Nordea steps up employee volunteering amid community engagement refocus

Thomas Björklund
Tomas Björklund, head of Sponsoring & Event
19-05-20 14:48 | About Nordea | Sustainability

Nordea raises the bar for the number of hours employees are encouraged to do volunteer work. The move is part of the refocus of sponsorship activities toward Community Engagement and Entrepreneurship. A target of 10 000 hours is set this year for Swedish employees, who are currently trailing behind the 14 000 hours put in by our Finnish colleagues last year.

Our current sponsoring activities reflect Nordea’s core business as they are centered around sharing our financial knowledge and related digital skills. They also reflect Nordea’s desire to contribute to society. Ideally our activities comprise a combination of community engagement and supporting entrepreneurs, and are constructed as partnerships, Tomas Björklund, head of Nordea Sponsoring & Event, said.

“Being a a socially responsible company that contributes to the societies we operate in is very high on our top managements’ list of priorities. Our CEO Casper von Koskull always mentions our social engagement when he speaks publicly about Nordea and there has been a huge management support for our 10 000 hours project”, Tomas Björklund said.

Nordea last year decided to re-focus the bank’s sponsorship toward community engagement and entrepreneurship after previously having focused on sports, such as golf and tennis. Driving the change was a need for a common pan-Nordic sponsorship strategy, Tomas Björklund said. At the time there was also a public debate about the social responsibility of large corporates, a concept embraced by Nordea’s top management.

Basic financial skills

The Swedish Ekonomipejl program seeks to take such social responsibility by teaching basic financial knowledge to students between the ages of 13 and 19. Nordea employees also mentor budding teachers through the Teach for Sweden program. During the two-year program post graduates add classroom experience and education courses while being mentored in leadership skills by Nordea managers.

The Finnish idea to let Nordea employees teach digital skills at public libraries has turned out a qualified success in Finland and will now initially be tried at five libraries in Stockholm, Sweden.

An example of the combination of community engagement and supporting new businesses is our collaboration with Norrsken. Nordea employees visit Norrsken House a few days each week to offer advice and support to the 300+ social entrepreneurs that are currently housed in the builing.

“The ideal would be to have three to four community engagement projects that we could all agree on across the bank and the same number of projects directed toward entrepreneurs. It needs to be something that our employees and customers alike are passionate about”, Tomas Björklund said.

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