At Nedbank Group, we recognise that our sustainability journey is always going to be one filled with discovery, adventure, and no small amount of challenge. While Nedbank Group is proud of the many milestones we have reached on our way to becoming one of South Africa’s leading sustainable banks, we are also cognisant of the path that still lies ahead – and we are determined to continue leading the way to ensure that what we do today impacts positively on people and the planet for generations to come.
The sustainability road we are travelling is not without its potholes along the way – the most significant of which, over the past 12 months, was undoubtedly the global economic crisis. Nedbank was by no means completely immune to the effects of the world’s economic downturn, but thanks to our solid foundation, built over many years on integrated sustainability principles, our bank managed to weather the global economic storm.
In fact, if the financial turmoil of the past year has taught us anything, it is the value that exists in our commitment to making sustainability a core focus of our business. I am convinced that, were it not for Nedbank’s commitment to ingraining sustainability in all its facets into the strategic intent of the business over the last two decades, our group would not have emerged as well from the global financial crisis.
Equally important is the evidence, presented by Nedbank’s performance in the face of the recent market adversity, that sustainability involves far more than merely managing to stay in business. We have come to appreciate that true sustainability involves the integration of environmental, social, cultural, and economic matters at the heart of our business.
While it is true that sustainability is about preserving the planet for those to come, at Nedbank we are acutely aware that this is only one aspect of it. Sustainability is also about working to ensure prosperity for all. It’s about balancing the interests of all stakeholders in the business in a way that contributes tangibly to the long-term growth of our country’s economy. Possibly, most importantly, it is about seeing all these things as equally important and focusing on achieving all of them at the same time.
For Nedbank sustainability is ultimately about walking the path to a better future, together, and helping one another to complete the journey. This philosophy lies at the heart of our sustainability journey, and it drives our aspiration to Make Things Happen, for our clients, staff, partners and shareholders, as well as the communities and environment in which we operate.
It is also this philosophy that has seen our sustainability efforts meet with no small amount of success, as evidenced by the many accolades received by Nedbank Group during 2009. These have included a rating as the leading ‘green’ corporate in the Ask Afrika Trust Barometer®, our leading ranking in the South African Carbon Disclosure Project Leadership Index, and our four-star Green Star SA rating – the first such rating in the country – for our Nedbank phase II building in Sandton, Johannesburg.
But while such awards and recognition certainly encourage us to continue our sustainability efforts, the real reward comes from the knowledge that we are doing business right; and in the process we are creating a bank, a country and a planet that offer a brighter future for all.