Our stories

Protecting the environment

Singapore Changi Business Park

Built to high environmental standards

Our new flagship offices under construction at Changi Business Park, Singapore, have been recommended for the ‘Greenmark Platinum’ award by the Building Construction Authority of Singapore – the highest environmental award available in the country.

We have specified that this building must focus on energy conservation, and anticipate energy use will be 35 per cent less than standard Singapore offices. Solar panels will provide enough electricity for when the building is ‘dormant’.

They will also power an ultra-efficient, automatic drip-feed irrigation system. A host of water-saving initiatives, including recycling waste water and collecting rainwater, will result in considerable water savings. A dedicated waste chute will promote recycling of various types of waste, while extensive green areas and gardens will feature a host of native endangered species thanks to a partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).


India Environment Committee

Celebrates World Environment Day

Environment action in India ranged from high-profile activities on World Environment Day to participation in ‘Break the Climate Deadlock’ meetings led by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Neeraj Swaroop, Chief executive officer India, spoke at the launch of the India Carbon Disclosure Project report in December 2008, describing how financial institutions can help support the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Employees from offices and branches all over the country were involved in World Environment Day events. Activities included a ‘walk to work’ day, employee volunteering to clean beaches, a ‘zero waste’ day, a ‘switch-off’ and ‘leave your car at home’ campaign, and an environment-themed drawing competition for employees’ children. The extent of our commitment to the environment was acknowledged by Dr R K Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The India Environment Committee is led by Hemant Mishr, head of sales, South Asia, Financial Markets, and supported by staff members from across the business functions. The Committee is pursuing a comprehensive plan to address the impacts of our operations, engagement and innovative environment financing opportunities.

For example, payslips have been migrated to the Bank-wide online system, saving more than 330,000 sheets of paper a year. Similarly, retirement benefits have been switched to a secure email system.

The IT team in India has dramatically reduced its energy use through data centre optimisation and the use of more efficient equipment. Server virtualisation is expected to reduce energy demand by up to 80 per cent and avoid the need for an additional 77 servers.


Race for a Living Planet

3.5m environmental pledges for the Race for a Living Planet

More than 15,000 employees and 500,000 other people took part in the Greatest Race on Earth: Race for a Living Planet environment challenge. They generated 3.5 million pledges and Standard Chartered donated $1 million to environmental projects in three winning countries.

The event tied in with the annual Standard Chartered marathon series and was organised in partnership with WWF. Standard Chartered staff, customers, clients and others pledged to make changes to their lives that would help protect the environment. The competition raised awareness of global environmental issues and how small changes to daily habits can make a difference.

Prize money went to WWF environment projects in the three markets that generated the most pledges per capita: Brunei, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Brunei contributed the money to the Heart of Borneo project, which is rehabilitating peatland forests and carrying out biological diversity surveys in key zones to help protect species.

Taiwan donated the money to WWF’s Coral Triangle Project, protecting an area of immense marine diversity containing more than a third of the world’s coral reef. Taiwan’s involvement with the Coral Triangle led to the Bank and WWF making a presentation on the value of public/private partnerships at the Acia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Roundtable on Marine Conservation.

The Hong Kong donation also went towards a marine conservation project, including funding for a documentary series for Chinese television and the launch of a website and online learning module.


Sustainable finance

Asian Development Bank

Energy–efficient investment

In 2008, we partnered with the Asian Development Bank on a credit guarantee programme to support small and medium-sized private sector energy-efficiency projects in China.

The Energy Efficiency Multi-Project Financing Program helps energy users in China to access finance to improve energy efficiency in existing and new buildings. The programme finances retrofitting of existing buildings, typically producing energy savings of 20–40 per cent. Given China’s rapid urbanisation, improved energy efficiency of buildings will achieve substantial long-lasting reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.


