Thanks to 150 years of expertise toward clients and real economy development, Societe Generale built a banking model on its vision and its values. The Bank leaned on its resources, its three complementary businesses and its technology expertise to create value for all its stakeholders.
Societe Generale is one of the leading European financial services groups. Based on a diversified and integrated banking model, the Group combines financial strength and proven expertise in innovation with a strategy of sustainable growth, aiming to be the trusted partner for its clients, committed to the positive transformations of the world.Societe Generale launched a more extensive and targeted initiative in 2017 for listening to its internal stakeholders (employees, staff representative bodies) and external stakeholders (investors, shareholders, customers, nongovernmental organisations, civil society, etc.) in order to anchor and reinforce the Bank’s CSR vision.
With the support of an external consulting firm, the Group performed an extensive consultation of around 1,350 individual customers, supplemented by 150 interviews with external and internal stakeholders. Besides France, this consultation was also conducted in Africa, the United States, Russia and in several other European countries, i.e. around fifteen countries in total. It enabled the creation of the materiality matrix below, which ranks sustainable development issues in light of the priorities expressed by the internal and external stakeholders. Societe Generale’s new CSR ambition has been developed on the basis of the results of this matrix.
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Integrated Report 2018-2019: Nurturing dialogue with our stakeholders
Who are the stakeholders?
These are communities within or outside of the Group - shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, public authorities and civil society (charities, NGOs, etc.) - which share the same interests, the same logic and influences, and with which it has fostered a climate of dialogue and exchange.
With our customers
Customer satisfaction is regularly analysed in each of the Bank’s businesses. This is generally done based on the recommendation rate (according to the Net Promoter Score system, which has been gradually rolled out since 2015), which is monitored at the highest level of the Group.
Within each of the main France Retail Banking customer segments (individual, professional and corporate customers), Societe Generale, its specialised subsidiaries (Sogécap, Sogessur, Franfinance, etc.) and Credit du Nord have been surveying representative samples of their respective customers – as well as clients of the top 11 French banks – in order to assess their level of relative satisfaction. These polls reveal the overall and detailed level of customer satisfaction across every aspect of the banking relationship.
For its part, in order to refine its products and services offer and to meet at the best its client’s needs, Corporate and Investment Banking conducts annual surveys based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS)
International Retail Banking gradually rollout a programme to mesure clients’ satisfaction, based on the NPS.
With shareholders and investors
Societe Generale regularly meets with its investors to present its strategy and results to them and to exchange views with them, including on environmental, social and governance topics.
In 2018, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, General Management and Group’s CFO accompanied by the Investor Relations team, spent nearly 50 days doing equity roadshows, environmental, social and governance roadshows and participated in around ten broker conferences in the major international financial centres. Societe Generale also organised in 2018 several events for investors and financial analysts in order to deepen their knowledge of the Group: Digital Day and two Deep Dives (one of them on market activities and Asia and the other one on consumer credit). Overall, the teams met nearly 330 institutions in around 700 meetings in around 20 towns and cities.
Maintaining and developing a close relationship with its individual shareholders is at the heart of Societe Generale’s shareholder strategy. This strategy is divided into several axes:
1. Meetings with our investors
In June 2018, the Groupe organised a meeting at the Palais de Congrès in Paris. Frédéric Oudéa exchanged with the shareholders on the Group’s strategy, its growth drivers and its innovation dynamic. All presentations were posted on the shareholders pages of the Group’s website. The individual shareholders relations team took part in a shareholders’ meeting in Toulon in November 2018.
2. Regular communication with Group’s stakeholders
Five time a year the Group publishes its Letter to Shareholders, which appears quarterly in newsletter format and in June, after the General Meeting, in paper format.
3. To listen to our stakeholders
To make sure it continues to meet the needs and expectations of its individual shareholders, the Bank has also had since 1988 a Shareholders’ Consultative Committee whose primary role is to advise on the Group’s individual shareholder relations and communication policy. The Committee meets twice a year and the questions it submits are relayed to the General Stakeholders Meeting.
Stakeholders can also ask questions and contact Individual Stakeholders Relations team by mail and by phone.
4. To develop privileged relationships with Societe Generale Club’s members (1)
Since 1992 Societe Generale Club has offered its members to participate in events (artistic, cultural or sports events related to the Group’s sponsorships and sponsorship policy) in France.
