The issues emerging from engagement are summarised below transversally, and the various stakeholders interviewed provided input on some of the seven issues identified as material.
Protection of solidity and profitability
Among those interviewed, the issue of protection of solidity and profitability was mentioned many times as being at the basis of operations. In particular, there is a strong awareness, for example among the Group's market coordinators, SRI investors and small shareholders' associations, that the Group is solid and able to face the challenges of the future. Employees, sustainability analysts and small shareholders' associations underlined the Group's commitment in protecting employment during the restructuring phases. Therefore, the Business Plan has been widely welcomed as it clearly aims to protect employees and reassign resources to other areas of activity after completing a training process.
Business risk management
Stakeholders interviewed focused their attention on the social and environmental risks in financing decisions: SRI (Social Responsible Investment) analysts assess the Group's participation in the Equator Principles, but NGOs would like banks to adopt stricter guidelines and standards to include social and environmental criteria in the financing decisions. SRI investors would like specific investment policies to be defined for certain particularly critical sectors.
Integrity and rigour in corporate conduct
Employees seek more effective training on these issues. Investors and SRI analysts pay growing attention to the anti-corruption and anti-money laundering processes, in order to fully assess the risks arising from business relations with customers and with Public Administration. These risks may arise mainly in the area of infrastructure loans and tenders.
Development, management and enhancement of human resources
The central issue that emerged from the focus groups and from the climate surveys was the enhancement of merit in both the assessment systems as well as the individual development plans.
Even the value of diversity is not yet perceived as an integral part of corporate culture. The issue is not about gender equality but intergenerationality.
Lastly, employees consider welfare as one of Intesa Sanpaolo’s strengths and highlight a change with regard to the initiatives aimed at anti-robbery security, particularly thanks to the technologies used.
Offering a valued service to customers
Research on the needs of households identified the expectation that the Bank should accept the changing, flexible and interdependent nature of today's family and should develop an offer that will ensure advantageous banking conditions for all household members.
A significant portion of companies expect the Bank to develop specific sector expertise in order to support companies and development projects better, also by creating new consulting tools (analysis of environmental costs, definition of business plans, etc.). Also in demand are services identifying possible partners in production, logistics and distribution, especially innovation partners for research and development activities. In terms of new entrepreneurs, namely young people and/or entrepreneurs with a high level of “innovation”, the main difficulties when creating business plans are linked to internal processes that should be streamlined. Young companies have demonstrated greater propensity towards internationalisation and would therefore like greater support from the Banks in this respect.
Access to credit and savings management
The economic crisis and difficulty in accessing credit are the most limiting factors in the growth of companies.
In terms of households, the most vulnerable stakeholders, such as the elderly, youth or immigrants, require greater support from the Bank in terms of more accessible products and services geared towards their needs. Those with the greatest propensity for saving are the elderly, who expect the Bank to develop investment products that protect capital (to support the plans of households, handle future retirement, invest the employee severance indemnity). They seek targeted consulting on investments (even long-term), also covering the tax, insurance, real estate and inheritance areas.
Non-government organisations and SRI rating agencies criticise the Group's involvement in the coal sector (extraction and use for energy production). The group is admired by Sustainalytics for its environmental policy and its environmental management systems. According to OEKOM, the environmental policy does not refer to the Group's investments portfolio and asset management activities and, therefore, it is considered to be partial. In terms of reduction in emissions, the Group has identified a number of targets with regard to the impacts of its activities but not with regard to the impacts of the activities it finances. An area for improvement is the necessity for the Group to motivate the sale of “green” products in order to contribute to sustainable development of the planet.