Danske Bank: Integrating corporate responsibility in its core business

In January 2016  Danske Bank achieved 7th place in the 2016 Global 100 (G100) Most Sustainable Corporations Index.

Announced in January 2016 at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, by research firm Corporate Knights, the annual G100 Index considers a broad range of sustainable business factors including how organisations balance environmental, social, and governance performance while delivering superior returns to investors.

Impressively, Danske Bank achieved seventh place in the global index from 4,609 companies assessed, making it the highest-ranked Denmark company.

Canstar caught up with Dorte Vibe Eckhoff, Head of Corporate Responsibility in Danske Bank, for a Q&A on the initiatives that saw the Danske Bank success.

Q: Your G100 ranking this year is a huge achievement; highest-ranked Denmark company and highest-ranked bank. What are the sustainability initiatives over the past 12 months that you are proudest of?

A: First we would like to emphasise that we believe that we have taken some firm steps to improve our work on corporate responsibility, but there is more work to be done. During the past 12 months we have updated our Corporate Responsibility strategy through to 2018 with focus on listening to our stakeholders and integrating corporate responsibility in our core business.

Among our main achievements is a new elementary school programme on financial literacy, new online community and events supporting smaller businesses and new social sector banking solutions supporting fundraising opportunities for NGOs.

Q: Why is sustainability so important?
As a leading financial institution in the Nordic countries, we believe that Danske Bank plays an important role in ensuring financial stability and contributing to the prosperity of our customers and the communities we are part of.

Q: Can you share any sustainability goals that you are looking to implement over the next few years?

A: We will continue the work of integrating corporate responsibility in our core business. We have defined five areas for this effort:

  • contributing to society,
  • fostering responsible customer relationships,
  • being a responsible employer,
  • reducing our environmental footprint, and
  • ensuring responsible supplier relationships.

We also believe that we have a responsibility to use our expertise and competencies for the benefit of society. We have identified two strategic themes in areas where we can add value:

  • financial confidence, which is about enabling people to make sound financial decisions, and
  • accessibility, which is about a responsible transition to future financial services.

Q: Does the size of your organisation make it easier or more challenging to achieve sustainability goals?
We believe that achieving sustainability goals is always a challenge – regardless of the size of your company- and will require efforts across the whole organisation.

Q: How important is it to have staff engagement and commitment to your goals, and how do your achieve this?
Staff engagement is very important to achieving our goals. Many of our employees have participated in the development of the updated strategy and are now working actively to integrate corporate responsibility in our core business processes. Our employees have also participated in corporate volunteering and donations in various ways for many years. One example is teaching a local schools or participating in debt counselling programmes.

You can read more about Danske Bank’s sustainability objectives here and access the full list of 2016 Global 100 (G100) Most Sustainable Corporations Index winners here.

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