Bonhôte has been awarded the global B Corp certification. This accolade, considered one of the most exacting certifications in the sphere of social responsibility and sustainability, substantiates the bank’s day-to-day commitment to the planet and society at large.
Bonhôte Bank has been certified as a B Corp™ following a stringent assessment process that included a comprehensive review of its business activities, thereby acknowledging its long-standing dedication to CSR issues.
This certification was granted following a thorough analysis of the bank’s impact on customers, employees, the community and the environment. It recognises Bonhôte’s strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) performance and marks the first step in a process of continuous improvement.
Video: Bonhôte certified B Corp™
The certification process began in May 2020 and was performed by a team of eight bank employees. Cyril Lanfranchi, who leads Bonhôte’s sustainability drive, commented the following:
The certification process included answering a questionnaire comprising more than 230 questions, from which we needed to score at least 80 points. The responses were analysed by several independent experts and interviews conducted to verify the truth of what we asserted. At the end of this process, the bank obtained certification with a score of 91.7 points. We also had to make adjustments to our articles of association and draw up a list of objectives to be met in the future, bearing in mind that re-certification will be in three years’ time.
Range of commitments
As reflected in its answers to the B Corp certification questionnaire, Bonhôte’s social and environmental commitment does not end there. It is also allowing its employees to become shareholders. Equal opportunities and fair pay are other issues firmly on its radar.
Concerning environmental protection, the bank runs on hydroelectric power, operates energy saving schemes and encourages employees to leave the car at home. Clients are likewise covered by the bank’s sustainability ethos, as managing their assets dovetails perfectly with the objectives of the Corp B label.
Bonhôte offers its clients responsible investing mandates focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. The bank is furthermore a founding member of Swiss Sustainable Finance, a body aiming to make Switzerland the global hub for sustainable financial services. Two years ago, it launched the Bonhôte Impact programme, which in addition to investment income generates positive returns for society and the environment..
Objectives to be achieved
A total of 80 points out of 250 must be achieved by any company seeking B Corp certification. Bonhôte was awarded 91.7 points, in line with the average for financial institutions. Some questions prevented it from obtaining all the points up for grabs. As is standard practice in the banking industry, the bank could not provide all the necessary information on its suppliers, including details of business transacted with them or the closeness of their relations with the bank’s head office or branches.
Corp B certification requires certification holders to update their articles of association. Therein the bank is now obliged to mention that its operations must have a significant impact on society and the environment. Corp B certification also sets targets such as training managers in sustainable development, so that their portfolios score well in social and environmental terms, and implementing practices encouraging staff to adopt eco-friendly behaviour in the workplace.
Reassessed every three years
The certification process was closely monitored by B Lab Switzerland, the NGO in charge of certification in this country. Jonathan Normand, Executive Director of B Lab Switzerland, had the following to say: “We’re very pleased to welcome Bonhôte Bank to the B Corp community. The role of banks in building a more resilient and sustainable economy is absolutely undeniable. Bonhôte has succeeded in connecting with this reality and factoring in the impact of its business activities on all stakeholders, not just clients but also civil society and the environment in the broadest sense. We congratulate Bonhôte on its certification and for its tangible commitment to being a force for good.”
The bank’s sustainable investment strategy was also analysed in detail. Launched in 2013, Bonhôte’s ESG service was subsequently expanded through the launch of the Impact fund and strategy in 2019. This investment model delivers a positive social and environmental impact by investing in sectors and themes that address major global challenges such as climate change, economic development in disadvantaged regions, efficient use of natural resources and access to health and education. The Impact strategy was assessed as part of the B Corp certification, along with the bank’s other sustainable finance commitments.