A Case of Sustainability in Leadership: Financial Services
How Amrop secured a business-driven Head of Sustainability for a leading financial services group.
The financial services industry plays a pivotal role in the economy and society: facilitating access to capital and spending. Its activities deeply affect the lives of people, businesses, government and civic institutions. When it comes to sustainability, financial services has a key role to play, and the journey has just started.
How does it all play out in practice? Read on to discover how Amrop helped a major financial services player secure a sustainability leader with business acumen, domain expertise and passion.
In a 2013 landmark declaration1 defining the financial sector’s role and tasks, the WEF warned that trust between the industry, its clients, regulators, investors and society remained fragile. All stakeholders must work together to ensure the financial system fulfilled its economic and societal role, it signaled.
Nearly ten years on, the Edelman Trust Barometer2 reported that trust of the financial sector stands at only 56% among the general population. This puts it close to the bottom of all the sectors surveyed (only social media scores lower).
Nowhere is the imperative for sustainability stronger than in this wide-spectrum industry, and its leaders are striving to raise the bar.
But as a recent Amrop report3 reveals, any firm seeking to improve its sustainability performance faces an array of difficulties and strategic tensions. The Chief Sustainability Officer (or equivalent) has become a hub. And financial services leaders face a particularly stringent regulatory and ESG reporting environment.
A legacy organization with eyes on the horizon
Active since the mid-19th century, our client is a large insurance and banking group serving several million customers with an emphasis on long-term relationships. It takes a leading position on sustainability, emphasizing sustainable value creation, with long-term commitments to its owners, customers and society. Sustainable business is a core value.
The group adheres to the UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Action. It supports the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. It also supports the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) regarding accounting for climate-related risks and opportunities (see links below). It recently launched an ambitious climate roadmap. Its activities feed the UN's 17 global sustainability goals.
The group prioritizes four strategic sustainability axes, related to customers and the way in which it conducts its own business.
“We have worked with the client for many years,” says the Amrop Partner who led the assignment team. “We recently supported them with NEDs for subsidiaries and for executive and senior specialist roles. Amrop has demonstrated an ability to operate within different functional areas such as IT, Finance, and HR. We present a team that combines an understanding of our client and their industry, with functional expertise.”
Download the report
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