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Enabling Financial Inclusion

ICICI has a Board-approved environment, social and governance framework that assesses all new financing proposals above a specific threshold on the environment, social and governance parameters.

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Banks often move the needle on sustainable practices of corporations who might follow the money. One of the oldest existing initiatives for transparency of corporate sustainability, the Carbon Disclosure Project in the UK, was driven by a consortium of 35 financial institutions signing its request for climate information to which 245 companies responded. In India, while the banking sector is sullied with a litany of financial frauds, some of the country’s private banks count amongst the most sustainable companies in the country. 

One of India’s largest banks, ICICI is one that belongs to the latter category by embedding its social responsibility within its business model itself and not just via its CSR spend. ICICI’s net profit margin in 2019 was 5.30 per cent and it increased to 10.60 per cent in 2020. The bank has spent 2.1 per cent of its revenue on CSR.  

Rural Development Banking 

The bank’s rural banking operation caters to the financial requirements of customers in these areas and also meets the larger goals of social empowerment and development. 650 of ICICI’s rural branches are in previously unbanked villages. They promote entrepreneurship among women anddevelop tailored financing and loan options catering to the varying needs of the rural market. Till March 31, 2020, the bank had provided loans to over 70 lakh women benef iciaries through mor e tha n 5. 4 la k h SHGs . During FY20, the ICICI Foundation reoriented its CSR strategy from an approach that primarily involved interventions at a village level to a strategy that identifies clusters of villages with similar needs for driving interventions. On a cumulative basis, ICICI’s efforts in the rural areas impacted the lives of close to 275,000 people, with women participation of 60 per cent. Its other efforts include awareness campaigns on social issues, promoting hygiene, environmental protection, financial literacy and counselling. 

Pre-lending ESG Check 

ICICI also stands out because of a well organised and structured approach to leverage its position as a lender to influence greater environmental and social responsibility as well as governance in its ecosystem. ICICI has a Board-approved environment, social and governance framework that assesses all new financing proposals above a specific threshold on the environment, social and governance parameters.

Diversity & Resource Optimisation 

The utilisation of renewable energy in the bank’s energy consumption increased by 3.2 per cent during fiscal 2020. The specific energy consumption witnessed a decline between FY15 and FY20. Further, in FY19- 20, the company reported an increase of 14.5 per cent in their total count of employees over the prev ious ye a r. 30per cent of thei r 99,319 employees are women, which makes it the largest employer of women amongst all other private banks in India. ICICI’s board also has three women of the 10 positions.