Communication on Progress

Participant
Published
  • 2013/09/12
Time period
  • September 2011  –  September 2013
Format
  • Stand alone document – Basic COP Template
Differentiation Level
  • This COP qualifies for the Global Compact Active level
Self-assessment
  • Includes a CEO statement of continued support for the UN Global Compact and its ten principles
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Human Rights
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Labour
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Environment
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Anti-Corruption
  • Includes a measurement of outcomes
 
  • Statement of continued support by the Chief Executive Officer
  • Statement of the company's chief executive (CEO or equivalent) expressing continued support for the Global Compact and renewing the company's ongoing commitment to the initiative and its principles.

  • H.E Ban Ki-moon
    Secretary-General
    United Nations
    New York, NY 10017
    USA

    Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
    I am pleased to confirm that Bank of Paletine supports the ten principles of the Global Compact with respect to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
    With this communication, we express our intent to advance those principles within our sphere of influence. We are committed to making the Global Compact and its principles part of the startegy, culture, and day-to-day operations of our bank, and to engaging in collaborative projects, which advance the broader development goals of the United Nations, particularly the Millennium Development Goals. Bank of Palestine will make a clear statement of this commitment to our stakeholders and the general public.
    We recognize that a key requirement for participation in the Global Compact is the annual submission of a Communication on Progress (COP) that describes our bank’s efforts to implement the ten principles. We support public accountability and transparency, and therefore commit to report on progress within one year of joining the Global Compact, and annually thereafter according to the Global Compact COP policy.

    Sincerely,

    Hashim Shawa
    Chairman & General Manager
    Bank of Palestine

Human Rights
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of human rights for the company (i.e. human rights risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on Human Rights.

  • Bank of Palestine and its subsidiary companies have adopted the United Nations Global Compact policies on human rights. The code of conduct of Bank of Palestine and its subsidiary companies emphasizes a policy on respecting human rights and preventing potential abuses. A special mechanism to investigate and prosecute human rights violations at the work place has also been established.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement Human Rights policies, address Human Rights risks and respond to Human Rights violations.

  • All Bank of Palestine branches and offices have a suggestion box, which could be utilized to highlight ideas pertaining to human rights at the work place. Bank of Palestine has established an open-line policy between its employees and the Human Resources Department, thus allowing employees to report any human rights violations or abuses. Through its Human Resources Policy Handbook, Bank of Palestine has made it clear to all employees and stakeholders that it adopts and supports the United Nations Global Compact policies on human rights.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • Bank of Palestine’s senior management receives regular reports from the Human Resources Department on issues relating to human rights. When cases of human rights abuses are discovered, investigations are held promptly and correction measures are then adopted.

Labour
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of labour rights for the company (i.e. labour rights-related risks and opportunities). Description of written policies, public commitments and company goals on labour rights.

  • Bank of Palestine and its subsidiaries uphold the Labor Principles of the United Nations Global Compact. These principles are referenced in Bank of Palestine’s Employee Handbook. In addition to these principles, Bank of Palestine emphasizes other labor principles including ones that focus on gender inclusion at the work place.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions taken by the company to implement labour policies, address labour risks and respond to labour violations.

  • The Labor Principles of the United Nations Global Compact are adopted at Bank of Palestine in several ways. First, an employee-employer communication mechanism has been established through an employee suggestion box, and through the adoption of an open-line policy connecting the employees with the general management. Through the suggestion box and the open-line policy, the employees are freely able to communicate all their suggestions and concerns to their seniors. Second, Bank of Palestine has invested great effort on training all employees on labor rights and policies. For example, a new employee orientation has been set in place to support this initiative. Finally, Bank of Palestine recently enhanced its healthcare insurance to all employees and their families.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • The senior management receives regular reports from the Human Resources department pertaining to the labor principles of the United Nations Global Compact. The reports focus on gender inclusion, including figures on employees’ benefits and salaries in order to ensure equality at the work place.

