Financial services organizations face a growing imperative to be more sustainable. With evolving regulatory requirements and client demands for more transparency about environmental, societal and governance (ESG) initiatives, they have an important journey ahead.
The European Commission’s action plan for financing sustainable growth and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), effective March 2021, are a driving force. To meet the new reporting requirements, organizations must disclose their sustainability risk and remuneration policies, and adverse sustainability impacts.
One global financial institution realized that the new requirements presented it with an opportunity to embed sustainability throughout the business. It enlisted Accenture’s help to implement the new reporting, meet client expectations and enhance its advisory and investment management processes to better reflect its sustainability focus.
When tech meets human ingenuity
Bringing our extensive experience in sustainability within financial services, we helped drive the organization’s new sustainable finance program. We joined forces with the bank’s staff to identify where SFDR disclosures were required and to integrate sustainability into risk frameworks and remuneration policies, as well as pre-contractual and periodic reports.
We also collaborated with the bank on integrating ESG considerations into other areas of the business. This included defining the target state for its investment advisory and wealth management processes, gathering client preferences for ESG activities and performing suitability checks.
People across the business, including at the highest levels of management, now have awareness of the organization’s sustainability investments and ESG initiatives. A prominent sustainability statement on the website also lets clients understand the organization’s sustainability goals. Plus, clients now have access to sustainable investment products.
A sustainable future is within reach if we work together.
A valuable difference
The organization easily met the initial SFDR disclosure deadline, a move widely applauded by the bank’s top management as an important step in its sustainability journey.
What’s more exciting is that the leadership team saw the new requirements as an opportunity not just to address current regulations but also to embed sustainability practices throughout the organization’s core investment advisory and wealth management processes.
Front- and back-office employees now actively discuss the topic of sustainability and how the organization can promote ESG initiatives, internally and in the wider community. Clients, too, are asked about their sustainability preferences for investment from the very beginning of the advisory process so that advice can be tailored to their needs.
The organization-wide sustainable finance program is a solid foundation for future ESG initiatives. It’s also sends a clear message to all of us—that a sustainable future is within reach if we work together.