Business Ethics and Environmental Standards
Part of the overall mission of the ProCredit group is to set standards in the financial sectors in which we operate. We want to make a difference not only in terms of the target groups we serve and the quality of the financial services we provide, but also with regard to business ethics. Our strong corporate values play a key role in this respect. Five essential principles guide the operations of the ProCredit institutions:
- Transparency: We provide transparent information to our customers, to the general public and to our employees. For example, we ensure that customers fully understand the terms of the contracts they conclude with us, and we engage in financial education in order to raise public awareness of the dangers of intransparent financial offers.
- A culture of open communication: We are open, fair and constructive in our communication with each other, and deal with conflicts at work in a professional manner, working together to find solutions.
- Social responsibility and tolerance: We offer our clients sound, well founded advice. Before offering loans to our clients, we assess their economic and financial situation, their business potential and their repayment capacity. On this basis we help them to choose appropriate loan options from which they can genuinely benefit, and to avoid becoming overindebted. Promoting a savings culture is another important part of our mission, as we believe that private savings play an especially crucial role in societies with relatively low levels of publicly funded social welfare provision. And we are committed to treating all customers and employees with fairness and respect, regardless of their origin, colour, language, gender or religious or political beliefs.
- High professional standards: Our employees take personal responsibility for the quality of their work and always strive to grow as professionals.
- A high degree of personal integrity and commitment: Complete honesty is required of all employees in the ProCredit group at all times, and any breaches of this principle are dealt with swiftly and rigorously.
These five values represent the backbone of our corporate culture and are discussed and actively applied in our day-to-day operations. Moreover, they are reflected in the ProCredit Code of Conduct, which transforms the group’s ethical principles into practical guidelines for all staff. To make sure that new employees fully understand all of the principles that have been defined, induction training includes sessions dedicated to the Code of Conduct and its significance for all members of our team. Regular refresher training sessions help to ensure that employees remain committed to our high ethical standards and are kept abreast of new issues and developments which have an ethical dimension for our institution. These events allow existing staff to analyse recent case studies and discuss any grey areas.
We also ensure that requests for loans are evaluated in terms of the applicant’s compliance with ethical business practices. No loans are issued to enterprises or individuals if it is suspected that they are making use of unsafe or morally objectionable forms of labour, in particular child labour.
Another aspect of ensuring that our institution adheres to the highest ethical standards is our consistent application of best practice systems and procedures to protect ourselves from being used as a vehicle for money laundering, the financing of terrorism or other illegal activities. Staff members are trained to apply the “know your customer” principle, and to carry out sound monitoring and reporting in line with the applicable regulations. Anti-money laundering and fraud prevention policies are regularly updated and exercised throughout the group to ensure compliance with local and international regulatory standards.
All of the banks belonging to the ProCredit group set high standards regarding the impact of their operations on the environment. ProCredit banks take a three-pronged approach to environmental challenges:
Internal environmental management system
ProCredit Bank Georgia is putting in place an approach to better understand and improve the sustainability of its own energy use and environmental impact. For example, the new head office. It was built by using eco-friendly and energy-efficient materials, such as special energy-saving glass. The building is designed to make maximum use of available natural light, thus resulting in a reduction of energy use. Additionally, all materials used for construction meet EU quality standards. In the park adjoining the building, new trees will be planted alongside existing trees, thus contributing positively to the environment. Environmental issues are an essential component of the training provided to ProCredit Bank staff at the local, regional and international level. In addition, there have been special green initiatives to raise environmental awareness among staff, including a series of educational brochures and calendars on saving energy, water and paper, along with special training for middle managers and signs reminding staff to turn off lights and equipment when not in use. A special competition was held among branches, encouraging employees to reduce their electricity consumption. The three branches that saved the most electricity were awarded a special prize.
Management of environmental risk in lending
ProCredit Bank Georgia has implemented an environmental management system based on continuous assessment of the loan portfolio according to environmental criteria, an in-depth analysis of all economic activities which potentially involve environmental risks, and the rejection of loan applications from enterprises engaged in activities which are deemed environmentally hazardous and appear on our institution’s exclusion list. By incorporating environmental issues into the loan approval process, ProCredit Bank Georgia is also able to raise its clients’ overall level of environmental awareness.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL EXCLUSION LIST (PDF)
Promotion of “green finance”
ProCredit Bank Georgia aims to promote economic development that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. Since 2012 bank has introduced new programme "green finace" – consisting of energy efficiency loans for private individuals as well as for businesses. This initiative also involves building relationships with suppliers of environmentally friendly equipment and services, and encouraging them to offer products bearing energy efficiency labels. The bank aims to use its green finance products and approach to increase public awareness and understanding. With the same goal in mind, ProCredit Bank is involved in a number of local environmental projects. Within the framework of one of these projects, USD 30,000 were donated to the Agency of Protected Areas in order to help maintain the infrastructure of Lagodekhi Natural Reserve. ProCredit Bank Georgia’s staff also assisted in clean-up activities and provided the reserve with 60 waste containers bearing the slogan “Love nature, keep it clean!”.
ProCredit Bank Code of Conduct (PDF)