It's your Mortgage Day!
We believe that doing different is core to everything that we do at KBC and this is reflected in our approach to sustainability. Our sustainability programme aims to make a positive impact on the lives of our colleagues, customers and comamunities. To do this, our sustainability programme continues to focus on four main areas that positively contribute to some of the key sustainable development challenges facing society: Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Environmental Responsibility and Health & Wellbeing. Our programme is driven by employees and it is their commitment that makes a real difference to our society.
We have a strong governance structure for sustainability at both a Group and national level. The KBCI CEO is a member of the KBC Group Internal Sounding Board for Sustainability (ISB), which is chaired by the KBC Group CEO. Working with the Corporate Sustainability Division of KBC Group, the KBC Bank Ireland Sustainability team is responsible for developing and implementing the strategy in Ireland.
With ever increasing demands on world resources and mounting pressures on the global climate, we believe that creating awareness of environmental responsibility is crucial. In 2019, we continued to do this.
We are proud to be one of 47 companies to sign the first dedicated pledge by Irish businesses to reduce carbon usage launched by Business in the Community (BITC). By signing this pledge, we have committed to reducing our Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emission intensity by 50% by 2030.
We launched the first Socially Responsible Investment funds to the Irish market offering more investment opportunities to socially conscious consumers.
Creating awareness of our Green responsibilities was also a key focus during the year. We launched Team Blues Goes Green and saw 95% of our employees participating in green initiatives. As a result in 2020, we will now plant 1,500 trees to help tackle our impact on the environment.
The importance of managing wellness in Irish society has never been as prevalent and considering this, we made health and wellbeing a key focus at KBC. We believe that looking after mental wellbeing is equally as important as physical health.
In 2019, our employees actively engaged in our health and wellbeing initiatives. 35 employees took part in mental health first aid and 150 attended wellbeing seminars. Over 200 staff participated in our VHI health screening and over 70 employees availed of our physical health offerings including couch to 5K training and discounted gym classes. All our employees also have access to wellbeing benefits from personalised plans, study support and flexible work.
KBC Dublin Marathon
We were proud to become the title sponsor of the KBC Dublin Marathon in 2019 on its 40th anniversary. In the first year of our three-year partnership, we saw 22,500 entries, 300,000 supporters and 1,500 volunteers take part.
By partnering with Wellfest, we played an active role in bringing wellness to our customers. The festival inspires and educates people about nutrition, fitness and mental health with a host of experts in these areas. In 2019, attendance increased with over 7,500 in attendance and 2,000 people attended the KBC Wellgood area.
We continue to make health and wellbeing a focus through innovation with our partnerships. With the introduction of ‘Wena Pay’ by Sony in 2019, we are the only bank in Ireland to offer digital wallets from five of the world’s leading technology companies; Apple Pay™, Google Pay™, FitBit Pay™, Garmin Pay™ and Wena Pay™.
At KBC, increasing financial awareness amongst Irish people is extremely important to us. We are focused on achieving this across all stages of life, from youth to supporting retirement.
For the Youth
We partnered with Junior Achievement Ireland to deliver financial literacy programmes to primary and secondary schools. More than 50 volunteers inspired and motivated students in 7 schools in Dublin through the Make Maths Matter and Balancing Act programmes with over 90 students benefitting.
We also provided transition year students with insights to the world of work through our Business in the Community Ireland (BITC) Skills@work programmes.
For those starting out
In 2019, we built out our Home Series Events digitally. We used social media channels to encourage people to visit their local hubs to find out all they need to know about the home buying process. Customers actively engaged with the programme, which resulted in a 50% increase in appointments made per day and strong social engagement online.
For those about to retire
As customers move towards retirement their financial considerations can change. To support customers at this life stage we hosted investment evenings nationwide to empower and educate customers in investment planning for retirement. We brought this learning online by creating a series of educational investment podcasts with one of our media partners.
Online and Digital Support
Our online portal, the KBC’s of Banking continues to provide financial support and understanding of financial management, financial products and planning with easy to understand educational content.
We were proud to continue our charity partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland for the third year. Over the past three years, we have raised €300,000 in funding, provided 1,200 volunteering hours, delivered android tablets for daycare centres, funded the development of their website and the ASI mobile unit and provided Tap to Donate terminals which help them raise much needed funds.
While fundraising is an important element of our charity partnership, a key highlight of the 2019 partnership was our successful skills sharing programme. The ASI delivered dementia Friendly Training for employees across the Bank. Over the course of 2019 and 2020 we are proud to say that all of our hubs will have a staff member who has been through the training to understand how they can support customers living with dementia.
During the year, KBC delivered Social Media training sessions to the ASI team to help them better utilise social media as an effective channel for communications. To build on this, we helped the ASI bring their annual fundraiser, the Ribbon Day, online by delivering a social media campaign using the hashtag, #MakeMemoriesMatter. The campaign ran on the week leading up to Ribbon Day and was launched with a video capturing how dementia impacts the lives of those affected by the condition and shines a light on the services the ASI provide and the supports needed by families across Ireland.
As a result of this campaign, the ASI’s reach on both Twitter and Facebook increased by over 100% compared to the 2018 campaign.
During 2019, KBC also funded a body of research for the ASI Over 1,000 members of the public were surveyed for the research to help understand the public perception of dementia, its prevalence and the associated costs for dementia care in Ireland.This research has been gifted to the ASI and can be used to inform their work going forward.
Supporting SMEs & Career Growth.
Entrepreneurs are a vital part of Irish society and this will only continue to grow as Ireland’s population grows. At KBC, supporting this growth is important to us and we have put in place various programmes to support entrepreneurs.
Future Growth Loan Scheme
In 2019, to help support eligible professional businesses and SMEs grow and scale sustainably, we partnered with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) as part of the Government of Ireland’s ‘Future Growth Loan Scheme’.
The scheme will see the roll out of an overall fund of €300 million and the SBCI has allocated €50 million of the fund to KBC. As a partner, through the SBCI, we will support capital expenditure and promote business investment for development, expansion and improvement through low cost loans, with terms ranging from eight to ten years. The scheme has been successful and in 2019 the Bank received more than €9 million in applications from a broad range of professional micro businesses and SMEs across Ireland.
We supported micro SME’s by helping to develop their skillset. To do this we put a start-up business partner in place to provide one-on-one customer support to business owners and hosted information sessions to educate them on key topics such as Financial Security, Budget Implications & Brexit.
Nurturing Great Ideas!
We continued our successful partnership with Enactus Ireland to support third level students develop their social enterprise ideas. Throughout the year, KBC volunteers spent time mentoring students from universities across the country as they developed their business from concept to market. 8 KBC employees directly mentored over 60 students from 5 universities throughout the year.
Each year, as part of KBC Pitch Perfect, a panel of 10 employees judge 10 university teams as they pitch their social enterprise idea. All students receive individual feedback from our judges and the top 2 teams are awarded seed funding to help them progress and grow their business.
The KBC summer internship programme provides students with the opportunity to gain insight into future careers and the world of work which is a key part of the student journey. By applying for the KBC internship, students have the opportunity to gain paid work experience in KBC for a period of 3 months. Last year, we welcomed 6 students from Enactus, 3 of which were returning to complete a second year long placement with KBC.
Irish Early Career Awards
At KBC, we understand the importance of nurturing young talent and our sponsorship of the Irish Early Career Awards allowed us to celebrate and support those who have made a significant impact in their chosen industry at a young age. In 2019, we continued our partnership with the awards for the fourth year. Representatives from KBC judged a total of 4 categories and as sponsor, we co-hosted 300 attendees on awards night.
In September 2015, the UN member states agreed the SDGs, a universal set of goals, targets and indicators, which define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030.
The SDGs are a blueprint to achieve a better society and future for all. In 2019, we started to map out our strategy to the SDGs and identified four topics where we believe that we can best contribute to society. Our focus will be on Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Climate Action. We will continue to develop our approach to the SDGs over the coming years.