Environment
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of environmental protection for the company (i.e. environmental risks and opportunities). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on environmental protection.

  • Social and environmental responsibility has been an integral part of the way Bank of Palestine operates since the bank was founded in 1960. BOP has been implementing an all-encompassing sustainability strategy, because we believe that out of strong, stable communities will grow sustainable businesses, and sustainable businesses will help strengthen the wider economy of Palestine, where we operate. As part of our sustainability strategy, we have dedicated staff to track the progress of the different parts of the strategy.
    Demonstrating respect for the environment and human rights is an essential part of behaving responsibly as a company. We incorporate a social and environmental strategy that will have an impact on all our activities and business functions. In addition, all Bank of Palestine policies are designed and written to ensure that the bank’s operations do not damage the environment or cause social harm. In 2008, Bank of Palestine adopted the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) social and environmental policies, which are applied when granting credit facilities at any of Bank of Palestine’s branches and sub-branches. These policies provide the bank with a framework for determining whether a client adheres to our sustainability strategy. All of the bank’s credit officers use a standard checklist to confirm that loan applicants and the projects that require financing meet the requirements of these policies.
    We focus on offering relevant products and services to our clients. Similar to our commitment to social and economic development through support for micro and small businesses, Bank of Palestine is equally committed to bringing about social and environmental improvements through its green loans programme. As its name suggests, these are loans to individuals, families, and MSMEs for projects that lead to greater water or energy efficiency, waste water treatment, and the production of renewable energy, particularly in rural Palestine. The Middle East is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. The World Health Organisation recommends that each person have 100 litres of water a day available. In Palestine, water availability is 60 litres per person, per day. Hence, our green loan programme is very important to the overall health of our region. Education is an integral part of this programme, so that people—particularly farmers—are aware of the programme and the benefits it can bring. To this end, Bank of Palestine conducts workshops throughout rural Palestine to explain the benefits of energy and water efficiency.
    Finally, Bank of Palestine ensures that its own operations are as sustainable as possible through the way their buildings are constructed and operate and through the types of products and services offered.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement environmental policies, address environmental risks and respond to environmental incidents.

  • Bank of Palestine ensures the advancement of its policies on environmental protection through the implementation of different measures. First, Bank of Palestine’s Employee Handbook and Annual Report have a special section on the environment, which is intended to raise awareness amongst the employees and stakeholders. Second, as mentioned previously, Bank of Palestine’s loan-system is set in a way to ensure protecting and improving the quality of the environment. The green loans program, for example, guarantees loans only to those interested in investing in projects that enhance the quality of Palestine’s environment.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates environmental performance.

  • BOP has a reporting checklist to track the progress of the bank. All reports are circulated to executive management. The Board of Directors and senior management committees are periodically provided with reports and analysis on risks associated with environmental and social issues. Loan losses for environmental issues are tracked and reported to board members and senior management.

Anti-Corruption
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of anti-corruption for the company (i.e. anti-corruption risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on anti-corruption.

  • Bank of Palestine and its subsidiaries adopts the Anti-Corruption Principles of the United Nations Global Compact. In its Employee Handbook, Bank of Palestine makes it clear that it adopts a zero-tolerance policy for bribery, corruption and extortion. Bank of Palestine has a setup mechanism to deal with violators who are found guilty of corruption-related acts.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement anti-corruption policies, address anti-corruption risks and respond to incidents.

  • Bank of Palestine and its subsidiaries adopts the Anti-Corruption Principles of the United Nations Global Compact. In its Employee Handbook, Bank of Palestine makes it clear that it adopts a zero-tolerance policy for bribery, corruption and extortion. Bank of Palestine has a setup mechanism to deal with violators who are found guilty of corruption-related acts.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates anti-corruption performance.

  • Bank of Palestine’s senior management receives regular reports from the Risk Management Department on issues relating to corruption. When cases of human rights abuses are discovered, investigations are held promptly and correction measures are then adopted.