An active force for good in everything we do
Our 2018 growth strategy laid the foundation to reimagine our business. However, 2020 brought with it a materially different operating context than the one in which our original growth strategy was set. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered behavioural patterns, the way we work, collaborate, our perspectives on health and the fragility of life. During 2021, we therefore embarked on a strategy re-anchoring.
Following in-depth discussions regarding the strategic direction of the Group, the Board took the opportunity to reflect on our previous strategy, along with subsequent updates over the period. Our robust strategic review process made it clear that a fundamental shift in strategic direction was not required. Instead, we sought to re-anchor and refresh the tenets within our framework to ensure competitiveness and relevance within the evolving context. In this way, we desire to build on our success and momentum, learning from the last three years while adapting our strategy based on the changing internal and external environment.
Our strategic direction therefore builds on our successes, while acknowledging areas for enhancement. One such area is our desire to further entrench ESG principles throughout our business as we believe that embedding environmental, social and governance aspirations into core business strategy is vital for delivering true long-term value linked to our purpose of bringing possibilities to life. ESG was further elevated as a key priority from our 2018 strategy, along with digital. We aim to be an active force for good in everything we do, prioritizing business activities that have the most positive environmental, social and economic impact, while mitigating negative impacts. Our fifth strategic theme – being an active force for good in everything we do – encapsulates this ambition.
Through our strategic review process, we sought to clarify our intent to be active contributors to the greater good, not mere participants. As a result, we refined our strategic thinking towards a more purposeful intent. We therefore seek to create inter-generational value through active participation in managing planetary boundaries, contributing meaningfully to the societies in which we operate, and being committed to the highest standards of governance and ethics. Our strategic direction requires us to speak up publicly and be a positive influence in the world. As an active force for good in everything we do, our signature environmental, social, and governance actions include:
- Becoming Africa’s leader in sustainable finance
- Proactively incorporating climate change risk into our business
- Setting ambitious net-zero carbon emission targets
- Achieving a positive impact on biodiversity in the medium term.
- Providing inclusive financial services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), women and youth
- Supporting education and skills development, for example, financial literacy, tertiary education and vocational training
- Being there for our communities, employees and clients when they need us most
- Championing diversity and inclusion.
- Tangibly committing to excellence in governance and risk management
- Ensuring fair outcomes and transparency with all stakeholders
- Providing a resilient and robust control environment.
Public policy and regulation
- Strengthening trust-based regulatory relationships
- Acting as a strategic thought leader in crucial regulatory debates and contributing to and influencing national agendas
- Supporting government policies in the collective interests of societies.