Our commitments

As its parent company, Société Générale, Komerční banka is aware of the need to look for responsible ways of financing.

When managing clients’ funds we therefore do not take into account their prosperity only, but also respect for environmental and social principles. Thus, we are knowingly helping to minimize the negative impacts on the environment and society.

In the financing of large infrastructural and industrial projects the entire SG Group follows the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary guidelines of financial sector for assessing the environmental and social risks of major projects based on the World Bank’s international standards.

The SG Group is one of the founders of UNEP-FI, i.e. The United Nations Environmental Programme Financial Initiative, a programme of global partnerships between the UNEP and the financial sector to mobilize private sector finance for sustainable development and catalyze integration of sustainability into financial market practice.

In 2019, the SG Group was a founding signatory of the Principles for Responsible Banking, committing to strategically align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

In 2019, the SG Group adopted its Climate Strategy as part of contributing to the fight against the climate change. In the strategy, the SG Group commits to refrain from providing new financial products and services to companies that have more than 50% of their revenue linked to the coal sector (coal extraction and transport, coal trading, and coal use for electricity and heat generation). In addition, the SG Group is committed to progressively reduce to zero its exposure to the thermal coal sector by 2030. Komerční banka has therefore decided to proactively support clients’ projects for the transition to greener and renewable energy sources. 

Please visit our website for more information.

Our commitments in practice

The objectives and requirements arising from the voluntary commitments are included in the Environmental and Social General Principles, which are applicable across the SG Group. The general principles are complete with sectoral policies setting out the Group’s detailed environmental and social rules and standards for funding business activities and projects in 12 sensitive industrial and energy sectors:

These standards include climate change issues and environmental compliance, as well as social and ethical criteria.

The bank refrains from financing the activities that are not in line with its commitments to fight climate change (such as coal extraction and burning) with its social or ethical standards (e.g., manufacturing of certain types of weapons or export of arms and military equipment to controversial countries or war zones, or to countries with an increased risk of illegal arms trade) or the companies that fail to comply with environmental, occupational health & safety, labour and anti-corruption regulations of the country of their operation.

A system for E&S risk management in corporate sector financing

At the beginning of 2020, Komerční banka put in place a system for screening and managing environmental, climate change and social risks of corporate clients, primarily companies operating in sensitive sectors. KB’s environmental expert conducts the assessments of the clients identified as high risk clients. The objective of the system is to ensure that the clients’ businesses satisfy the requirements of environmental, labour and social regulations and SG Group’s climate change standards and that there is no increased reputational and related credit risk associated with the client/transaction.

Ten Commandments of Ethics

  1. In our business, we follow the principles of ethics and laws and regulations; we approach our trade partners and customers with respect.
  2. We follow our internal steering documents that rely on applicable and effective laws and regulations, the relevant acts of the European Union and the United Nations, and the SG group code of conduct (SG Code of Conduct).
    Société Générale Group Code of Conduct (PDF, 911 kB)
    Group’s Tax Code of Conduct (PDF, 207 kB)
  3. We take into account other companies’ rules of ethics and internal documents (if in the public domain and unless they are contrary to laws and regulations and the SG Code of Conduct), and we expect the same from our trade partners and customers.
    Société Générale Group Code of Conduct (PDF, 911 kB)
  4. We do not support or tolerate fraudulent conduct, corruption, anti-competitive practices, discrimination, and harassment in any form. We fully respect the SG Group’s code governing the fight against corruption and influence peddling.
    Société Générale Anti-Corruption and Influence Peddling Code (PDF, 235 kB)
  5. We do not accept or provide any unusual advantages of any kind.
  6. We prevent and prohibit potential conflicts of interests between personal activities and the job position.
  7. We are doing our best to prevent abuse of our services for any purposes of money laundering, terrorism financing, and trading in arms, ammunition and other products and technologies that are classified as military material.
  8. Our conduct is apolitical and non-partisan; we do not support any action or initiative with an exclusively or predominantly political goal.
  9. In our commercial activities we respect the right to competition and competition law, being convinced that solely fair competition and transparent market can freely develop society as such.
  10. We care for the quality of the natural and social environment; under the SG Group’s rules we are scaling down the provision of financial products to areas having a potentially negative impact.

Support for financial and digital education  

Financial and digital literacy is an increasingly discussed issue in the public. For us as a bank it is essential that the public know the sound principles of money management and are able to follow them on a long-term basis. Financial literacy is a precondition for a healthy society, which is also globally competitive. Our target groups include pupils in higher years of primary schools, secondary school students, teachers, seniors, and in general the segment of the public that falls within the category of vulnerable groups.

Economic Olympiad

In 2019, we launched cooperation with the Institute for Economic Education and became the General Partner supporting their Economic Olympiad. This is the name for an international competition that is rapidly becoming increasingly popular with secondary schools. The participants compete in their knowledge of economic indicators and also demonstrate their general understanding of finance and banking. One of the great aspects is that the competition helps not only secondary school students to learn economics but also their teachers with efficient organisation of instruction. In September 2019, the Economic Olympiad called its fourth edition. In early December 2019, the traditional school rounds were taking place, from which the best students qualified for the regional rounds in February 2020. The traditional national finals were slated for June 2020 in Prague.

Download

Conclusions of the poll amongst the participants in the Economic Olympiad

Podcast

Interviews with KB’s officers on the podcast ECON(Y) of Today – Tomáš Doležal, operating risk head, explains how to be secure on the internet and of what we should be wary. In the other part of the podcast Soňa Jelínková answers the questions about the facts unveiled by the Economic Olympiad survey amongst students.

Global Money Week

KB is the Main Partner of the Global Money Week international project. Its purpose is to promote financial literacy and raise awareness of financial well-being across generations. Business owners, schools, family centres, libraries, and individuals joined last year’s edition under the title Learn. Save. Earn. Lectures, workshops, discussions, and interactive debates with experts were organised across the country to promote the financial education of children and young people. The GMW target groups included pupils, students, teachers, and expert circles, as well as the public and groups at risk of excessive debt and socially excluded groups. In all, 169 countries and more than 53,000 organisations joined the financial literacy week in 2019. Some 17,000 children and teenagers joined the event in the Czech Republic, and gained the knowledge required for prudent money management.

Bankers to Schools

In 2019, we again joined the Czech Banking Association’s Bankers to Schools project under way since 2014. The project promotes bankers’ meetings in person with pupils and students of primary and secondary schools, where the young people have an opportunity to discuss with the bankers the basics of financial literacy and also safe navigation in the online world. The sixth edition of the project met with a record interest on the part of both the schools and the speakers: the largest ever number of bankers went to schools in all 14 Czech regions. In 2019, more than 100 bankers from several banks joined the project; they visited 83 schools and delivered 138 lectures, thereby training 5,052 pupils and students of primary and secondary schools.

Open Bank – Seniors in Branches

In cooperation with the Financial Distress Advisory Centre, we organised new educational meetings with elderly citizens in November 2019. The meetings helped the seniors to better find their way around the modern financial world. The main purpose of these meetings was opening informal dialogues with elderly people, which would help to improve their understanding of the world of finance and enhance their confidence in banks. The first part of the events focused on the opportunities and pitfalls of the new services offered by the banking sector. Discussion on the right way to compare the offers on the market followed. There was also considerable demand for the second part of the programme, with discussions focusing on the risks lurking in offers flowing from the internet, telephone, and television.

The spring of 2020 saw the emergence of a new initiative, Open Bank, following up on Seniors in Branches. Its objective is to improve people’s information on finance and banking and to help them in various situations. The initiative offers issues for debate to all who are interested, regardless of their age or whether or not they are our clients. Open Bank is open for all.
Open Bank provides the public with descriptions of the digitalisation of banking and new banking services, such as online and mobile banking. It provides basic information about the way and tools to enter the online world for the people who are only learning about modern technology. Active use of modern technology requires responsible behaviour, and Open Bank therefore offers information on how to use it securely. In cooperation with the Financial Distress Advisory Centre, Open Bank pays attention to the steps you should take if you feel that you are getting into financial distress.

Financial Distress Advisory Centre

We sponsored the operation of the Financial Distress Advisory Centre non-profit organisation again in 2019, when the Centre handled 15,120 consultation calls, forwarded 5,677 calls to a free advisory line, and organised 50 preventive training events. Debtors primarily wanted to receive information on the new Insolvency Act and its provisions on debt discharge. The second most frequent issue was enforcement proceedings. Many debtors responded positively to the possibility of debt discharge, although their personal circumstances prevented them from entering into the discharge process (their income was too low versus their accumulated debts).