South Korea SinAn solar power plant

The largest photovoltaic solar project in Asia

This is Korea’s flagship solar project and one of the largest in the world. It began operating in two phases during 2008, ultimately with almost 25MW capacity. The plant produces 33,000 MWh of electricity a year – enough to supply 7,200 households with non-polluting energy year after year. This project alone helps Korea reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of planting 168,000 trees.


Working with clients in the palm oil sector for better environmental and social performance

Sustainable Palm oil

As a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Bank expects RSPO membership when evaluating clients in this sector. In the case of one Indonesian palm oil plantation client, we made RSPO membership a pre-requisite for lending and this was included as a covenant in our loan agreements. Another client was requested to conduct a High Conservation Value Assessment before beginning new plantings, even before this was made a requirement by RSPO in November 2008.


Rapu Rapu mine

Rapu Rapu is a mining project in the Philippines. As one of five banks in the lending group we had concerns over a number of environmental and social aspects of the project.

During its commissioning, the Rapu Rapu mine was affected by a number of environmental and climatic events, including three typhoons and two accidental discharges of non-toxic effluent to waterways in late 2005. Lenders also became aware of shortfalls in community engagement and grievance mechanisms available to address livelihood concerns. Adding to our concerns, at the time of financing, the project did not meet the capital requirements for application of the Equator Principles.

As a matter of priority, we acted quickly to apply the Principles from the time of our involvement.

The mining company, with the support of the financiers, implemented a number of changes, including the construction of improved waste water management systems, drainage channels and by increasing the height of the tailings dam to further protect the surrounding communities. In addition, several community action programmes were initiated.

The eventual insolvency of the company meant that many of these planned actions were not completed. In March 2008, the project finance lenders (including Standard Chartered) sold their debt exposure to the project’s existing 26% shareholder.

The end of our involvement brought forth a dilemma that confronts many Equator banks - Do lenders have leverage over clients beyond loan exposure?

The Equator Principles succeed on the ability of a bank to improve project outcomes through specific recourse if a project does not comply with the required social and environmental covenants. Beyond the confines of our sphere of influence, Equator banks seek to be a promoter of environmentally sound financing by reaching out to other banks to encourage adoption of the Principles.

In 2009, we are going to work closely with financial institutions in our markets including China to encourage adoption of the Principles and help build their capacity to manage environmental and social risks in lending.


Access to financial services

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Committing to contributing to the Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight overarching goals that aim to respond to the world’s most pressing development challenges by 2015. In 2008, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, invited global leaders to join forces at the MDG Business Call to Action. The purpose was to get companies to commit to assist with accelerating progress of the MDGs by adapting their core businesses to help meet the goals.

Standard Chartered’s commitment, announced by Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands, will provide innovative financial products, skills development, business mentoring and research to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fulfil their growth potential.

The SMEs sector is the engine of growth for economies worldwide and makes up the vast majority of businesses. However, in many parts of the world, these SMEs are too large to qualify either as micro-enterprises or for donor support, and too small to be targeted by most commercial banks. The result is that they are chronically under-served.

We believe that encouraging SMEs to thrive will create wealth, by employing more people and paying more taxes.


Microfinance can make a real difference

Microfinance can make a real difference

Clara Ibezim was born into poverty. Her father died young and her mother was disabled. Lacking a sound education and with no family or relatives who could support her, Clara married at 16.

Clara and her family subsisted on her husband’s meagre income. When Nigeria experienced economic recession in the late 1980s, it wasn’t enough to service the family budget. “We could no longer feed them well and my children were not getting the right care and attention,” she says. “They were even driven from school due to delay in the payment of fees.”

Clara’s life changed in 2004, when she was introduced to a credit officer from a Nigeria-based MFI and partner of Standard Chartered, the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO). With a ₦10,000 ($85) loan from LAPO, Clara has transformed her business and her life.

Clara’s first loan enabled her to stock a small provisions business. Her prompt repayment led to another loan. Early business management training from LAPO had taught her to use the loans for business, rather than personal needs and to reinvest her profits into her business. She has now secured her eighth loan of ₦80,000 ($678). In total, Clara has received ₦360,000 ($3,051) from LAPO to develop her business.

