Sustainability

Alternatif Bank Sustainable Banking

We are focused on creating value for the society with our Sustainability Committee We care about developing sustainable approaches and strategies for our Bank in environmental, social and governance areas as part of the efforts of our committee dedicated to coordinate our sustainability projects. To this end, we have set our primary areas of interest, which include Qualified Education, Equal Opportunity, Environmental and Social Governance and Ethical and Accessible Banking. We have established our working groups and started working immediately. In addition to the efforts carried out by five working groups under the Sustainability Committee, our Bank is also working on various corporate responsibility projects for a better world.

Kaan Gür

Alternatif Bank CEO

Our Sustainability Approach

Alternatif Bank’s sustainability journey started in 2019 by taking the decision to set up a Sustainability Committee. On the other hand, economic, environmental and social implications of sustainability have been at the Bank’s corporate culture and business cycle for many years. 

Alternatif Bank’s successful practices in corporate governance area, corporate social responsibility projects with social impact and waste management as the indicator of respect for the environment are clear confirmation of this. At the Sustainability Committee, which was set up at the end of 2019 with the leadership of Kaan Gür, the CEO, sustainability areas, which the Bank conducts activities in and areas that need to be expanded, were identified and defined as priority areas for the committee. These areas are:

  • Environmental and Social Governance
  • Qualified Education
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Accessible Banking
  • Ethical Banking

These topics were grouped underfiv e working groups and the Bank’s sustainability activities started.

Alternatif Bank Sustainability and External Relations team was established in 2020. Upon prioritising the sustainability topics, Sustainability and External Relations team was established in April 2020 to conduct sustainability activities more focused, to define medium and long-term Sustainability Strategy, to integrate this strategy to the Bank’s operations and to form a structure to provide clear contributions to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

This team leads the Bank’s sustainability activities, ensures functionality of working groups and executes secretary duties of the Sustainability Committee. The same team provides guidance on designing the medium and long-term Sustainability Strategy, integrating the strategy to the Bank’s operations and increasing the contributions of Alternatif Bank to Sustainable Development Goals.

Alternatif Bank Sustainability sub-groups consist of employees from each level of related teams based on priority areas. Sub-groups participate in the initiatives of the working group they are a part of, create ideas and implement projects in addition to their current duties, activities and projects. They help integration of activities conducted to business manners of the team they belong to and increasing sustainability awareness in the Bank.

Projects and actions started by Alternatif Bank Sustainability sub-groups in 2020 are as follows:

Alternatif Bank Sustainability subgroups consist of employees from each level of related teams based on priority areas. Sub-groups participate in the initiatives of the working group they are a part of, create ideas and implement projects in addition to their current duties, activities and projects. They help integration of activities conducted to business manners of the team they belong to and increasing sustainability awareness in the Bank.

Projects and actions started by Alternatif Bank Sustainability sub-groups in 2020 are as follows: Upon prioritising the sustainability topics, Sustainability and External Relations team was established.

Alternatif Bank aims to form a structure to provide clear contributions to SDGs.



Activities of the Sustainability Committee Sub-Working Groups

Projects and actions started by Alternatif Bank Sustainability sub-groups in 2020 are as follows

Environmental and Social Governance Working Group

The main purpose of the working group is creating awareness both internally and externally about sustainability, reducing carbon footprint and increasing social impact of Alternatif Bank about environment through collaborations. Within the scope of activities inside the Bank, Alternatif Bank branches were renewed with the new concept to be more environment friendly.

The Bank’s Headquarters at Vadistanbul that Alternatif Bank moved in 2018, received the LEED Gold Certificate, given by U.S. Green Building Council, and certified as a sustainable green building.

As a reflection of the Bank’s environment consciousness and corporate culture, waste is donated to TEMA Foundation. During the last three years, a total of 9 tonnes of waste was donated and 97% of the photocopy papers purchased have been recycled.

Alternatif Bank included environmental and social assessment step in its credit processes. With this step, the Bank included in its mission limiting its negative impact on environment and society and informing its stakeholders properly. In 2020, 92% of the Bank’s credit limit extension have göne through environmental and social assessment matrix. The Bank uses IFC’s environmental and social assessment matrix, which is one of the highest-level standards globally.

Equal Opportunity Working Group

Main objectives of the working group are providing Social Gender Equality, increasing women’s Access to economic resources, supporting women for full engagement in leadership and decisionmaking processes.
As a result of Alternatif Bank corporate culture, the main focus of social responsibility projects has been women and children. In 2020, social responsibility projects and donationswer e realised around these areas.
With the Empowering Managing Women Package prepared for women entrepreneurs obtained from IFC, the Bank provided an opportunity for women to access funding resources. Two thirds of the funds provided were extended during the year 2020.

Accessible Banking Working Group

The main objective of the working group is to understand challenges of living with a disability, to search for ways to improve, to increase awareness in society about disability problems and to remove all physical and attitudinal obstacles faced by people with disabilities. Alternatif Bank, as an exemplary organisation of Accessible Banking, formed an advisory board and a Project team inside the Bank composed of expert professionals. A project plan was prepared and steps to be taken are grouped as short, medium and long term.

  In addition to awareness trainings and activities to develop products for People with disabilities, The Bank’s physical and digital current status analysis was performed, optimum accessibility standards were identified and activities have started simultaneously at both branches and the Headquarters. Alternatif Bank branches have reached a 90% level of compatibility with optimum standards whereas at the Headquarters compliance with all standards will be attained once the elevators are made accessible for people with disabilities in 2021. Additionally, at the second half of 2021, improvements will be made at the Call Centre and Alternatif Bank Digital Channels. 

Ethical Banking Working Group

   The objective of the working group is to become an exemplary organisation in the industry and to develop all organisations in our impact area to be more effective, accountable and transparent. To achieve this objective, Alternatif Bank first reviewed its Ethical Principles and made them more extensive and comprehensive. After that, all corporate governance practices, committees, general assembly processes, all information shared at annual reports, website and similar media have been reviewed based on new ethical principles and improvements have started to be implemented.

    Major topic in Ethical Banking Working Group’s 2021 activities will be obtaining the Corporate Governance Rating score of the Bank. 

New Working Groups of 2021

At the centre of Alternatif Bank’s contributions to SDGs are equality and target of having equal rights for everyone. Activities of Equal Opportunity and Accessible Banking Working Groups are based on an inclusive approach and the main idea of conducting activities to include all groups who are left out to be in the decision-making processes as participants or representatives. From this evaluation, Alternatif Bank Sustainability Committee decided unanimously to merge Equal Opportunity and Accessible Banking Working Groups in 2021 and continue their activities under Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.

The new working group, which will start operating in 2021, is the Sustainable Products and Services Working Group. The mission of this group is to conduct activities on Alternatif Bank’s fight against climate change, exploring opportunities to be assessed within the scope of sustainability, managing risks and compliance with changing regulations for fight against climate change.