Key social performance indicators for financial institutions are set out in recommendations published today.
Working within a project called SPI-Finance 2002, international banks, insurance companies, and other stakeholders have identified indicators for use in public reporting that are unique to explaining the social performance of financial institutions. The indicators supplement a broader set of sustainability indicators set out in guidelines developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
This is one of the first pilot sector supplements to the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Similar supplements for other industry sectors are expected to follow.
The GRI Guidelines contain the core indicators for sustainability reporting by all sectors, including finance. They are designed to enable companies and other organisations to prepare comparable reports across the triple bottom line of their economic, environmental, and social performance. Recognising that one size does not fit all, sector supplements are designed for use in combination with the Guidelines, to go beyond general sustainability issues and cover those issues specific to a particular sector. Both the Guidelines and the financial services supplement are being developed and field-tested within GRIs multi-stakeholder process, which includes business, finance, accountancy, non-governmental organizations, organised labour, and others.
Performance indicators released today specific to financial services cover socially relevant aspects of retail banking, investment banking, asset management, and insurance. The indicators help highlight company contributions and roles in sensitive areas such as improving access to financial services for disadvantaged populations and to small and medium enterprises. Developing country debt and human rights are among the issues touched upon by the investment banking indicators. There is also an indicator addressing the provision of tailored and innovative products and services applying special ethical/sustainability criteria.
Workplace indicators range from employee satisfaction through to senior management remuneration. Reporting institutions are encouraged to disclose bonuses which are not oriented purely towards short term financial success, but which contain additional sustainability elements.
The new supplement will help financial institutions and interested report readers to analyse specific sectoral aspects of sustainability. Continued use of the core Guidelines by all companies will promote comparability between sectors. Through a feedback process, this pilot supplement will provide GRI with valuable experience on how to incorporate sector-specific issues into its broader reporting framework.