(1) Any individual Societe Generale shareholder can join the Club provided they personally hold at least 100 bearer shares or at least 50 registered shares in Societe Generale
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With rating agencies
Non-financial risk management and performance, which is an integral component of Societe Generale’s overall performance, are regularly assessed and rated by the non-financial rating agencies. The resulting analyses and ratings constitute recognition of the quality and transparency of the information provided and reflect the attention paid to the Group’s CSR actions by an external and independent observer. These ratings allow some of our stakeholders, such as the investors, to integrate non-financial criteria into their investment selections in addition to “responsible” stock market indices.
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With civil society
Societe Generale strives to engage in constructive dialogue with its stakeholders.
In particular, the Group listens to and converses with NGOs that alert it to E&S issues. Wherever possible, an internal enquiry is conducted and a documented response is given, either in writing or at meetings, as appropriate.
The Bank uses the Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) Department to centralise any request or contact by NGOs or other civil society members informing it about the impact of its financing services or other services.
In the course of 2018, Societe Generale participated in various working groups and discussion meetings with some 10 NGOs (including Friends of the Earth, BankTrack, Amnesty International, Oxfam and WWF), either in the form of bilateral meetings or broader consultation meetings organised by the associations themselves or, among others, by the OECD, the Equator Principles Association, and Entreprises pour les Droits de l'Homme (Companies for Human Rights).
The main topics covered in discussions with NGOs over the year were:
- the impact that the financial sector has on the climate, particularly with regard to the financing of activities related to fossil fuels (shale gas, coal);
- human rights, especially the rights of indigenous peoples and peoples located in disputed areas.
The Group has a"Dialogue & transparency" section on its website.
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Societe Generale’s obligations for a responsible advocacy
With our employees
The Group measures the commitment of its employees through the Employee Satisfaction Survey, an annual and anonymous internal survey conducted throughout the Group. Shared with employees, the results serve as the basis for action plans and working groups in the spirit of continuous improvement.
In 2018, the Employee Satisfaction Survey conducted (with a good participation rate – 74%) assessed employees’ understanding of transformation in the Group, their trust in the Group and its strategy, their pride of belonging and motivation at the workplace, and the managerial culture. The latter component included questions on ethics and conduct, in line with the ambitions of the Culture and Conduct programme. The survey showed an employee engagement rate of 66%, while 79% of employees claimed to be proud to work for the Societe Generale Group, and 68% said they were motivated by their work.
Regarding culture and conduct in the Group, 76% of employees are of the opinion that the Group behaves ethically in its activities, 84% that their management encourages ethical and responsible behaviour, and 81% assert that they are prepared to exercise their right to whistle blow should they witness or be confronted with misconduct.
As from 2019, the Employee Satisfaction Survey will be reviewed and combined with the survey on working conditions already conducted in France (see 2019 Registration document, p. 265, “Focus on the prevention of psychosocial risks”), which will thus be rolled out across all Group entities.
With our suppliers
The Group’s total annual procurement budget amounted in 2018 to EUR 6.8 billion. In pursuing a responsible sourcing policy since 2006, with a view to ensuring compliance with Societe Generale’s environmental and social commitments, the Sourcing Function has shown itself to be key to the CSR ambition.
The Group strives for continuous improvement in its sourcing practices. In 2012, the French National Ombudsman (Médiation des Entreprises) and National Procurement Council (CNA) awarded the Group “Responsible Sourcing and Supplier Relations” certification.
Over the period between 2016 and 2018, the Sourcing Function’s Positive Sourcing Programme (the Group’s fourth action plan in respect of responsible sourcing) had two main objectives:
- to improve CSR risk management during the sourcing process;
- to diversify sourcing, contributing to improvements in the Group’s regional and environmental footprint.
This programme follows on from the “Responsible Sourcing Practices” internal guideline, as appended to the Global Agreement on Fundamental Rights signed in June 2015 with UNI Global Union. This is a clear signal from the Group that the programme is intended to apply to all entities (see “Being a responsible employer”).
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With regulators and supervisors
In all countries in which the Group is present, it builds close relationships with the banking and financial supervision authorities and regulators. This helps him to understand and to anticipate regulatory changes, while also enabling to contribute to them through regular consultations with these authorities.
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COMPLIANCE AND MORE