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The role of banks in tackling climate change: A practitioner-scholar perspective

Wendy Dobson, Head of Group Corporate Citizenship at Standard Bank Group (South Africa), joined us for an online talk.

1 December 2021

About this event

Event abstract

Climate change disproportionately harms Africa and constrains its potential for sustainable development. Banks play a critical role in tackling the climate change challenge. They can do this by directing flows of financial capital to the real economy. Banks who continue to finance fossil fuels projects face social criticism and investor unease. This is in spite of initiatives like the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and the Net Zero Banking Alliance.

Standard Bank is Africa’s largest bank. This presentation describes how it developed its first climate change policy. It explains how the process considered trade-offs between financial, economic, social, and environmental outcomes. It outlines how this policy is being integrated into the Bank’s business strategy and aims to generate shareholder returns and positive social and environmental impact. The role of individual mindsets in shaping the Bank’s corporate strategy and CSR policy is also discussed.

About the speaker:

Wendy Dobson is the Head of Group Corporate Citizenship in Group Risk for Standard Bank. She has been at the bank for 12 years and is currently responsible for:

  • ESG and Climate Risk
  • Conduct and Ethics Risk
  • Reputational Risk
  • Sustainability
  • Stakeholder Engagement, and
  • Corporate Social Investment

Wendy is also a Doctoral Candidate at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. This is a partner of Newcastle University and a member of the SERS International Network.

She researches the micro-foundations of responsible corporate political action. An alumna of the University of the Witwatersrand, she holds:

  • a Master of Management degree in Public and Development Management, and
  • a Master of Arts degree in Applied Ethics for Professionals

Wendy is Co-Chair of the Principles for Responsible Banking Board of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

About Standard Bank

Standard Bank Group is a financial institution and Africa's largest bank. It offers banking and financial services to individuals, businesses, institutions and corporations. Standard Bank operates in Africa and more than 20 other countries around the world.

Session resources

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