UBS stresses culture of volunteerism
Financial services giant UBS feels that responsible corporate conduct helps create sustainable value for the company.
Therefore, it aims to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) best practices and knowledge into its business operations on a broad basis.
David Boyd-Thomas (pictured below), head of corporate responsibility and community affairs, UBS Asia-Pacific, says their policies in this field extend to all stakeholders, from staff to clients and the community that the company serves in its global operations.
UBS takes the term "corporate responsibility" to mean the process of understanding, weighing, assessing and addressing the concerns and expectations of all these groups.
But unlike other international banking and financial institutions that have signature community or charity events and programmes, direct community investment forms only a relatively small portion of CSR strategies at UBS.
In 2010, direct cash donations by UBS and affiliated foundations to selected non-profit organisations and charities amounted to some 27.6 million Swiss francs (about HK$270 million).
Instead, the Switzerland-based financial institution emphasises a culture of volunteerism.
Boyd-Thomas says their community investment efforts also provide quality mentoring exchanges that are about working not just with young people but also with charity leaders to share their valuable experiences.
For example, UBS has launched a programme with the non-profit sector in Singapore that offers a two-day residential retreat workshop with UBS senior executives and non-governmental organisation executives interacting and sharing experiences. Boyd-Thomas points out that these types of efforts help develop staff into well-rounded talent to serve clients' best interests as well as those of the public.
In Hong Kong, UBS is also renowned for giving back to the community through sports sponsorship, including the upcoming 2011 Hong Kong Open golf tournament.
The group also maintains a long-standing commitment to the environment. It was one of the early signatories to the United Nations Environment Programme's "Statement by Financial Institutions on the Environment and Sustainable Development" in 1992.
Today, UBS seeks to observe international environmental standards in all that it does - not only with respect to direct impacts but also when providing financial services to clients.
Overall, Boyd-Thomas believes that promoting CSR policies adds tremendous value to the UBS brand and helps develop employees who can deliver better services to clients and serve the community in meaningful and effective ways.