|The global economic and financial crisis has forced businesses to focus on the challenges
of what it means to be a sustainable business, especially in the financial services industry.
Investec’s sustainability efforts, referred to as Our Business Responsibility, are based on the
recognition that we are a specialist bank and asset manager driven by our culture and values.
Investec’s endeavours to pursue sustainable profits include having a positive impact in each of the societies in which our business activities operate. We aim to do this by enriching communities through education and entrepreneurship and embracing diversity while constantly striving to reduce the overall size of our environmental footprint.
Despite the difficult economic conditions of 2009, Investec has continued to maintain its commitment to Our Business Responsibility as an integral part of how we do business. Accordingly, Investec was recognised for its sustainability efforts receiving a number of awards in this area. In the UK, we received the Dragon Award 2009 for our Social Investment Programme. In South Africa, we won the power fitness category of the Eskom Energy Efficiency Award 2009 which rewards exceptional effort in the efficient use of energy and recognises excellence in the communication of energy efficiency to employees. In addition, Corporate Social Investment in South Africa was awarded the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies CSI Leadership Award. This award recognises companies that excel in terms of financial performance but that also demonstrate an interest in the broader socio-economic environment. Investec maintained its presence in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the UK’s FTSE4Good Index and the JSE-SRI Index in South Africa.
|Our Business Responsibility is divided into the areas of profit, people and planet|
|In the past two years, Investec has demonstrated its financial strength and resilience in the face
of the worst financial crisis in decades. Investec’s business model aims to deliver sustainable
success. The group’s rigorous management of risk, which preserves stakeholder’s interests,
together with its fierce protection of the company’s reputation, are essential elements of this
Diversifying sources of funding has been a key element of the group’s strategy to further improve the quality of the group’s balance sheet and reduce reliance on wholesale funding. During the 2010 financial year, the group was successful in growing customer deposits in all three core geographies, significantly growing funds under management and substantially increasing its cash and near cash balances.
The economic environment remains fragile, and a number of challenges remain. However, the group’s solid capital and liquidity position continues to support our efforts to capitalise on the commercial opportunities that are starting to be revealed as the international landscape adjusts.
|Investec employees remain critical to continued business success and to overall sustainability
efforts. The expertise and dedication of staff is fundamental in meeting clients’ needs and
delivering distinctive results. It is therefore vital that we engage, develop and retain a high-value
workforce. One of the group’s values is to ensure open and honest communication
and hence encourage an active and open dialogue between staff and senior management.
As a responsible employer, Investec aims to offer staff a stimulating and progressive working
environment in which they can flourish and realise their true potential.
In a difficult environment, we seek personal dialogue with clients and continue to provide creative solutions tailored to their individual financial requirements. Our clients benefit directly from the experience we have gained in navigating the recent crisis and we are committed to helping them meet their financial goals. Over the past two years, in addition to our day-to-day communication with all stakeholders, executive management conducted several road shows presenting to clients and investors on the financial and operating position of the group in order to give a sense of comfort during this difficult and uncertain period.
Investec’s role in society and as a responsible citizen remains a key priority. To contribute to the upliftment and empowerment of the communities within which we operate, we engage in a number of ways. We strive to work with a particular focus on education and entrepreneurial projects. In 2010, our businesses committed over £3.9 million to a range of community initiatives around the world.
|Looking forward, we will continue to focus on reducing the size of our overall environmental footprint|
|With the signing of the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009 climate change has become
a key area of international focus. Investec completed a formal carbon footprint exercise during
2009 in agreement with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, which will form the basis for
further attempts at reducing our energy consumption over the medium term. Towards the
end of the financial year, we launched a carbon footprint campaign to employees which used
strategic collateral to encourage staff to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint
both in the workplace and at home. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness around
carbon footprinting, provide a basic understanding and recommendations around what steps
can be taken to effect necessary reductions. On an operational level, we continue to apply
a clearly defined risk review process in order to carefully assess business transactions with
potential environmental or social risks.
Looking forward, we will continue to focus on reducing the size of our overall environmental footprint. Accordingly, Investec management has been engaging with external consultants on an exercise designed to clarify the perceived risks and opportunities relating to climate change for the group and its various businesses.
|The past year has seen heightened global attention on corporate governance, risk
management and reputational issues and the financial services industry as a whole has been
under considerable public scrutiny. Throughout this we have remained ‘open for business’
and, at the same time, have reinforced our commitment to be a responsible lender, providing
access to credit and support while maintaining sensible lending standards.
We are making good progress in embedding sustainability into our business. We recognise, however, that we have some way to go and will continue to build Our Business Responsibility efforts in the year ahead. We remain committed to offering a robust, secure and responsible service that contributes to the economic progress of the group and society as a whole.
For the detailed Our Business Responsibility 2010 report, please refer to:
The OBR website