CEO ForewordKBN provides Norwegian municipalities and county authorities with stable, low-cost financing for investment in welfare services, and is one of Norway’s largest financial institutions by total assets. Corporate social responsibility is at the core of our business, not only in terms of what we do but also how we do it. We seek to use our position to promote ethically, environmentally and financially sustainable conduct by our customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders, and we set high expectations for ourselves and others. We are confident that this is the right thing to do.
Climate change and economic challenges
Reporting on our corporate social responsibility activities in 2017 and setting out our targets for 2018 inevitably involves looking both forwards and backwards in time. I am pleased to be able to state that in 2017 we performed well relative to our targets, and in 2018 we will be pushing ourselves further. Society is facing significant challenges. We need in future to be more concerned with sustainability, both of an environmental and financial nature, and I would argue that these are closely linked.
If we as a welfare nation are to succeed in becoming a greener society, we need to achieve more with less. Indeed, KBN will need to ensure important welfare investments are financed as efficiently as possible. The welfare investments for which KBN provides financing today will last well into the low-carbon society. Our obligations in respect of the climate and climate risk therefore need to be part of the basis on which we make decisions today. KBN wants its green lending products to promote ambitious climate targets and to help address the climate change challenges involved in every single investment decision taken in the local government sector.
A long-term partner for local welfare services
An important part of KBN’s corporate social responsibility is helping customers to manage their finances and borrowing sustainably, and to do this efficiently and responsibly. The key concepts associated with this work at KBN in 2017 were digitalisation, more informed financial decision-making and close collaboration.
This work involves helping municipalities to analyse their own financial situation through the use of digital solutions, such as KBN Finans. In addition, it is essential for us to be in close dialogue with municipalities and for them to view us as their preferred long-term partner. We want to help our customers to develop the knowledge they need to ensure they are able to provide welfare services in a consistent and stable fashion, even when the next storm breaks in the global financial markets.
Responsibility in the value chain
We work to ensure KBN’s culture is characterised by high ethical standards in all areas. We value diversity and actively work to promote equality. In 2017 we worked particularly on being clearer with our suppliers about our expectations in terms of money flows, ethical conduct, the environment, diversity and equality. Our suppliers are required to tell us about their work on such matters and what they have achieved. If a law firm or a bank is unable to demonstrate good progress, it will not enjoy KBN’s custom.
We need to reflect the society in which we operate
KBN’s corporate social responsibility is coloured by the changes taking place in the society in which it operates. In 2017 we did a lot of work on our Code of Conduct, including more work on the prevention of bullying and harassment and on whistle blowing. We acknowledge the #MeToo movement, and I believe it has highlighted some very important social issues.
Diversity is more than just a question of equality between men and women, and I am proud that KBN’s employees represent a diversity of languages and nationalities. Indeed, diversity makes a positive contribution to an organisation’s culture, working environment and expertise. It is essential for us to attract the best minds and the best expertise. Innovative thinkers enable us to take the best decisions, and committed employees create a culture of transparency and responsibility.
I believe that our work on equality and diversity will continue to help us to succeed in fulfilling our role in society and our corporate social responsibility in 2018.