Kotak Mahindra Bank’s responsible business culture continues to create a positive impact on society while ensuring customer satisfaction and fulfilling its responsibilities towards internal and external stakeholders.
A robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is the bedrock of sustainability for any business enterprise. The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed nature’s fury at its worst, putting lives and livelihoods at risk globally. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and the ensuing lockdown, Kotak has initiated a series of responsive actions to ensure business continuity and safeguard the lives of its employees and customers, and also rolled out CSR initiatives to offer relief to communities most affected by the pandemic.
As an essential services provider, it has ensured uninterrupted services to customers, with branches operating with limited staff and all safety protocols in place, while the remaining staff worked from home (WFH). Customers have been given the option to avail a loan moratorium. As banking increasingly moves to the digital space, data protection becomes critical. Trust is the central theme in building customer confidence, which in turn contributes to the sustainability of a bank’s business. A robust risk management and governance practice is imperative for building a trustworthy bank and it is these key principles that are driving Kotak’s data governance strategy.
The banking sector must now adapt to the new normal in the aftermath of COVID-19 and Kotak’s emphasis on digital first initiatives takes on even more meaning. For the banking sector, a major challenge is reducing usage of paper. In FY 2019-20, Kotak undertook several initiatives on the digital front that not only enhanced customer experience, business efficiency, business collaborations and cybersecurity, but also helped in minimising environmental impact through resource conservation.
The banking sector must now adapt to the new normal in the aftermath of COVID-19 and Kotak’s emphasis on digital-first initiatives takes on even more meaning.
The Bank continues to reimagine sales, service and processes with an increased focus on digital channels. About 70% of new accounts in FY 2019-20 were opened via digital channels. Its pioneering Video KYC facility opens a full-fledged Kotak 811 savings account – a first in Indian banking. This is in line with Kotak’s digital-first strategy and is a start-to-end fully integrated zero-contact, completely digital and paperless account opening + Full KYC journey.
The firm is conscious of the interdependencies between its economic activities and the ecosystem it operates in. Its Environmental Social Governance (ESG) philosophy goes beyond a set of policies and practices; and is an integral element of the Kotak culture. The robust ESG framework guides its efforts to conduct business in an ethical, responsible and transparent manner.
Kotak’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programmes are largely long-term, implemented in focussed geographies, are sustainable and scalable, and aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and India’s development priorities. The firm continues to expand its CSR footprint in focussed geographies, while also increasing CSR expenditure.
To support the Government’s effort in combating COVID-19, Kotak has contributed ₹25 crore to the PM CARES Fund and ₹10 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund – COVID-19 in Maharashtra. In addition, it has been continuously supporting constituencies including the urban and rural poor, tribal communities, doctors, nurses and policemen on COVID-19 duty via various means such as contributing food packets, masks, face shields, sanitisers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits, and the like. In FY 2019-20, Kotak’s CSR Expenditure at ₹85.20 crore was 133% higher than the spend of ₹36.55 crore in FY 2018-19, which in turn was 38.45% higher than ₹26.40 crore spent on this in FY 2017-18.
On the green infrastructure front, Kotak has added two LEED-certified buildings in FY 2019-20, to take its total green building count to nine. It monitors and discloses the Bank’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy, water and other natural resource consumption. Further, it has taken up initiatives such as installation of LED lights, optimised electricity usage, and controlled running of air conditioners and timely replacement of existing hardware with energy efficient hardware to enhance energy efficiency. It is actively adding renewable energy alternatives. In FY 2019-20, one of its large offices started using power from wind energy and there are plans to expand its renewable energy usage further. Its data centres have also been optimised for constant power use effectiveness (PUE), resulting in reduced power and cooling water requirement.
Kotak has a well-defined Social and Environmental Management System Plan (SEMSP). This SEMSP provides guidance for evaluating social and environmental risks of eligible borrowers. All wholesale term loan proposals are evaluated for SEMSP.
*Stopped usage of 500ml one-time use plastic water bottles. 100 plastic water bottles (500ml) = 1kg plastic waste **1 tonne of paper requires cutting of 24 trees. 31 tonnes of recycled paper was put to use