TSB is a mutual bank that offers a range of banking products such as Online Banking, Current Accounts, Mortgages, Personal Loans, Credit Cards and Home Insurance. ESG ratings are typically used by investors to analyze a publicly traded company’s non-financial risk. Since TSB is a mutual bank, owned by depositors and not publicly traded, they are not required to undergo ESG rating evaluations. However, as stated on the company’s website, they recognize the importance of ESG to members of their community and are currently formulating ESG strategy and framework. To spread the commitment of having a positive social and environmental impact, the bank launched its “Do What Matters plan” in July 2020, a three-year programme with the goal of affecting positive change across five key pillars: Customers; Businesses; Colleagues; Communities; and the Environment. Because ESG criteria is not a required measurement to TSB, the actions they take do not seem to be very transparent such that they do not offer annual sustainability reports. The goal of committing to ESG even though they are not required to do so could be caused by their intention for reputational benefit under a market environment where everyone else (other banks) tend to follow ESG and set sustainability targets. Overall, I give the bank a rating of 1.6 planets out of 3.
TSB Bank operates a network of 290 branches across England, Scotland and Wales. According to the UN Finance Initiative, TSB Bank is a retail bank which provides banking services across Great Britain to over 5 million customers. This includes personal banking, mortgages and loans, as well as banking services for Britain’s smallest businesses. By providing services to the small-cap firms, the bank is supporting small businesses to achieve a liveable world through liveable flow of deals and liquidity. Environment being a key pillar in TSB Bank’s responsible business strategy, it led to the launch of “Do What Matters Plan” in July 2020. In January 2021 TSB Bank unveiled its plans to achieve net-zero operational carbon by 2030 and commits to set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative.
With respect to the Environment, part of TSB’s “Do What Matters Plan” focuses on reducing their impact on the environment and meeting the highest international standards. Within this plan they consider emissions from their own operations - Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their downstream impacts. For example, from mortgage products and supply chain, waste, paper and water - Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. Statistically speaking, they have committed to reducing the environmental impact of their own operations by becoming net zero no later than 2030. In 2021 TSB signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, which requires it to set credible absolute and net zero targets by the end of 2022. TSB has joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, an industry-led, UN-convened alliance of banks worldwide, committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with the goals of the UN Paris Agreement by 2050, or sooner. Lastly, they’ve reduced our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 74% from the 2019 baseline and reduced Scope 3 emissions (for waste, business travel, paper and water) by 78% since 2019. The data shown on their website explicitly demonstrates the impact the bank has been making so far. The progress is not necessarily measured by specific, standardized metrics, but is transparent enough to show the efforts they’ve been making so far.
Socially, TSB has been putting great emphasis on building a strong, connected community. The bank motivates its employees to volunteer in their communities. During 2021, TSB colleagues volunteered more than 9,000 hours. With almost a third of these hours spent volunteering with Citizens Advice. Colleagues, with the right skills, used some of those hours at their local Citizens Advice offices directly helping clients, and others shared their knowledge delivering a series of masterclasses or taking part in a mentoring scheme. Outside of this, TSB colleagues have joined the NHS Jabs Army to help the fight against Covid-19, worked within their communities to clean up litter and supported a range of local initiatives. In addition, through the TSB Charity Partner Programme, they got behind 68 charities across Britain to carry out crucial work in our communities which support vulnerable people, victims of domestic abuse, mental health, cancer care, homelessness and help the disadvantaged. The bank put an emphasis on offering a safe space to victims of domestic abuse. To achieve this, they partner with charity Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign, to be the first bank to provide a Safe Space to victims of domestic abuse in every one of our branches. With more than 1500 colleagues trained and ready to help victims get the support they need and to take the steps to their freedom. In my opinion, TSB is specializing in one field and expanding their social impact within the field through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and employee initiatives. I hold an optimistic view to its future impact made positively in communities, and I hope that they can expand their impact to a global scale.
In the Governance aspect, TSB aligns its business plan with national and international standards. This includes having good governance, with senior accountability; being trusted by employees to do the right thing; developing a plan with input from stakeholders; and being transparent with data and the progress they are making. The bank works in partnership with a range of expert organizations to make sure our actions meet independent standards and commitments. Announced on the company’s website, TSB is the first and only retail bank accredited by the Good Business Charter, a national accreditation scheme that recognises businesses that behave responsibly. TSB is also stated to be committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative, a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals. The bank, however, did not disclose any specific actions taken internally, such as operational improvements or any organizational change in response to ESG performance. Overall, I would give it a score of 1.7 based on the transparency and efforts made by the bank itself towards ESG criteria.
TSB has a history rooted in social impact; while it strives to create economic value, it is equally concerned with having a positive social and environmental impact. TSB is also a timely example of how businesses can examine their own processes and make digital-first choices, such as using Adobe Acrobat Sign and digital technologies that improve not only customer servicing and satisfaction rates, but support their sustainability goals. As stated on their website, TSB has been creating social, environmental, and economic value, by doing what matters for customers, the businesses they work with, colleagues, local communities, and the environment. The plan launched by the bank corresponds to ESG from multiple dimensions and initiatives that TSB takes on indicate decent efforts they’ve been putting in with regards to sustainability. The bank deserves an average rating because they lack information such as financial plans or green investment portfolios that help customers or businesses achieve sustainability. They hope to align their lending and investment portfolios with the goals of the UN Paris Agreement by 2050.To be able to achieve this goal, TSB would need to work towards implementing green investment and making their portfolio choices more transparent. The bank might be behind when compared to other banks because ESG evaluation is not something that they are required to report, so there could be less motivation for them to strongly enforce ESG throughout their company.