Responsibility in the Economy & Society Global Commitments
Credit Suisse, our clients and employees have, for many years, been committed to fostering inclusive growth by addressing socio-economic challenges. Together we support selected partner organizations with funding and professional expertise to enable social and humanitarian projects around the world.
Companies can only achieve long-term success if they operate in an economically stable and socially cohesive environment. To create a sustainable impact, we have established strategic partnerships to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our global and regional initiatives. We make effective use of our social and financial capital to not only have a positive impact on society but also on employees and our core business.
Social Impact: Education and Microfinance for Inclusive Growth
We regard education and access to financial services as key drivers of growth and an effective means of empowering people to help themselves. We also have the potential to increase social impact beyond the funding of long-term partnerships with selected organizations through our most valuable asset – our employees.
As part of our social commitments we have defined three focus themes: microfinance, education and employee engagement.
Employee Engagement 2016
partners receiving both funding and skills-based volunteering support
countries in which our partners are active
Employees: Expertise, Development, Commitment
Our employees are an integral part of our commitment to society, dedicating over 195,000 hours of their time and expertise in 2016. As part of the bank's Human Capital Strategy, we allow each employee to devote up to four days per year to support our global partners and those active in social initiatives in the communities where we live and work.
In 2016, we continued to place an emphasis on volunteering programs that promote the transfer of skills and knowledge between employees and partners. This enables our employees to use their expertise for the benefit of our partner organizations and gives them the opportunity to enhance their own skills and professional development. In 2016, our employees around the world dedicated 69,024 hours to skills-based volunteering. These volunteering efforts also help to strengthen the bank's corporate culture and foster cross-team and cross-cultural collaboration. In addition, our internal surveys have shown that employee participation in volunteering programs results in an increase in our employees' satisfaction at work.
Increasing Impact through Our Core Business, Clients and Partners
The teams managing our two global initiatives in microfinance and education work closely with the Philanthropy & Sustainable Investment team to provide philanthropic advice and services to our clients and develop impact investment products to further increase their combined social impact. Through impact investing, we give clients access to alternative investments that not only generate a financial return but also produce a social and/or environmental impact – for example in the areas of microfinance and education. Moreover, we are increasingly involving our clients in the development and execution of volunteering and awareness raising programs. In Switzerland, clients and employees also have the option of supporting selected partner organizations through Micro-Donations; payments made by credit or debit card can be rounded up by a pre-defined amount. This amount, or the interest earned on their bank account, is donated to selected aid organizations and charitable institutions among our partners.
Through our Microfinance Capacity Building Initiative, we help to improve management training and development and foster product and process innovation in microfinance institutions at a global level to give people at the base of the income pyramid better access to banking services. Furthermore, the initiative finances small businesses through microloans, savings, insurance and other financial products and services targeted at low-income clients. It is an effective means of helping people to help themselves and makes an important contribution to the reduction of poverty. At the same time, microfinance generates both a social return and a financial return for investors.
Our Global Education Initiative and our regional education activities support a variety of programs that improve access to education and the quality of educational opportunities. To achieve a sustainable impact, these organizations work with communities and educational authorities at a regional, local and national level. For example, we support the KIPP Foundation in the US, City Year UK in the United Kingdom, and Room to Read in several countries in their efforts to provide new opportunities to disadvantaged young people. As part of our Global Education Initiative, we also partner with Plan International and Aflatoun International on our Financial Education for Girls signature program. As a global financial institution, we see firsthand how important financial skills are to be able to actively participate in the economy and society. The program aims to improve the financial education and life skills of approximately 100,000 adolescent girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda and to encourage them to transition through secondary school. It is aligned with both the Microfinance Capacity Building Initiative and the core business of Credit Suisse.
The Global Citizens Program provides opportunities for qualified employees to go on assignment in-country and apply their professional skills to build the capacity of our partner organizations working in the areas of education and microfinance. Participation in the GCP provides the volunteers with valuable professional and personal experiences that they can apply to their regular work at the bank.
Response to local challenges
The Credit Suisse's Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund provides emergency aid to the victims of natural disasters around the globe. By providing assistance quickly, we try to reduce the suffering of victims and help with reconstruction. The donations made by our employees are also an important source of support that complements the contributions and matching gifts made by the Foundation. To strengthen our humanitarian commitments we also entered into a global partnership with the ICRC in 2008.