generally.
NBK is well known for our strong history of social contribution to the community, and we have traditionally served as a model for Corporate Social Responsibility in Kuwait. Over many years we have demonstrated our commitment to CSR, in particular by supporting healthcare, educational programs aimed at developing Kuwait’s skilled youth, and community educational and healthy lifestyles initiatives.
Our Four Community Contribution Pillars
NBK’s community contribution focuses on Four Primary Pillars: Social Development, Children’s Care, Health, and Environmental Development.
Over the years we have also developed several ‘signature’ NBK community contributions, such as NBK Children’s Hospital, "I Dream to Be" initiatives, Walkathon, and Beach Clean-Ups.
Highlights of Our 2016 Community Initiatives
In 2016 NBK contributed to the following community initiatives:
- First Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant Center in Kuwait
- Support Education
- Be Aware Campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Blood Donation
- "Abdullah Wins" Storybook for Sick Children
- Distributed More Than 1,000 Iftar Meals Daily During the Month of Ramadan
- Support KRCS
- Support Loyac
- Cultural support: Al Shaheed Park
- Support Student Clubs in Universities and Colleges
Overall, NBK’s spending on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives exceeded KWD 170 million during the last two decades, including annual contributions to the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and the recruitment and development of Kuwaiti youth.