It is with great pleasure that I’m writing my first blog post as the Head of Sustainability at Nordea. I have extensive experience from the area as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) director in multinational companies like Tele2 and Millicom, and most recently acted as CSR consultant at Nordea within Asset Management, Responsible Investments and Life & Pensions, before taking on the role as Head of Sustainability in June this year. Many good things are already developed within Nordea in terms of sustainability. I want to build on that and increase the ambition level even further.
Full integration of sustainability
During my first months with Nordea, we have escalated our focus on sustainability and we are currently adopting a completely new model on how to fully integrate sustainability in our core operations. Two factors that we directly connect to a successful sustainable business model are financial inclusion and responsibility. As the biggest financial institution within the Nordic region, we have a clear responsibility to act consistently with ethics and integrity, and be transparent to all our stakeholders. This is where digitalisation comes in.
Improved customer relationships
Digitalisation can not only help us getting a clear and rapid message out to the public and facilitate dialogue with our stakeholders. It can also simplify banking business for our customers, in terms of accessing our services online. Our customers are looking for digital solutions that make their activities faster, easier and more reliable through automation, self-service and greater access to information. As a consequence, our retail banking has extended the relationship banking concept to its digital channels, reflecting the rapid changes in customer behaviour.
We see the urgent customer need for more flexible services, not least driven by the digital smart “Generation Y” (born between 1980 and 2000), which will make up the largest customer group within the next 20 years. As a lead in this new digital era, we became the first big bank to launch a number of online offices last year. This enables more customer advise meetings online, more direct and rapid counselling. Last year, one out of seven customer meetings were being held online, reflecting the consolidating digital landscape of today.
From a sustainable perspective, an increased number of online meetings are of positive regard, whether between the bank and its customers or internal meetings within our different country offices.
Digitalisation - Financial inclusion - Sustainability
The intention of these measures is to make financial services accessible at affordable costs to all individuals and businesses, irrespective of net worth and size respectively. This is what we call financial inclusion. In this context, digitisation offers us a method to pursue and develop our business as efficient as possible with a clear focus on sustainability, inclusion and responsibility. We will continue to drive this proactive approach forward with the intention to lead by example. We believe that modern technology and digitalisation is a key component in our ability to push for a rapid and effective sustainable transition, for society and for all.
/Åse Bergstedt, Head of Sustainability at Nordea. Follow me on Twitter: @AseBergstedt