CR Follow up
Corporate responsibility stands for responsible corporate actions. Here, you can find summarised information on the many sustainable activities of Volksbank AG.
VBAG receives award for outstanding contributions to the environment
The city of Vienna granted the major environmental award in recognition of innovative ideas and projects focussing on resource-saving applications within the scope of its ÖkoBusinessPlan for the 7th time. The objective was to recognise projects and ideas related to saving energy and resources, while cutting waste, as well as measures aimed at raising awareness and the social aspects of sustainable business management. VBAG submitted its Employee Calendar 2011 project, drawing attention to its numerous environmental initiatives as well as the sustainable design of its new Group headquarters.
The companies chosen to be honoured received a trophy specially designed for this contest as well as a certificate. Both the winning projects and the awards were presented at a gala on 16 March in the Festsaal of Vienna City Hall under the auspices of Mayor Michael Häupl and Ulli Sima, the city councillor responsible for the environment.
Financial Breakfast of the Finance Marketing Association in Austria
On 23 November 2010, the Finance Marketing Association in Austria held one of its frequent Financial Breakfasts on the topic of “The strategic power of Corporate Responsibility (CR) in financial institutions” in Café Landtmann in Vienna. In the introduction, Werner Schediwy, Head of Marketing at Raiffeisenlandesbank NÖ-Vienna and member of the Executive Committee of the Finance Marketing Association in Austria (FMVÖ) drew attention to the increasing significance of CR in the financial sector: “Rating agencies specialising in Corporate Responsibility always rate the CR achievements of (financial) companies more precisely as more and more companies are recognising that involvement in issues of Corporate Responsibility offers opportunities and consequently competitive benefits for companies."
In April 2010, Österreichische Volksbanken-AG issued its first Sustainability Report. According to Mirjam Ernst, Head of Corporate Marketing, a great deal has since happened.
“A core team of 14 employees from all strategic segments has been created, which evaluates sustainable projects from the product teams and divisions in monthly meetings. Sustainability provides evidence of innovation. As a consequence of the debate about CR issues, certificates and funds have been provided with ecolabels. The support of the Managing Board, a gradual approach and open communication with employees are important as far as sustainability is concerned.”
Karl Resel of Denkstatt GmbH as an advisor, also to companies on the financial market:
“If a financial institution concerns itself with CR, this has twice the positive impact: Firstly, in terms of innovation. Ecological and social trends provide the opportunity to recognise market opportunities at an early stage. Secondly, the financial sector also has significant leverage in terms of exerting positive change on the world: by financing ecological and socially responsible projects, it can ensure the right investments take place. The provision of sustainable forms of investment encourages listed companies to appeal to this expanding niche on the capital market. The consequence: increased commitment to protecting the environment and society."
Hannes Roither, spokesman for Palfinger confirmed the increasing possibilities of socially responsible investments. As a family company, Palfinger AG has been concerned with the issue of sustainability since the beginning of 2000. This has become a commitment and CR is an article of faith for the company. Hannes Roither on how Palfinger deals with this issue:
"CR can only be implemented with the support of the Managing Board and a change of attitude towards employees. Employees are key to our company’s success. Palfinger’s sustainability policies are audited externally. The rating, which is of such importance for the company, helps it to improve its positioning vis-à-vis its competitors in the market place and to increase the company’s value for its own investors.”
VBAG cooperates with Oikocredit Austria
On the occasion of the visit by the regional representative Mamadou Toure, Ivory Coast, Oikocredit International and Rosalie Botti, President of the Ivorian women vendors cooperative Cocovico, Oikocredit Austria issued invitations to a focus event at Volksbank AG on 20 October.
Peter Püspök, CEO of Oikocredit Austria, issued invitations to an "Open Space" discussion on Cocovico’s experiences with project finance. 12 % of the capital granted by Oikokredit (of €446 million) is granted as micro and project loans in Africa. As a result, Oikocredit is one of the most active private financiers in the microfinance sector in Africa.
The strengthening of women in society is seen as a key area of its activities. The proportion of women among the borrowers stands at 85 %. The women vendors cooperative COCOVICO now ranks among the showcase and paradigm projects of successful microeconomic development.
Further information: www.oikocredit.at
Austrian Annual Report Award – Austria’s best annual reports
The first corporate responsibility report of Österreichische Volksbanken-AG was ranked straightaway among the top 10 reports in Austria. At the same time, ÖVAG, which was ranked 9th, was the only bank to make the top 10 apart from Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG, which ranked 5th. Palfinger AG, EVN AG and OMV AG were ranked 1 to 3.
The Austrian Annual Report Award has been awarded for some two decades. A top-class jury consisting of academics and experts assesses the reports in accordance with a method developed by the consultants Mensalia and the business magazine “trend” and selects the best.
Fairtrade coffee for all companies in the Österreichischen Volksbanken-AG Group
For reasons relating to its commitment to society and environmental protection, Österreichische Volksbanken-AG is switching to Fairtrade coffee. Since the beginning of August, the Group has provided its employees with Fairtrade coffee free of charge. The staff restaurant only serves Fairtrade coffee as well.
The Volksbank Group is the first European banking group to focus on business mediation
Admont was an international platform for business mediators from 19-23 July 2010. Participants from 11 countries met for the 4th International Summer School on Business Mediation 2010 to debate the subject “Crossing Borders” from different perspectives. Lecturers from Europe, Asia, Canada and the USA encouraged participants to think outside the box and illustrated the increasing significance of alternative conflict regulations. The final day of the summer school was devoted to the subject "International Mediation Meets International Banking". Banking experts were invited to participate in workshops on new findings concerning the benefits of mediation in the banking sector. The CEO of Österreichische Volksbanken-AG, Gerald Wenzel, and the CEO of Volksbank Graz-Bruck, Gerhard Reiner, were represented as principal sponsors of the ISBM and promoters of business mediation in the banking sector.
First VBAG Corporate Responsibility Report
The first integrated Volksbank AG Corporate Responsibility Report has been available in German and English since April. The report contains an interview with Chief Executive Officer Gerald Wenzel, the Corporate Responsibility Charter, the principles for the segments and the Environment and Employee divisions as well as details of the Sustainability Programme 2010.
VBAG is a member of the UN Global Compact
On 14 April 2010 Volksbank AG became an official member of the UN Global Compact. VBAG is now part of the worldwide Global Compact network of companies and organisations that actively align their corporate policies with internationally recognised values in the areas of human rights, working standards, the environment and anti-corruption and voluntarily exceed statutory requirements.
We welcome your queries, comments and suggestions. Please contact our sustainability officer if you want to comment our website.
Head of Corporate Marketing