Issued by National Bank of Kuwait
2020 Sustainability Report Reflects NBK’s Continued ESG Leadership – navigated COVID, reduced GHG emissions and water consumption, increased NBK Hospital funding, and added Human Rights policy.
NBK today released its fifth annual full Sustainability Report, summarizing the company’s continued progress in advancing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) management activities and performance. On the environmental front, NBK reduced its electricity consumption by more than 70%, and its water consumption by more than 80%, thanks to moving into its new headquarters office building (in line with LEED Gold) and to COVID-19-related reduced time at work for employees. As it was for companies around the globe, however, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the social dimension of sustainability front and center in 2020. The main axis of NBK’s latest report focuses on the company’s proactive initiatives to protect the health and safety of customers, employees, and community, while simultaneously maintaining the nation’s leading financial services and ensuring the resilience of its business.
NBK’s readiness and incisive early action helped manage the emerging COVID-19-related risks. Every department played a role in NBK rapidly implementing and scaling up digital solutions and electronic services for remote work and for security and continuity in financial services provision. NBK’s IT team supported the transition from on-site operations to a remote access infrastructure, enabling employees to work from home and to serve customers through virtual financial transactions. NBK also amplified customer support services to aid customers in this transition to mobile banking. Further, NBK leveraged all its social media channels and brand to inform, educate, and motivate both customers and community members regarding pandemic safety measures.
NBK’s Chairman of the Board, Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer, provided an overview of the year: “2020 proved to be a stress test for NBK across our functions and operations, and we have proven to be strong in the face of these challenges.”
NBK conducted a broad range of engagement initiatives with its major stakeholders – including surveys, partnerships, reports, meetings, environmental projects, and intensive dialogue sessions – to develop an exhaustive ESG Materiality Matrix of its sustainability priorities. What emerged were five major areas of highest priority: strengthening governance, enhancing business practices and building a richer customer experience, caring for employees, contributing to the larger Kuwaiti community, and reducing environmental impact.
NBK made significant progress in all five key areas and its report, entitled “Maintaining Course,” covers the full range of specific ESG accomplishments.
“This year we successfully engaged a wider scope of internal and external stakeholders to guide our Materiality Assessment. The result was a more focused effort that helped us successfully meet the COVID-19 challenge, strengthen our ESG-related governance, achieve breakthrough environmental improvements, better serve our customers, sustain the diversity of and increase training for our employees, and maintain our decades long commitments to our larger communities.”
Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer
Chairman of the NBK Board of Directors
NBK strengthened its commitment to the highest standards of governance by initiating the process to add two new independent members to the Board of Directors (completed this year), enhancing the role of the Risk and Compliance Committee in surfacing and managing a wide range of risks, and emphasizing its long-standing commitment to human rights by creating and approving a new Human Rights policy.
Enhancing Business Practices and Building a Richer Customer Experience
In 2020, because in-person visits to branches decreased 44% and use of mobile banking increased 41%, NBK implemented numerous initiatives and programs to build a satisfying customer experience within that new environment, including digital transformation infrastructural changes, new reward and loyalty programs, concierge service, local delivery banking, youth programs and discounts, partnerships with popular retail outlets, and social-media-mediated education and support for customers as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer satisfaction remained essentially steady at 93% satisfaction despite the unprecedented changes forced by COVID-19.
Caring for Employees
NBK’s Sustainability Report details the dozens of leading edge practices NBK implemented to support the health of its employees in the midst of the pandemic, including increased and comprehensive sanitation, personal protective equipment, changes to physical facilities, transition to digital infrastructural practices, support for working from home, providing dedicated time every day to NBK parents to allow them to support their children with online schooling, and health, quarantine, and testing protocols. Alongside all the COVID-19 efforts, NBK sustained their high levels of diversity in their workforce (46% of the workforce being women with an extensive Women Empowerment Program), strong Kuwaitization progress (increased to 73%), and commitment to training, with more than 50,000 employee training hours during the year.
Contributing to the Larger Kuwaiti Community
NBK continued its decade’s long commitment to the larger Kuwaiti community with both continued major financial contributions to NBK Hospital, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, and the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital, as well as new initiatives this year that leveraged its social media presence to educate and inform Kuwaiti society about COVID-19.
“Giving back to the Community” is one of our pillars of sustainability and this year was an exceptional investment towards the community during these difficult times. An estimated KWD 3.6 Million was invested into community welfare – including NBK Children Hospital, NBK donated KWD 1 Million to Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) as part of its humanitarian and social role to support in COVID-19 pandemic response, KWD 25,000 to the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital (KACCH), and KWD 121,600 to NBK's external community activities, engagements, partnerships, and donations, just to name a few notable investments. Note that the 3.6 Million KWD invested into community welfare was a 288%-change increase when compared to the previous year (almost triple the amount). Furthermore, the amount invested into NBK Hospital was almost double the amount, with a 233%-change increase.
Additionally, NBK achieved nearly 2 million engagements across their six major social media platforms.
Reducing Environmental Impact
With the reduced time employees spent in the office due to COVID-19 and NBK’s long-awaited move into its new headquarters office building in line with LEED Gold standards, the Bank achieved 70% and 80% reductions in its electricity and water consumption, respectively.
In keeping with NBK’s commitment to reduce our environmental impact through major design changes, in August 2020, we moved into our new green headquarters building that we have been designing and building for several years. Our new Headquarters embodies a wide range of environmental benefits and design elements; including 34% energy saving and 40% lower water consumption. Key features of the new Headquarters include but are not limited to a large amount of open space, accounting for 60 percent of the tower’s land footprint, 100% energy-saving (LED) lighting, a refrigerant-management system to prevent ozone-damaging and other emissions, 20% of all materials used is recycled material, etc.
Moreover, as with each year, NBK continued to report its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, showing a total of 5,152 MT CO2e—further broken down in the report among scopes I, II, and II.
NBK also both reduced paper use and recycled nearly 100 metric tons of paper, lowering its GHG emissions by 615 metric tons just from those two efforts alone.
Founded in Kuwait City in 1952, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is the country’s longest-serving local bank – and the first shareholding company in Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Over the past 69 years, NBK has established itself as Kuwait’s leading financial institution. Today, NBK has more than 150 branches in 15 countries across 4 continents and, among numerous awards, was rated the “Best Bank in Kuwait” by Global Finance and “Best Commercial Bank of the Year in Kuwait” and “Best Innovation in Retail Banking in Kuwait” by The Banker. NBK’s market capitalization as of 31 December 2020 was USD 19.0 billion. NBK’s main operational focus is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. NBK also has an important presence in China, France, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The full 2020 NBK Sustainability Report can be found at:
The 2020 NBK Annual Report can be found at:
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For additional information about NBK’s sustainability work, please contact:
Joe El-Ghazal at:
Tel: (965) 22592665
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