Belfius reinforces its commitment toward sustainability and endorses UN sustainable Principles
In order to achieve a sustainable future, Belfius is fully committed to implementing its commitments for 2025-2030. Belfius is fully aware of the needs and demands from its customers to develop its activities as a sustainable and responsible bankinsurer. Belfius has now taken this commitment one step further by signing several sustainability principles of the United Nations.
The UN Global Compact is an initiative from the United Nations that not only encourages companies voluntarily to adopt universal principles on sustainability, but also to implement 10 principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, as well as to communicate transparently about these issues at all times.
We support the following 10 principles:
We support and adhere to the protection of international human rights
We make sure to not be complicit in human rights abuse
We promote the freedom of association and genuinely recognise the right to collective bargaining
We prohibit any form of forced labour
We maintain the effective abolition of child labour
We eliminate discrimination in relation to employment and occupation
We support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
We undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
We encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
We work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery
The mission and vision of Belfius on Corporate Social Responsibility are entirely in line with these 10 principles of the UN Global Compact. We are committed to strengthen the implementation of the Global Compact and to report to our stakeholders each year about the progress made.
The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a collaborative agreement between UNEP and the worldwide financial sector to mobilise the private finance sector in favour of sustainable development. With the cooperation of the banks, insurance companies and investors, this programme is working towards the creation of a financial sector that serves the planet and the people. UNEP FI aims to inspire, inform and enable financial institutions to improve people’s quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
The UNEP FI framework is made up of 6 principles on responsible banking, 4 on sustainable insurance and 6 on responsible investing.
Principles for Responsible Banking
The Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) came into being in September 2019 and provide the banking sector with a single framework aimed at creating a sustainable and responsible banking system in which sustainability is a cornerstone in terms of strategy, portfolio and transactions, as well as in all aspects of business operations. The PRB therefore contribute towards the accelerated achievement of the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Through the PRB, Belfius is committed to these 6 Principles for Responsible Banking:
Principle 1: Alignment
We align our own business strategy to be consistent with the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and with relevant national and regional framework structures.
Principle 2: Impact & Target Setting
We continue to work towards increasing our positive impact and at the same time towards limiting the risks and negative effects caused by our own activities, products and service on people and the environment. To this end, we define and publish goals in those areas where we have the most significant impacts.
Principle 3: Clients & Customers
We work responsibly with our customers and encourage them to apply sustainable practices and to enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
Principle 4: Stakeholders
We consult, engage and partner proactively and responsibly with relevant stakeholders in order to achieve society’s goals.
Principle 5: Governance & Culture
Through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking, we achieve our commitments in relation to these principles.
Principle 6: Transparancy & Accountability
We review periodically our individual and collective realisation of these principles and we are accountable and transparent about the positive and negative impact and our contribution to society’s goals.
Principles for Sustainable Insurance
The Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) provides the insurance sector with a plan regarding innovative risk management and the development and dissemination of insurance solutions required to tackle risks and opportunities relating to these aspects of ESG: renewable energy, clean water, food security, sustainable cities and communities able to resist disasters.
By signing the 4 PSI in June 2020, Belfius Bank & Insurance is seeking to incorporate sustainability criteria in all of its business activities. Climate change, the ageing population, healthcare and the fair distribution of wealth are all central to this.
We embed environmental, social and governance issues that are relevant to our insurance business into our decision-making process.
We work with our customers and business partners to raise greater awareness regarding environmental, social and governance issues, so that we can manage risks and develop solutions.
We work together with governments, regulators and other key stakeholders to promote widespread action across society on environmental, social and governance issues.
We will demonstrate accountability and transparency in regularly disclosing publicly our progress in implementing the Principles.
Principles for Responsible Investment
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are a list of 6 voluntary and ambitious investment principles that contain a number of possible measures for encompassing ESG issues in investing. The PRI serve the long-term interests of the signatories, as well as the financial markets and economies in which they operate – and ultimately the interests of the environment and the community, too.
In February 2019, Belfius Asset Management, a Belfius subsidiary, signed these 6 Principles for Responsible Investment:
We take ESG issues into consideration in our investment analyses and our decision-making processes.
As active owners, we incorporate aspects of ESG into our policy and practices.
We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
We promote the adoption and implementation of the principles within the investment industry.
We work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
We report on our activities and about our progress toward implementing the principles.
By implementing these principles, Belfius Asset Management is making a practical contribution to a more sustainable financial system worldwide.
Gender Diversity Charter, Women in Finance
In 2019, Belfius signed the Gender Diversity Charter in the financial sector as part of ‘Women in Finance’. The Charter seeks to offer fair and equal opportunities to women and men in the Belgian finance sector and to take action to ensure gender equality and to foster a genuinely inclusive culture.
By signing this Charter, Belfius is committed to achieving a gender balance on all levels. In doing so, we undertake to put these goals first, as well as to take practical action, set positive targets and to publish a report about activity annually.
By signing the Gender Diversity Charter, Belfius commits to:
promote the advancement of women to higher positions in the finance sector and to set internal targets for gender balance, expressed in targets Belfius selects itself, more specifically on an executive level and middle management
develop tools for measuring progress on these targets
publish progress on these objectives annually to provide greater transparency and accountability
establish various follow-up lists aimed at the promotion of talents up to management level
publish and promote a diversity strategy, with target figures to be achieved at every level of the organisation
take account of the company’s own point of view, in the sense that other companies in the sector may be on a different level and use a different strategy
ensure that there is commitment at the top of its own organisation
identify and share possible obstacles and best practices so that the advancement of women can be promoted
consider appointing a diversity manager and/or an expert in gender balance, if the position does not exist already
Belfius also commits to playing an active part on the ‘Women in Finance’ initiative, which aims to achieve a better gender mix in the finance sector.
The Belgian SDG Charter for international development
Belfius endorses the Belgian SDG Charter for international development, a federal ministerial initiative conducted in conjunction with The Shift, the Belgian forum for sustainable development. This Charter is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and relates to the role of citizens and the private and public sectors in international cooperation and development.
Candriam: our partner and a pioneer in responsible investing
Asset manager Candriam and Belfius have been working closely together as partners for more than 25 years, providing an unmatched value proposition on the Belgian market. Candriam and Belfius combine responsible management on an international level with a unique perception of Private Banking and Wealth Management.
Candriam and Belfius share common values within this context: ongoing attention for risk control, constantly striving for innovation, transparent communication and compliance with the strictest ethical standards.
Belfius and Candriam also share the same vision and ambition, because they both firmly believe in a sustainable development strategy that not only delivers profits for their customers, but also benefits Belgian society as a whole.
Candriam is our leading external asset management partner, with many years of expertise in the field of sustainable and responsible investing.