Unveiling efficient organizational models for CSR and Sustainability: National Bank of Kuwait

28/08/2023 Interview
profile picture of Hiba Assi

Hiba Assi

National Bank of Kuwait

Senior Sustainability Officer

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has developed a comprehensive approach to addressing sustainability, ESG and climate-related matters within its organization. Hiba Ahmad Assi, NBK’s Senior Sustainability Officer, Group Investor Relations and Communications, tells us about their organizational structure and strategy, and efforts to align the Bank’s performance with global sustainability standards.

How would you best describe your institution’s organizational structure for addressing sustainability, ESG and climate related matters? How many people are dedicated to sustainability matters in your organization?

NBK’s ESG and sustainability-related matters are supported and endorsed by the Bank’s Board of Directors. Driven by transparency and accountability, the Board and its sub-committees’ charters were formally revised during 2022 to reflect key ESG-related responsibilities and to steer the Board’s decision-making in line with NBK’s ESG strategy. The Board acknowledges its duty to manage how emerging ESG and climate change risks and opportunities should be addressed in line with NBK’s business strategy, material risks and business drivers. 

Additionally, in 2022, the executive management’s responsibilities were further solidified to include ESG-related matters in its decision-making processes, oversight and affairs. The executive management is closely working with NBK’s groups and businesses to assess ESG risks and opportunities and how the Bank could competitively respond to the evolving landscape presented by the transition to a lower carbon economy. To that extent, in 2022, the Bank’s executive management approved the Group’s ESG strategy that transforms NBK’s ESG strategic focus to higher levels of integration into its business, operations and activities. The ESG strategy sets the pathway towards building a more sustainable future by mobilizing capital and focusing efforts towards solving the critical environmental and social challenges we face. 

Accordingly, an ESG governance structure was finalized and approved by the Board in March 2023. This resulted in the establishment of a management-level Sustainability & Climate Change Committee, which is chaired by NBK’s vice chairman and Group chief executive officer, and five sustainability sub-committees responsible for governing and steering decision-making in line with the Bank’s ESG strategy. On a day-to-day basis, NBK has a dedicated Sustainability Unit which is responsible for managing and providing support services for the execution of the ESG strategy framework and operation of the sustainability committees. Additionally, the Sustainability Unit is responsible for the Bank’s ESG reporting and disclosures. Currently, the unit consists of three employees.

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