Sustainability Reporting: The RBS story
2014 marks the second reporting cycle since RBS set itself the objective of restoring trust in its business. So what has changed in the last two years?
In its 2014 Sustainability Report: Earning our customers' trust; RBS has committed to even more ambitious targets than those included in the 2013 report. Can the bank really deliver on some of its bold statements such as, 'RBS is going to change the UK banking sector for the better' and 'becoming the most transparent UK bank'? And what does it really mean when RBS talks about becoming a "more sustainable bank"?
RBS has a long history of reporting its sustainability and corporate responsibility performance – and did so well before its difficult times in 2008 and 2009. It is obvious that RBS puts a lot of management time and effort into its reporting – the 2014 Sustainability Report runs to 55 pages. So it's really useful to be able to learn what the RBS sustainability report is about first hand, how it plans to deliver it, and what it has achieved for the company.
We talk to RBS Sustainability Manager, Lisa Stewart, about what the bank has achieved so far against its ambitions and what is still to be done to support its customers towards a more sustainable future. Is the Sustainability Report a promotional tool to sell the bank's positive messages, or does it demonstrate that RBS is on target to meet its goal to restore the trust that has eroded since the financial crisis? What has the bank done to mitigate the risk of something similar happening again?
And how is it coping with, and meeting, user demand for greater transparency in its reporting mechanisms? Many organisations now include a Sustainability Report within their reporting package in response to this user demand and, here at ICAS, we have already embraced the move towards increased transparency in our 2014 Annual Review.