Manama, Bahrain: The National Bank of Bahrain B.S.C. (NBB) has recently ranked first in the Banking Sector in Bahrain for Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) ratings list by ESG Invest. ESG Invest evaluates and scores the ESG performance of more than 700 companies in the Middle East across nine regional markets across 43 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria spanning 140 quantitative and qualitative KPIs. NBB was also ranked second within all the Kingdom’s sectors, and is, additionally, the only constituent representing the Kingdom of Bahrain on the Refinitiv Arab Federation of Exchanges (“AFE”) Low Carbon Select Index.
The ESG ranking comes as part of NBB’s continuous efforts to enhance their ESG operational capacity in order to create a more sustainable and responsible mode of banking, and continues to bolster its efforts towards becoming a regionally recognised sustainable banking and financial entity in line with its objectives to be a recognized leader in the field.
Additionally, the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index offers an innovative benchmark for investors wishing to commit capital to companies that actively invest in and promote low carbon activities within their organisations and, hence, contribute to lower the carbon footprint of the region. NBB has 0.89% of the total index weight, and is the only constituent representing the Kingdom of Bahrain on the Index.
Commenting on the recognition, Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO of NBB, said: “NBB is pleased to be recognised for our ongoing efforts to adhere to world-class best practices by adopting ESG into our organisation. With the rise in regional attention to ESG, and the support from Bahrain Bourse, who have recently launched the voluntary ESG reporting guidelines for companies, along with a few local drivers, such as the Central Bank of Bahrain, and the Supreme Council for Women, we were able to come this far on our journey, and establish that the essence of ESG considerations very much aligned with our core values, purpose and strategy.
Accordingly, we’ve decided to consolidate the Bank’s ongoing activities under the larger umbrella of ESG, and the natural next step is to integrate environmental factors into our organisation, and as such, we are equally pleased to be listed on the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index in recognition of our reduced carbon footprint, and look forward to a cleaner, more streamlined method of operation in line with the policies and methods adopted within the ESG framework.”
“The key to an organisation’s development is its adoption of a more sustainable method of conducting its activities, ensuring business resilience for years to come. This would not have been made possible without the efforts of NBB’s Rise Programme team members, whose dedication towards enhancing the Bank’s image has played a significant role in upgrading our overall ranking. The RISE Programme is a comprehensive leadership developmental programme created to groom future leaders within NBB by elevating their knowledge-base, skill and mindset. We understand that ESG is a journey, and this is a milestone worth celebrating, as it is a huge motivational factor for us to continue our emphasis on the Bank’s resilience and sustainable activities,” he continued.
The National Bank of Bahrain has stood proud as the pillar of the Kingdom’s banking industry for over 60 years, and as such, the Bank is responsible for the evolution of the local Banking sector through its leadership by example. As part of that responsibility, the Bank acknowledged the importance of integrating ESG into its operations, positioning the framework as the way forward towards becoming a more responsible entity. NBB aims to embody its core values of becoming a responsible employer for its employees, a responsible lender for depositors, a responsible partner to suppliers, a responsible listed organisation for its shareholders, and a responsible Bank for all other stakeholders engaged.
Sh. Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain Bourse said, “I would like to congratulate NBB on this remarkable milestone, and we at Bahrain Bourse are glad to see an increase in awareness towards ESG and the adoption of ESG reporting and disclosures, as it serves to support Bahrain Bourse’s efforts to promote sustainability and transparency in Bahrain’s capital market.”
Rami El-Dokany, Secretary General of the AFE said: “The AFE would like to congratulate NBB on this achievement. We are proud to have NBB as the only representative of Bahrain in the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Index, representing 0.89% of its constituents. With the banking sector comprising 50% of the index constituents, we are glad to see more banks adopting ESG into their method of operations, and hope to have more Bahraini and Arab companies included in promoting ESG reporting and transparency in the future.”
In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the guidelines suggested by the Bahrain Bourse in June of this year, NBB has taken an active role in integrating ESG into the entire Bank’s activities. The select NBB RISE Programme members were assigned by the Bank to consolidate all existing initiatives that fall under ESG, identify future initiatives that can improve the Bank’s contributions to ESG, and to assist in identifying ways that the Bank can showcase its efforts towards ESG in order to promote and maintain resilient sustainable development within the organisation.