"Social Sustainability Leader-MENA Region Reinsurance Partner of the Year-Americas"
The current global trend to integrate sustainability principles into business processes has gone well beyond the concerns of reputation management. Social, economic and environmental upheavals in the 21st century have led businesses across the world to prioritise sustainability at the heart of their business agendas. The idea that the social responsibility of a business is limited to contributing a portion of profits to community development initiatives is no longer a sufficient means to tackle the sustainable development agenda.
As the leading financial services corporation in the MENA region, EFG Hermes is committed to leading by example and communicating the importance of sustainable business practices both internally and externally. Management has clearly articulated that achieving sustainability goals goes hand in hand with achieving our operational targets; thus, we have taken significant steps to establish a business model that can strike a balance between responsible economic growth and sustainability-oriented business practice.
"We set a goal of making sustainability central to our thinking in everything we do."
In 2014, we developed a set of guiding principles to function as the key pillars that support operations and benchmark performance. These principles, known as the firm’s “Six P’s are: people, positioning, presence, product offering, profitability and last but not least, public responsibility. Public Responsibility, which to us means adding value for all the stakeholders within the societies, economies and environments in which we do business, is something that we take seriously and rigorously.
In 2015 we took a step further by setting out clear policies and procedures to measure and report on sustainability and raise awareness among our stakeholders on how their actions can make a difference. We set a goal of making sustainability central to our thinking in everything we do. We realised that achieving systemic change required a transformation in corporate culture that starts on an individual level, moving through the layers of our business and extending to central stakeholders.
In 2016, we established a Corporate Social Responsibility Department committed to helping develop the long-term, sustainable business models and citizenship initiatives that will make tangible contributions to our communities and to our environment. Our internal sustainability transformation has taken several solid steps:
• In 2014, we committed to issuing annual, standalone sustainability reports that include an overview of our impactful initiatives and illustrate the successful integration of sustainability in our overall strategy. The second report was issued in 2015.
• We formed the Corporate Sustainability Committee (CSC) in 2014 to oversee the integration of sustainability across our business.
• We initiated a ‘Green Team’ to put policies designed by CSC in motion. In 2015, the team launched quarterly sustainability competitions, instigated a company-wide paper-saving initiative and worked with our Human Resources Department to develop staff sustainability training.
• We launched the ‘Rethink’ initiative to reimagine our business in a green, sustainable manner, encouraging employees and stakeholders to integrate sustainable practices in our daily routines, inspire several innovative activities promoting sustainability on all operational levels and work to reduce our energy footprint. Sustainable Investments At EFG Hermes, we believe that not only is it critical to integrate sustainable practices into the internal daily workings of the organisation, but to incorporate them into the business model as a means to showcase that financial profitability can be maintained as we engage in this strategy.
Our Private Equity Division, for example, has most recently focused on renewable energy, seeking out high-yielding wind and solar power projects in Europe and the Middle East that promote renewable energy while generating attractive returns for investors. The division currently has USD 1.1 Billion in renewable energy assets under management.
EFG Hermes has also acquired a majority stake in Tanmeyah, Egypt’s leading private-sector microfinance provider, as part of its new financial services platform. The acquisition will promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth through micro-enterprise lending to small business owners that typically serve underprivileged communities.
Community Outreach Through the EFG Hermes Foundation, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation established by EFG Hermes in 2006, we engage on the community level by supporting sustainable, innovative, and high-impact social development projects that improve living standards and present a brighter future for Egypt’s most disadvantaged citizens. The Foundation has funded, managed and initiated projects that cover three focus areas:
1) The rehabilitation of impoverished rural areas,
2) The improvement of the quality and availability of healthcare,
3) Supporting youth development. Some of the more recent successful initiatives undertaken by the Foundation include:
• Rehabilitating the impoverished village of Al Makhzan in Egypt’s Qena governorate, in cooperation with the Kuwaiti Initiative to Support the Egyptian People. The project included building homes for over 35 families, renovating classrooms and constructing a new building at the local school, renovating and providing renewable energy to the local health unit, building and launching a semi-automated bakery and outfitting the village with a sanitation system. Above all, the project was done through local contractors to support the local economy.
• Collaborating with Assiut University Hospital to provide much-needed surgical equipment, enabling the arthroscopy unit to double their capacity to approximately 1,400 surgeries per year.
• Providing constant support to the MOVE Foundation for children with cerebral palsy. The project helps children and adults with severe disabilities sit, stand and walk. MOVE has successfully graduated ten children from its program, all of whom have subsequently been integrated into the public school system or special education centres.
• Collaborating with KidZania - as popular education attraction that exposes children to potential professions and teaches them important life skills including how to use a bank account. The EFG Hermes Foundation creates an opportunity for 20,000 students of public primary and middle schools to visit KidZania and participate in the activities offered.