Corporate Responsibility (CR) is embedded in the core of de Volksbank. Thus, the responsibility for the concept does not lie with a central body, but with various departments within the organisation. In addition to our overarching responsibility for CR, de Volksbank pays specific attention to its sustainable investment policy, sustainability and the Manifesto; focus areas for which various departments are responsible.
The responsibility for the development and implementation of the CR policy lies with the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Strategy Director, as a member of the Strategy Committee, is responsible for developing the CR strategy. The responsibility for the implementation of this strategy lies with various departments and disciplines within the bank. The CR Manager reports to the Strategy Director and the Strategy Committee and is responsible for the coordination and day-to-day management of various non-financial topics. The CR Manager thus maintains relationships with relevant stakeholders inside and outside the organisation.
The CR department reports to the Board of Directors on progress towards objectives and discusses new proposals or developments with the Board every quarter. Furthermore, the CR department coordinates the reporting and data collection related to non-financial topics in the annual report, stakeholder dialogues as well as the monitoring and evaluation of objectives. The responsibility to provide data for various external benchmarks also lies with this department.
De Volksbank has an Advisory Board whose task it is to collect sufficient ideas from the outside world on issues that are important to the organisation, and to engage in stakeholder dialogues. The board, comprising seven members from trade and industry, politicians, science and NGOs, meets three times a year. Topics discussed range from strategic issues to operational issues and from CR and the Manifesto to brand positioning.
Internal coordination on the investment policy takes place between the Sustainability Policy & Research department of ASN Bank, the Manifesto Director and the Director of Sustainability. Externally, ties are maintained and strengthened with NGOs, other financial institutions, scientists, politicians and the media. ASN Bank takes the lead in maintaining and implementing the investment policy, the policy to achieve a carbon neutral balance sheet by 2030, and in setting up other initiatives in the field of human rights and biodiversity. In addition, there are ties with commercial and staff departments, i.e. the SME Service Centre, Sustainable Living team and Financial Markets, to assist these departments in setting objectives (KPIs), and in effectively implementing and achieving these objectives.
To embed the Manifesto more strongly into the organisation, a specific position has been added at management level, i.e. the role of Manifesto Director. The latter coordinates the cultural adjustments associated with the implementation of the Manifesto's core ideas in particular.
In addition to this, the position of Director of Sustainability of de Volksbank was created in 2016 to ensure the practical detailing of the bank's carbon neutrality objective. Part of the director’s responsibilities is to strengthen the identity and positioning of de Volksbank’s brands as well as to maintain and expand its social network.