StanChart’s social service


BY K.P. LEE

SOLID profits, prudent management and visionary thinking may get an organisation far but a truly great business looks beyond purely quantitative measures to the impact it is making on the community around it. 

For Standard Chartered Bank, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary (and 128th in Malaysia) this year, this means devoting a significant portion of its celebrations on corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes to help the underprivileged. 

John Kivits

“Social responsibility has always been an integral part of our corporate culture but this year, we decided to dedicate our longevity to the communities where we are present,” said the bank's Malaysian chief executive officer John Kivits. 

He told StarBiz that the bank had launched a global community programme that focused primarily on two areas. 

The first area was a peer education programme called Living with HIV while the other was a fund raising initiative known as Seeing is Believing aimed at restoring sight to 28,000 people worldwide (equivalent to the number of Standard Chartered employees around the world). 

The bank aimed to raise US$700,000 globally to fund its Seeing is Believing programme, Kivits said. 

Head of corporates and institutions Kris Babicci said the campaign in Malaysia had targeted to raise RM160,000 (or RM100 for every one of the 1,600 people the bank employs in the country). 

The proceeds would then be channelled to the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation's Eye Fund to pay for cataract replacement surgeries for the elderly poor, as well as eye tests and spectacles for needy children, he said. 

Kris babicci

Babicci said the programme had already raised close to RM100,000, with more than half contributed by various staff initiatives including food sales, competitions and fetes. 

Another RM40,000 was raised in a bank-organised People Decisions at the Big Table human resource conference in Kuala Lumpur last week. 

According to Babicci, Standard Chartered is confident of reaching its targeted sum by World Sight Day on Oct 9. 

“We have very enthusiastic staff who jumped straight in with many innovative ideas.” 

Last year, one of the bank's departments, for instance, raised over RM130,000 by having its 22 staff of various ages and fitness levels scale Mount Kinabalu. 

The money collected for the bank's MY Believe Fund was later allocated to homes and shelters for underprivileged children. 

Kivits said the enthusiasm and interest of his staff in such programmes was no accident. 

He said managers were measured not only on their P&L performance but also on how well they “lived the values” of the company. 

“CSR is a company value and key management goal, particularly under (group chief executive) Mervyn Davies? and we live it every day,” he said. 

In his speech at the bank's seminar last week, Kivits said managing a business to make profits was paramount but it had to be done in a responsible manner. 

“While our aim as a public company is to create shareholder wealth, we realise that we need to be responsible to our employees, customers and community. 

“You can make profits but with principles,” he added. 

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