Our materiality assessment
At OCBC, we take a long-term perspective and adopt a double materiality approach in assessing what matters to the Bank and our stakeholders. In recognition of global trends and an evolving business landscape which may influence our stakeholders’ priorities, it is imperative that we regularly review our material issues – including our material ESG factors and selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – to ensure they remain current and relevant.
As part of our continuous materiality assessment, new ESG factors arising from global developments are identified through consistent discussions by OCBC’s senior management and Sustainability Working Group. This is substantiated by gap analyses between OCBC’s material ESG topics and best practices by global peers. In 2022, we engaged an external consultant to support our review and update of our material ESG factors and UN SDGs. The updated material ESG factors and selected UN SDGs were endorsed by the Sustainability Council and finally approved by the Board.
Besides selecting our material ESG factors and UN SDGs, this process enables us to identify ESG trends on the horizon to capture opportunities and manage risks in our respective business areas. Imperatively, the ESG issues which significantly impact our stakeholders, operations and surrounding environment inform our business strategy.
Our materiality assessment is a continuous stakeholder engagement process, in which we actively collect and monitor feedback from our stakeholders throughout the year using various engagement channels. This feedback informs our ongoing ESG efforts, which we continuously execute based on their insights and expectations. Our achievements and progress made throughout the year are presented in our annual Sustainability Reports, providing a transparent overview of our performance in key ESG areas.
The results of the review affirmed that OCBC’s current material topics and selected UN SDGs remain relevant to our operations and aligned with industry best practices. Notwithstanding that, the Bank strives to continuously further our ESG efforts and hence implemented the following improvements:
This year, we streamlined our material ESG factors, including the introduction of a new factor on “Climate Action”. In the Climate Action chapter, we have included our climate-related disclosures in accordance with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, to reflect our commitment to the global climate agenda. This is further supported by the Group’s commitment to NZBA and achievement of its carbon neutrality goal for OCBC’s banking operational emissions in 2022. We believe our ongoing focus on climate action and sustainable transition remains crucial to preserving resources for generations to come.
Following the materiality assessment which priorities the focus on 13 material ESG factors, “Digitalisation” and “Customer Experience” will no longer be featured as material ESG factors since they are already deeply embedded as key enablers of our banking proposition and operations. Additionally, we expanded our contributions to cover two more UN SDGs: Goal 4 (Promote Quality Education for All) and Goal 5 (Achieve Gender Equality), to reinforce our commitment towards the global sustainable development agenda.
As the Bank prospers and progresses, our impact on the economy, environment and society may evolve over time. Our materiality assessment process guides us in ensuring our impact and stakeholders' concerns are properly addressed through our business operations, as well as strengthening our resilience in an evolving business landscape.