“lt is very encouraging to note that the little business which I started with the sum of ₦10,000 ($85) has grown to a capital base of ₦300,000 ($2,542) within a short time,” she declares. “LAPO has given me support and fresh hope for the future.”


Expanding microfinance partnerships to the Middle East

Expanding microfinance partnerships to the Middle East

At the end of 2008, we launched our first agreement to fund microfinance projects in the Middle East. Standard Chartered will initially make a JOD1.5 million ($2 million) facility available to Tamweelcom, a Jordanian MFI, to support micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the Kingdom.

Jordan has huge potential in the microfinance industry. The government’s National Strategy for Microfinance seeks to integrate the sector with the mainstream financial services industry.


Inauguration of the largest dealing room in Pakistan

First Shariah-compliant bond issue

In 2008, the Pakistani Government issued its largest Islamic bond – or Sukuk – structured and arranged by Standard Chartered. The transaction ensures Islamic banks have Shariah-compliant security for the first time in Pakistan. This responds to Islamic financial institutions’ need for Shariah-compliant instruments to meet their reserve requirements.

The Sukuk raised funds for the Pakistani Government and provide it with a platform through which to tap the Islamic finance market. We are pleased to have been able to support the government with the structuring of the Sukuk programme. The transaction enabled the government to access the local market through a State Bank of Pakistan auction and to manage money supply in the system. Islamic banks subscribed to a significant portion of the issue. The Pakistani Government will now be able to borrow locally at more attractive rates, having previously been reliant on expensive foreign capital.


Tackling financial crime


SWAT game educates customers to protect themselves from financial crime

We launched an online game called S.W.A.T. to educate customers on fraud risk. The game illustrates risks and challenges players to minimise fraud. For example, they sift through various emails to detect fraudulent ones and rank the safety of a series of passwords.

The game is available on the home page of Standard Chartered’s website and has been used by players from across the globe.

Play SWAT here: SWAT


Suspicious Activity Reports – SARS

 Transaction monitoring

During 2008, as part of our transaction monitoring and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) process, we piloted in New York a programme to combat child pornography.

The programme used the Norkom system to filter and store data on entities suspected of links to child pornography or human trafficking and we provided advanced training to investigators on developing cases related to these crimes. Already, the programme has resulted in two reports to the relevant authorities.

We are now introducing the programme to other countries that use the Norkom system. We trained a further 41 investigators covering non-US markets and will add to this total during 2009.


Responsible selling and marketing

Education and financial literacy

 Education and financial literacy

The Consumer Banking business in Singapore engages in consumer education programmes to increase customers’ financial literacy. It organised five investment seminars for its customers in 2008 on a range of investment topics.


Assisting vulnerable customers

Assisting vulnerable customers The Bank has instituted specific processes to ensure that the Treating Customers Fairly principles are closely considered when undertaking sales of investment products to potentially vulnerable customers. The Bank has defined vulnerable customers as those with no prior investment experience and who are elderly or have limited formal education. A suitability assessment is conducted for all customers, taking into account their investment experience, age, risk appetite, concentration risk and other relevant factors. Where a customer is considered suitable, the product is sold with clear and transparent risk disclosure, including guidance that investors should be prepared to hold the investment to full term, and the potential risk of loss of investment capital in certain circumstances.


Focus Groups on customer service

As part of continuous improvement to meet customers’ needs, the Bank frequently engages external parties to conduct customer focus group surveys before launching a new product to better understand the needs of the target market.


Enhancing customer communications

Enhanced customer service

In India and Pakistan there have been a number of problems experienced with the local postal system. After analysis of the root cause, the end of 2008 was dedicated to confirming up-to-date contact details with customers who contacted the Bank, to ensure the most efficient and convenient communication option was open to the customer to work round difficulties relating to the local postal system.

In addition, Consumer Banking has made it easier for customers to update contact details via a simple telephone call, rather than requiring written instructions. It has also accelerated the deployment of customer-friendly technology such as email and SMS alerts to assist customers in managing their transactions and accounts.

