Gulf International Bank (GIB) has published its inaugural group-wide sustainability report showing its commitment to sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Citing a global trend toward sustainability, the report highlights the group’s sustainability efforts, strategy and sustainability framework.
GIB offers a portfolio of Shariah compliant products, governed by two Shariah boards — one for international transactions and another specifically for Saudi Arabia. The pan-GCC bank has participated in several sustainable financing deals including a club transaction for a National Energy Services Reunited Corporation sustainability-linked term loan, which was the first of its kind within the MENA oilfield services sector. The bank also participated in Majid Al Futtaim’s first sustainability-linked syndicated revolving credit facility. In 2020, GIB’s asset management arm, GIB Asset Management, established its Islamic sustainable thought leadership by publishing ‘Religion, Philanthropy and Risk: ESG and Islamic Finance’.
“The inaugural Gulf International Bank Sustainability Report is not a new departure for GIB. What is new is that we are now proactively and formally reporting through the lens of sustainability. Recent years have seen sustainability and ESG considerations move to the top of the agenda for business and finance around the world … However, we believe that it is not sufficient to simply incorporate ESG principles into a business; they must be integrated into its strategy, its operations and its stakeholder relations,” Venetia Bell, the group chief sustainability officer of GIB, commented.
Reducing carbon emission is a key sustainability target for GIB. It reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 31% in 2021 compared with the previous year. The bank plans on measuring its energy use, water use, waste management and recycling from 2022 onward.
The inaugural sustainability report included the launch of GIB’s sustainability framework. The board of directors approved the GIB Sustainability Framework in December 2021 which outlines its vision of integrating sustainable finance across its businesses. A milestone for the bank on its sustainability journey, the framework seeks to provide a comprehensive structure to ensure that sustainability is embedded in the group’s approach throughout all its offerings.
The framework defines its sustainability governance, sustainability culture, the incorporation of sustainability considerations in policies and procedures, the integration of sustainability considerations in executive remuneration and the overall regulatory context.