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Management Discussion And Analysis

11.0. Corporate and Social Responsibility

At Bank Audi, integrating social responsibility within our core business has been a growing step through engaging multiple stakeholders in the economic, social and environmental areas. In this respect, Management acknowledged the role of the Bank in spreading the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture and thus expanded the CSR strategies to further reach key indicators of community interest by consulting inclusive stakeholders groups. Bank Audi organised a special stakeholders panel grouping clients, suppliers, regulatory bodies, correspondents, managers, employees and competitors, thus creating a communication sphere whereby its strategy was assessed, ideas to enhance CSR nationally were proposed, and room for collaboration between all stakeholders was identified.

Similarly, and also aiming at engaging stakeholders, Bank Audi organised two major competitions: the first comes within the context of the Environmental Protection Pillar where the acquired knowledge in measuring our own carbon footprint was reflected upon school students who, in turn, were encouraged to measure the carbon footprint in their households and find means to reduce their energy consumption. The second competition, initiated within the Human Development Pillar, targeted graduate university students, and aimed at exposing them to the concept of Social Responsibility within corporations in general, the CSR Strategy at Bank Audi, and inspired this particular stakeholder group to explore their creativity and innovative minds and design an impactful CSR initiative.

Aiming at sustaining transparency, Bank Audi continued to comply with the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standard and reporting according to internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 indicators, and was the first Lebanese Institution to join the GRI Organisational Stakeholders Network. Additionally, Bank Audi refined its tactics so as to embrace the United Nations Global Compacts (UNGC) requirements.

In an effort to move forward and strengthen its impact, Bank Audi’s CSR unit enhanced its communication and started using social media, as well as the Bank’s website and other platforms in order to reach its stakeholders. In addition, Bank Audi took part in major national and regional CSR conferences and workshops, thus becoming a benchmark among CSR practitioners.

The year 2014 was marked by major achievements related to Corporate Governance, in addition to human, economic and community developmental projects. These helped in sustaining the Bank’s position as a non-discriminatory and equal opportunity employer of choice in the Lebanese private sector. Sustaining its commitment, Bank Audi launched its updated Code of Ethics and Conduct where respect for human rights is clearly highlighted and embedded in day‑to-day practices. In addition, Human Rights trainings were initiated for Top Management down to employees, followed by the formation of a Human Rights Focus Group whose major role is to identify initiatives, monitor practices, report and solve any violations, and assess implementation of guidelines within corporate practices.

Moreover, employees’ community engagement was institutionalised by the Volunteer Program and awarded as the Best CSR Project in the category of Social Mainstreaming by the Socio Economic Awards (SEA).

2014 was also characterised by the Bank’s ongoing efforts in the field of CSR activities, such as:
  • Maintaining social equity and good organisational governance within our sphere of influence and supply chain.
  • Sustaining the “Capacity Building” program to enhance the capacities of public sector employees and hence public‑private collaboration.
  • Hosting several activities and trainings for students at different schools to familiarise them with the banking sector and with Bank Audi’s values.
  • Fulfilling various fund-raising requests for public, private, medical, welfare and humanitarian purposes.
  • Conducting surveys on different topics to seek continuous improvement and taking internal and external recommendations into consideration.
  • Providing trainings to enhance employees’ performance.
  • Supporting SMEs in general, and more specifically through the Bank’s long-standing collaboration with “Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program” and the “Grow My Business” initiative. These projects preserve our belief in the value of human capital and strengthen our attempt to boost entrepreneurship and innovation within our core business.

The various activities and different measures taken by Bank Audi are available in a separate CSR Report published and released on the Bank’s website, including further details on CSR-related projects and their effect on the Bank’s stakeholders and on society at large.