Sustainability at VP Bank
Given today’s global developments, corporate responsibility vis-à-vis society as a whole is having an ever-greater influence on the public’s perception of companies. Sustainable corporate leadership, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate citizenship are various terms used to describe the matter, but they essentially mean the same. The objective is to take a holistic view of the business activities and shape them in a way that is economically, ecologically and socially reconcilable.
The major changes in the financial industry are trending toward sustainability and transparency. The banking sector is one of the most significant industries in an economy and is therefore closely scrutinised by analysts and investors, who are increasingly demanding responsible business practices and incorporating them into their company valuations.
VP Bank’s commitment
Die VP Bank’s role in society is marked by its clearly perceivable sense of responsibility versus stakeholders and the environment. For VP Bank, a management mindset that embraces sustainable corporate leadership is a crucial factor in successful entrepreneurial activity.
VP Bank Group is committed to the principle of sustainability. It is convinced that responsible actions and economic success are interdependent. The business model of a bank is based on the trust of its clients. VP Bank’s activities in the area of sustainability foster and reinforce that trust. Thus, responsible action is a key element of the corporate culture, the internal work processes and the operative business of VP Bank. Moreover, VP Bank maintains high standards with regard to corporate governance.
VP Bank maintains a constructive dialogue with its clients, employees and shareholders, as well as other constituents of broader society, and takes their feedback into account in its business decisions. By doing so, the Bank generates added value for all of its stakeholders.
Stiftung Fürstl. Kommerzienrat Guido Feger is the largest shareholder of VP Bank. Established by the Bank’s founder in 1954, it supports social, charitable and cultural projects, thereby shaping the corporate culture at VP Bank Group and lending expression to the Bank’s social character.
Since 2012, VP Bank has a sponsorship agreement with the Swiss Climate Foundation. As a partner of this foundation, VP Bank provides financial support for the energy efficiency and climate protection projects of small- and medium-sized companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. As part of this process, VP Bank provides funding based on the net rebate on the incentive tax on hydrocarbons.
In addition, VP Bank strives to uphold its responsibility towards the environment by means of targeted measures for the sustainable use of resources. Moreover, due to its commercial activities, VP Bank is by definition in an active interrelationship with society as a whole, and thus contributes to the further development and preservation of Liechtenstein as a centre for finance and industry.
With its sustainability policy, VP Bank defines precise minimum standards for the products and services it offers. This policy applies just as much to collecting client funds as to the granting of loans and the conduct of the investment business. As a part of this, VP Bank makes every effort to keep its banking operations CO2-neutral.
Encouragement of proper behaviour
In conducting its banking business, VP Bank actively works to prevent bribery (the core of corruption), the granting and receiving of undue advantage and money laundering. This is achieved through regular client advisor training sessions and by monitoring compliance with the rules laid down in the Service Regulations and the Code of Conduct.
Apart from the values and management principles of VP Bank, the Code of Conduct documents the Bank’s commitment to ethically correct business practices. VP Bank pursues its vision of generating enthusiasm by offering its clients unique experiences. This requires trust and closeness to the client. VP Bank fosters both of these aspects by voluntarily observing ethical principles in its business activities and creating a viable foundation of rules for its conduct.
The Code of Conduct lays down the ethical principles of VP Bank that are binding on all employees, and serves as a guideline for proper behaviour. Each employee receives a copy of the Code of Conduct upon joining the company. The document is also available on the VP Bank intranet as well as on the Bank’s website as a downloadable file. Breaches of the Code of Conduct are dealt with without compromise through disciplinary measures and penalties applicable under labour law.
In addition, the Service Regulations of VP Bank specify important manners of behaviour with regard to banking secrecy, discretion, data integrity, equal opportunity, social media guidelines, conflicts of interest, insider information and data protection. The Service Regulations take the form of a directive and are an integral part of each employment contract. They apply to all employees of VP Bank.
It is the goal of VP Bank to constantly broaden and improve all of its efforts in the area of sustainability. In 2015, Group Executive Management resolved to redouble those efforts, and the topic of CSR is being emphasised even more in all areas of VP Bank Group. This goal is being accomplished through, among other means:
- increased networking with the Bank’s relevant interest groups
- VP Bank’s adoption of the UN Global Compact (see below)
- active internal awareness-raising measures on these issues
- greater integration of sustainability aspects into the client advisory discussion
For the implementation of these activities, a CSR workgroup was established in 2015. Among the concrete measures taken in 2016 were the introduction of a so-called Volunteering Day, the procurement of electric bicycles, financial support for “Flüchtlingshilfe Liechtenstein” and the establishment of a CSR board for sustainability in the investment process.
The reports on the measures taken and results achieved are at present based mainly on data from Liechtenstein. VP Bank foresees being able in the next several years to introduce a reporting routine devoted specifically to environment-related numbers. Further information on the topic of sustainability/CSR can be found in the following sections of this annual report:
- “VP Bank’s stakeholders”
- “VP Bank’s suppliers”
- “VP Bank’s business ecology”
- “The social engagement of VP Bank”
CSR – the obligation to report
Transparency is essential for doing business and assuming corporate responsibility in a sustainable way. This means disclosing information that is important to the key interest groups/stakeholders. As a socially responsible enterprise, VP Bank also wants to set an example with the reporting it provides to its stakeholders.
In effort to make Europe’s economy more successful and competitive, the EU has prescribed that major companies with dealings in the capital markets must in future disclose not only financial, but also non-financial key figures. In February 2014, the EU member states agreed on a reporting obligation concerning social responsibility (CSR). As from 2017, large companies with more than 500 employees must report on their achievements in matters involving the environment, society, employees, human rights, the fight against corruption and diversity in management bodies. The UN Global Compact is one of the models that companies can draw on for this purpose.
UN Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a universal convention concluded between companies and the UN with the aim of shaping globalisation in a more social and environmentally friendly way. It is the largest sustainability initiative the world has ever seen, with more than 12,000 signatories in nearly 170 countries, including more than 9,000 companies.
VP Bank has been a signatory company since 2016 and thereby made a commitment to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) “Ten Principles” of responsible business. VP Bank expects its employees and management as well as its partners and suppliers to demonstrate responsible conduct under these principles.
- Principle 1: VP Bank pledges to respect internationally proclaimed human rights and promote them within its sphere of influence.
- Principle 2: VP Bank ensures that it is not complicit in human rights abuses.
- Principle 3: VP Bank respects the rights of its employees to associate freely and recognises their right to collective bargaining.
- Principle 4: VP Bank prohibits all types of forced and compulsory labour.
- Principle 5: VP Bank advocates for the elimination of child labour.
- Principle 6: VP Bank prohibits any form of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- Principle 7: VP Bank supports a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
- Principle 8: VP Bank undertakes initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
- Principle 9: VP Bank encourages the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
- Principle 10: VP Bank works against corruption in all its forms, notably extortion and bribery.
The signatory companies must publish an annual report on compliance with these 10 principles. VP Bank’s 2016 UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (COP) report is available on the website of the UN Global Compact as well as that of VP Bank under “Responsibility – Sustainability.”
More information on the UN Global Compact can be found through the following link: