Our marketplace responsibility pillar demonstrates how we, at AfrAsia Bank, manages our relationship with our customers, business partners and suppliers.
Providing a portfolio of sustainable products to our customers
In line with our commitment to provide our customers with the opportunity to invest in climate solutions, we have started to work on the creation of a green products portfolio. The focus of the Corporate Sustainability and CSR department for marketplace responsibility is as follows:
Figure 17: Strategy for the development of Marketplace Responsibility Pillar with focus on the development of sustainable product portfolio
We launched our first product, the Green Car Loan (GCL) in October 2019. This is a joint initiative between our Consumer Banking Business Line and our Corporate Sustainability & CSR department. The main aim of this incentive was to encourage our clients to opt for cars with a lower environmental impact (Hybrids and electric).
Green Car Loan
3.9 % p.a.
Figure 18: Percentage of Regular versus Green Car Loan disbursed from October 2019 to June 2020
We are happy to report a 166% increase in the amount disbursed for car loans for the period October 2019 to June 2020 as compared to the same period in the last financial year.
“AfrAsia Bank has always believed in giving back to the community since its inception by continuously engaging in various CSR activities. We started our sustainability journey in 2015 with our commitment to the UNGC and today, the Bank is well-known in Mauritius thanks to its various initiatives to promote the Sustainable Development Goals. A major milestone for us as bankers remains the setting up of green financing products with the launch of our green car loan last year. We have noted a rising interest about sustainable brands in the market as environmental concerns have become the priority of everyone’s agenda. Customers now seek to collaborate with partners/companies that align with the same goals as them. As we are moving further into this journey, we are now well equipped, especially with our recent signature with the AFD, to assist our clients in order to build a strong sustainable product portfolio. A big thanks to the Corporate Banking team who has collaborated on this project.”
Senior Relationship Manager
Sustainability Champion for Corporate Banking Department
On 25 May 2020, we launched a Structured Deposit Solution in EUR, USD and MUR which is linked to the “iStoxx Global Cities of Tomorrow Select 30 NR Decrement 5%”, which screens companies 3 stages:
Those who are the leaders in regards to Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) scores,
Those who are not in contravention of the UN Global Compact Principles or are involved in Controversial Weapons activities, as identified by Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG and Corporate Governance research and ratings.
And finally, those who have substantial exposure to the ‘sustainable smart city’ megatrend.
The iSTOXX® Global Cities of Tomorrow Select 30 Index aims to capture the economic upside of companies exposed to the powerful transformation and growth of smart cities in the digital era and combines a thematic approach with responsible criteria and low-volatility/high-dividend screens, highlighting the versatility of passive investing. (https://www.stoxx.com/pulse-details?articleId=1435450681)
This product, a collaboration with the Treasury department and the Corporate Sustainability & CSR team, marks the Bank’s commitment to increase the global understanding of sustainability and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also an opportunity for our customers to invest in a sustainable fund.
To further develop our sustainable product portfolio, we have signed an agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for their SUNREF Program to finance mitigation and adaptation projects as well as projects promoting gender equality. In addition, we will be developing other internal products at the Bank.
Protection of Consumer Data
With the COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak in Mauritius since the beginning of the year, many companies are increasingly turning towards remote work. Along with this, the issue of data protection has come into the spot light.
We are pleased to report no complaints or breaches in related to customer privacy for this financial year.
Our IT Security team increased their vigilance during the lockdown period on our digital platforms and emails to ensure a safe banking experience for our clients. 887 Malware and 119,383 phishing emails were blocked by our Email Security gateway and 15 viruses and 16 spywares were detected through our antivirus system from the period of 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.
Ethics and Compliance
As a financial institution, AfrAsia Bank is committed to be in compliance with all the laws and regulations applicable to its business activities. We are regulated by two main authorities namely the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) and the Financial Services Commission (FSC). These regulatory bodies act as watchdogs for the financial services sector.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. FATF defines money laundering as the means through which criminal proceeds are processed to disguised their illegal origins (https://www.fatf-gafi.org/faq/moneylaundering/). Banks are especially vulnerable to money laundering and should be equipped with adequate infrastructure to screen this risk.
We, at AfrAsia, have adopted a risk-based approach and implemented internal controls to efficiently organize our operations and resources to mitigate the risks of money laundering. Initiatives undertaken includes:
As defined by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sustainable procurement means making sure that the products and services we buy are as sustainable as possible, with the lowest environmental impact and most positive social results
(https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/procurement/sustainable-procurement.html).Sustainable Procurement is one of our key projects for the financial year 2020 – 2021. The Corporate Sustainability & CSR department is collaborating with the Procurement and Facilities Hub to integrate sustainability practices within the sourcing process.