Sustainability

When we were founded 200 years ago, one of our primary goals was to actively contribute to the positive development of society and thereby assume responsibility for the society. In order to be able to do this in our daily business, we refer to the 3rd question in our Statement of Purpose - “Is it the right thing to do?”.


Strategy

Our understanding of sustainability is taken from Our Common Future” UN Brundtland Commission 1986), which states that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

For Erste Group, sustainable economic activity means creating added value for people, the environment and for the communities in which we operate. This approach is specifically implemented in 3 areas:

Diversity“ – we are convinced that the uniqueness of individuals (age, gender, cultural background) is essential for finding innovative solutions and for business success.

Environment“ – we strive to have a direct positive impact on the management of natural resources and indirectly through our business dealings.

Social responsibility“ – we are committed as Bank to finance cultural and social activities  but also by encouraging our employees to personally engage in their communities.

Key aspects

Erste Group is aware that each product sold to a customer, each financing decision made, and the use of resources for office operations all have an effect on our environment. This awareness has been implemented in Erste Group’s environment strategy.

Companies that are committed to diversity and integration benefit from motivated employees, a more positive brand image and greater customer satisfaction. Innovation and sustainable success are based on the different skills, levels of experience and perspectives of our employees. Erste Group sees diversity as an important component of its corporate strategy, which is also taken into account in the selection and promotion of talent. The individuality and diversity of our employees play an important part in fulfilling the needs of our diverse range of customers. In the context of our diversity principle, we concentrate on equality of female and male employees in management positions, the work-life balance and the promotion of different generations and cultures.

Logo Vermehrt Schönes

Sponsoring as we understand is the voluntary promotion and support of institutions, initiatives and projects in the cultural, social and education areas. The ExtraVALUE Programme is our commitment to social responsibility and to values that our enterprise deems worthy of support and promotion.

Sponsoring as we understand it is ExtraVALUE sponsoring.

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Financial Life Park

The Erste Financial Life Park, known as “FLiP”, is a facility unique in the world which is aimed at improving the financial skills of children and young people. Located on the Erste Campus in Vienna, FLiP is a place where financial knowledge is conveyed in an innovative way and where the importance of finance as part of personal life planning can be experienced. FLiP is thereby promoting personal financial responsibility, providing the means of avoiding individual debt, and ultimately also contributing to the prevention of poverty. FLiP offers an integrative approach, providing barrier-free multilingual access to financial education for all types of schools and all levels of education. It is an independent facility without any marketing or sales purpose. The objectivity of its content is ensured by an academic advisory panel of experts from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Stanford University, the Austrian debt advisory service and OECD.

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As an institution, we want to have a positive impact on the prosperity and future of our region.  We do this in our daily work with our clients, as well as through the social engagement of our Group and our employees. The Time Bank is based on the idea that money is not the only currency that one can spend. Very often personal engagement and hands-on help is needed much more. The goal of Time Bank is to make social engagement easy and uncomplicated for our employees.  For years, many colleagues have made an important contribution to civil society by volunteering their time with our partner organizations, as well as providing donations in-kind.

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There are an estimated 40,000 people in Austria who no longer have a bank account. For various reasons (mostly unemployment, divorce or illness) they have slipped into a state of social or economic need, and in the end they have also lost their bank account. ERSTE Foundation has therefore set up Zweite Sparkasse, which offers people who have lost their bank account a credit balance account without any overdraft facility. However, this is only the first step on the way to a life without debt, which each individual has to travel by their own efforts.

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Erste Stiftung Logo

ERSTE Foundation was established in 2003 on the basis of “Erste österreichische Spar-Casse”. It carries the public welfare principle on which the Sparkassen banks are based into the present age. As an Austrian savings bank private foundation, it is committed to non-profit activity on the one hand, and at the same time holds special responsibility as the main shareholder of Erste Group.

ERSTE Foundation is a powerful partner of a strong and self-confident civil society in Central and South-Eastern Europe. It invests part of its dividends in strengthening civil society, the inclusion of socially disadvantaged groups and the support of contemporary, socially engaged art.

Find out more:

www.erstestiftung.org

https://www.facebook.com/ERSTEFoundation/

https://twitter.com/erstefoundation

Materiality analysis

The starting point of non-financial reporting is a materiality analysis. With the involvement of the relevant stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, society, environment, suppliers), matters of economic, ecological and social relevance that are of material importance to Erste Group are identified.

Which topics are relevant for which interest groups and how we treat them can be found in the materiality analysis as part of our Annual Report. You can download it here:  

Policies

The Code of Conduct provides a reference point for our actions and behaviour and serves as a binding set of rules governing the behaviour for our daily business activities.
It describes what is important to us and makes our commitments clear and sets the basis to act as a good corporate citizen. The Code of Conduct shows that we need to act responsibly, respectfully and sustainably in all aspects of our operations.

The Code of Conduct for suppliers ensures that the basic principles and standards of Erste Group are adhered to by all persons and companies with whom we have business relations.

Our goal is to create principles of responsible finance for socially, environmentally and ethically sensitive sectors. As a result, we have created the following policy.

The goal of the Guidelines for Responsible Finance for the Energy Sector is to steer our business activities in this area to support the development of the economy in our home market while managing environmental risks.

Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important in communicating with stakeholders. In our environmental, energy and climate strategy, you can find out how Erste Group handles this important topic.

Erste Group sees diversity and inclusion as an integral part of its business strategy and as a key point in being attractive as an employer.

Goals/Ratings

Diversity-Goals

At the beginning of 2014, our Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board set a group wide internal target, which is to have a female share of 35% women by 2019 in executive and B1 management and supervisory boards.

Learn more about our further diversity activities


Environment-Goals

In 2012, for the first time, reduction targets for energy and paper consumption and CO2 emissions at the end of 2016 were set at Group level and largely met or exceeded. In 2018, new environmental targets will be set to meet our responsibility to avoid climate change.

Learn more about our further environmental activities

Ratings

Erste Group Bank AG has been part of the Euronext Vigeo Index Eurozone 120 since June 2018.
This index contains companies that provide the most advanced environmental, social and governance services. The index components are reviewed every 6 months in December and June.

http://www.vigeo-eiris.com/

https://www.euronext.com/en

Erste Group Bank AG is a member of VÖNIX in 2018/2019.

http://www.voenix.at

FTSE Russell (the brand name of FTSE International Limited and Frank Russell Company) confirms that Erste Group Bank AG has been independently rated in accordance with the FTSE4Good criteria and has met the requirements to become a part of the FTSE4Good Index Series. Developed by global index provider FTSE Russell, the FTSE4Good Index Series measures the performance of companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. The FTSE4Good indices are used by a variety of market participants to create and value responsible investment funds and other products.

Erste Group Bank will continue to be part of the FTSE4Good Index Series in 2018.

http://www.ftse.com/products/indices/FTSE4Good

In October 2018 oekom research awarded Prime Status to the Erste Group Bank AG.

Tax policy and anti corruption

Taxes

As one of the leading financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe, we have a greater responsibility - also in dealing with the state and tax authorities. Therefore, we undertake not to choose aggressive tax practices or support third-party tax avoidance models. The Group Tax Code of Conduct sets out these basic principles.

Erste Group is a responsible tax payer, paying the amount of taxes legally due in any territory, in accordance with local legislation and international accepted principles.

Here is an overview of the incurred taxes on Erste Group's income in the various countries in 2017 in EUR million:

Austria Czech Republic Romania Slovakia Hungary Croatia
Serbia
268,7 Mio 125,8 Mio 48,6 Mio 51,9 Mio 15,9 Mio 22,9 Mio 1,6 Mio

  Source: Annual report 2017

Anti corruption

Erste Group makes every effort to avoid corruption and conflicts of interest. These range from various mandatory and voluntary employee training courses, risk assessments for outsourcing activities to the setting of proactive measures to identify and avoid conflicts of interest and corruption.

The fight against corruption is a logical consequence of our Code of Conduct, in which we commit ourselves to comply with all legal regulations and framework conditions. Erste Group has been operating the whistleblowing system "Erste Integrity" since 2014, in which anonymous criminal cases and breaches of banking supervisory law can be reported. The outward sign of our commitment is also our membership in "Transparency International", in which our Chairman of the Supervisory Board, DI. Mag. Rödler, is on the Executive Board of the Austrian Chapter.

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