Great place to work

State-of-the-art crèche in Sri Lanka

Youngsters looked after while parents work

Our unique KidKare Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has helped employees balance their work and family commitments. The centre provides day care services and educational activities throughout the working day for children aged between six months and 12 years.

Activities include arts and crafts, gardening and cooking. The centre offers supervised homework sessions for older children already at school and additional activities focus on developing conversational and social skills.

The centre is run in collaboration with Seekers Research, an educational research organisation. They provide regular staff training and monitoring to ensure the centre continues to provide the highest standards of care.


India-China talent exchange

 India China talent exchange

In 2008, we launched a talent exchange programme between China and India to forge stronger working relationships and cultural understanding between these two strategically important markets.

The programme represents an exciting opportunity for participating employees to advance their careers and experience a new culture. For the Bank, it is an opportunity to facilitate the sharing of best practice, ideas and new ways of working between two of our key markets.

Ten employees from each country participated in the first exchange, spending up to three months working on projects in their host countries. A second exchange is currently being planned.


Integrating employees

AEB employees welcomed into Standard Chartered

Integrating employees from American Express Bank (AEB) was a priority after its acquisition by Standard Chartered in 2008.

In Taiwan, Synergy Workshops were organised for AEB and Standard Chartered employees to celebrate the histories and successes of both organisations. Through the use of visual scrolls, depicting the key milestones of the two banks before the integration and, then discussing the current market positioning, the participants gained a consensus and committed to work together as a team toward the vision of the Bank.

The employees also took part in a number of activities, which highlighted the culture and values of Standard Chartered, and it provided an opportunity to network and to share best practice.


Community investment

Living with HIV ‘Train the Trainer workshop’

Over $2m donated for earthquake reconstruction

In August 2008, Standard Chartered conducted ‘Train the Trainer’ training for our South American region covering seven countries. This was set up to coincide with AIESEC’s 2008 International Congress and 60th anniversary celebrations, where 600 AIESEC students from 100 countries gathered in Brazil with the event themed around ”Responsible for Sustainable Future“. Newly trained HIV Champions conducted a practical one and half hour workshop to a group of 30 AIESEC students, covering the five key areas at the heart of our HIV education programme.


Many of the students were already involved in HIV education with Standard Chartered in their own countries, and this was reflected in the high level of knowledge demonstrated in the pre-workshop quiz, although knowledge levels increased for everyone after the session. The workshop gave an opportunity to discuss many issues surrounding HIV, supporting our advocacy that face-to-face education provides a friendly, non-threatening environment to discuss challenging topics and will more likely encourage behaviour change than online education alone.


Volunteering and improving eye-care services in Dhaka

Eye hospital sees benefits of volunteers

Standard Chartered volunteers saved Islamia Eye Hospital in Dhaka thousands of dollars, using their core skills to advise on an upgrade of their information technology systems. Other Standard Chartered employees spent a day volunteering by assisting doctors, answering patients’ queries and accompanying them to and from the hospital.

The hospital is one of four in the Bangladeshi capital to benefit from a five-year partnership with Seeing is Believing. The partnership will fund corrective surgeries, along with improved training for hospital staff and better eye-care support services for over 270,000 visually impaired people in the city. Dhaka is one of 20 cities across the world to receive support as part of A New Vision.


Sichuan signing ceremony

Over $2m donated for earthquake reconstruction

Standard Chartered committed over $3 million towards reconstruction efforts following the devastating Sichuan earthquake in China, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

In addition, the Bank set up a relief fund for donations from our employees in China, and in keeping with the Standard Chartered spirit, many employees from around the world also wanted to help. A number of markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK also set up accounts for employee donations.



  • $3.2 billionrenewable energy and clean technology projects financed since 2007
  • 14 per centreduction in CO2 emissions per employee
  • $385 millionin credit and financial instruments to microfinance institutions