New social reporting recommendations for the financial services sector

A new Financial Services Sector Supplement to the Sustainability Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative has been issued, containing a set of social performance indicators for the industry.

International banks, insurance companies and other stakeholders, working within the "SPI-Finance 2002" initiative, have drawn up indicators to be used in reporting on the social performance of financial institutions. This recently released supplement is the second, following the recent launch of the tour operators' sector supplement (see alsoEURACTIV 18 November 2002). Supplements for other industry sectors are expected to follow.

The performance indicators covered by the supplement cover socially relevant aspects of retail banking, investment banking, asset management and insurance. The supplement helps highlight company contributions and roles in areas such as improving access to financial services for disadvantaged populations and to small and medium-size enterprises. Workplace indicators are also included, ranging from employee satisfaction to senior management remuneration.

The new supplement was launched only weeks after the release of a report by the United Nations Environment Program, which concluded that "too few financial companies, including banks, pension funds and insurance companies are taking the risks and opportunities posed by climate change seriously."

The Global Reporting Initiative aims to enable companies and other organisations to prepare comparable reports on their economic, environmental and social performance.


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