At UOB, our sustainability strategy is underpinned by our corporate purpose and mirrors our business approach of balancing growth with responsibility.
We are guided by five principles that act as a compass for how we address the material risks and opportunities which may impact our customers, colleagues, investors, suppliers and the communities in which we operate. As one of Asia's leading banks, UOB has a duty to contribute to the region’s long-term economic, social and environmental well-being. We also recognise that good corporate governance is essential for embedding sustainable business practices across the Group. This long-term, responsible approach is our heritage and is central to our business strategy and activities.
Engage our customers proactively to influence their sustainability practices for greater long-term resilience
Implement sustainability programmes to manage ESG risks and opportunities sensibly, in line with market and competitive realities
Align our sustainability approach with ESG policies and guidelines of governments in our key markets
The Four Pillars
The four pillars of our sustainability strategy arise from our fundamental strengths and are rooted in our values of Honour, Enterprise, Unity and Commitment. They reflect UOB’s expertise, the responsibilities we hold and the role we can play for the long-term benefit of our key stakeholders. Each of the pillars determines a set of objectives which we strive to achieve to ensure that we implement our strategy with clear plans and purpose.
In driving growth sustainably, we incorporate sustainability risk elements in our approach to risk management. This includes integrating ESG considerations into our credit evaluation and approval processes. We offer a range of sustainable solutions that can help our customers make a difference in their own communities. We are also progressively adopting as well as promoting climate-resilient practices which will support our customers in their own transition to a lower carbon economy. Beyond financing, we continue to make significant strides in growing our sustainable investing portfolio.
As we focus on doing what is right for customers, we ensure that Fair Dealing principles are entrenched in all aspects of our relationship with them. Keeping their best interests in mind, we harness technology and use data to make banking simpler, smarter, safer and more intuitive for them. By doing so, we aim to make banking more accessible and inclusive to individuals and businesses in the communities in which we operate. Standing by our customers also means that we must protect their data and privacy by maintaining the security and robustness of our systems and processes.
Our colleagues enable us to ensure the best outcome for our customers, our business and our community. Hence we develop professionals of principle – high-performing teams and individuals who are guided by our values. We embrace diverse strengths and abilities as these enhance our capabilities and enrich our competitiveness. We equip our colleagues to take on the challenges of tomorrow even as we care for their welfare and work-life harmony today. We also foster a sense of belonging among our colleagues by encouraging volunteerism and improving engagement and satisfaction.
We believe that as a responsible financial services provider, we must uphold corporate responsibility by maintaining the highest standards of governance and risk culture, ensuring regulatory compliance and protecting the financial system. We remain steadfast in our commitment to promote social development in the areas of art, children and education. Both in our own operations as well as among our stakeholders, we also actively encourage and support environmental stewardship efforts. Together, these efforts help us contribute to a strong and sustainable future for the wider community.
The UN SDGs, or Global Goals, set the global agenda for sustainable development by 2030 and call for action by both the public and private sectors. UOB’s strategy and reporting are aligned with the 17 UN SDGs. We recognise that while UOB is better placed to contribute directly to a sub-set of the Global Goals, the broadening scope of our sustainable financing, responsible investing and impact investment activities and their corresponding positive impact enable us to align with all the Global Goals.
UOB also became a participant of the United Nations Global Compact in 2021. As a signatory, we support the Ten Principles of the Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We are committed to integrating these principles into our culture, business strategy and daily operations.
The UOB Sustainable Bond Framework, launched in March 2021, governs the issuance of any debt instruments, by UOB and our banking subsidiaries, in relation to our financing of green and social projects that contribute to the UN SDGs.
The framework covers:
It is in line with:
Sustainalytics, an independent ESG research, ratings and analytics firm, provided the Second Party Opinion on the UOB Sustainable Bond Framework.
In July 2023, we published our second UOB Sustainability Bond Allocation and Impact Report to provide details of our US$1.5 billion sustainability bond issued in April 2021. The report shared the allocation of proceeds and the asset portfolio’s distribution by geography and sector as at 31 March 2023, as well as the positive impact generated.
Ernst & Young LLP provided the independent limited assurance for both the UOB Sustainable Bond Framework and the UOB Sustainability Bond Allocation and Impact Report.