At Polaris Bank, good governance enables us to be conscious of our values through enhanced accountability, strong risk and performance management, transparency and effective leadership.
The Board Finance and General Purposes Committee reviews and approves decisions that govern the environmental, social and economic policies within Polaris Bank, while all sustainability initiatives are executed by the Sustainability Department. In addition, the committee (through the Board, Audit, and Risk Management Committee) also incorporates the management and implementation of the Environmental and Social Risk Management policy into the Bank's business decisions.
The Environmental and Risk Assessment portal has been fully implemented, enhanced and continuously updated to screen qualifying transactions for environmental and social risks towards efficient business decision making. The portal is guided by various internal standards and external collaborations like UNEPFI, IFC, ILO, Equator principles etc.
At Polaris Bank, the focus on environmental sustainability has been reinforced in recent years. This is demonstrated in our drive to raise consciousness about the environment internally within the Bank, and with our partners in the public and private sectors. Our environmental sustainability drive extends to Water & Energy Saving, Reduction of Carbon Footprint, Paper Reduction amongst others.
Recently, there has been marked improvement in the Bank’s carbon footprint. The Bank has reduced its paper (recycled) consumption by over 20% yearly following a constant use of the K2 application (an automated workflow for various internal approvals to reduce the use of paper for such processes) and this is expected to further reduce in the future. The application also reduced the cost of stationeries, man-hours and associated logistics cost in addition to reducing the Bank’s processing time on all automated processes.
The Bank has also reduced its negative impact on the environment by reducing pollution caused by diesel usage through the use of alternative sources of energy. More business locations/ATMs are being solar-powered whilst also maintaining a strict closing time of 6 pm across all branches nationwide to reduce energy consumption and carbon emission.
Polaris Bank admits that employees are extraordinary resources and therefore ensures a healthy and cheerful workforce whilst favourable welfare conditions with competitive benefits are in place to ensure staff retention. The drive has influenced the behaviour of the entire personnel which resulted to enhanced work performance. Based on the training policy of the Bank, all employees have a variety of capacity building initiatives to boost their distinct abilities. The Bank’s robust e-learning portal enhances its vision for continuous knowledge acquisition and professional development.
The Accreditation of the Polaris Business School allows all graduates of the school an exemption from nine (9) out of the nineteen (19) subjects in the ACIB Examinations which forms a criteria for the chartered banker professional certification (ACIB) issued the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Polaris Bank values diversity and inclusion and believes they are critical to organizational growth and development. We strive to treat all employees fairly and respectfully, offering equal access and opportunities for professional and personal success. Our goal is to foster a growth-friendly environment and to provide a workplace free of discrimination, with zero tolerance for any form of harassment, victimization, or other similar workplace violations. Polaris Bank also ensures that applications for employment by people with disabilities are given careful attention. In the event that current staff members become physically challenged, appropriate training and counselling sessions are organized to guarantee continuous employment with the Bank as required.
The Bank also ensures it aligns with best practices on gender equality. Presently, the gender mix of the Bank is 57% male and 43% female while the Ethnic diversity mix is also non-discriminatory and in line with best practice.
The achievement of a healthy and safe place of work and the elimination to the barest minimum, possible hazards to health and safety, are the responsibility of everyone in the Bank’s employment.
Over the years, the Bank has maintained an enviable Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) framework. The enforcement of HSE is important to the Bank as well as employees, customers and other stakeholders on the Bank’s premises. Polaris Bank ensures adequate practices and procedures which provides an appropriate working environment for the workforce to deliver to their utmost abilities.
Polaris Bank remains ISO 22301 certified and operates within the protocols: A Business Continuity Management certification which ensures the timely resumption of business operations in the event of an incident occurring and the protection of personnel and the organization. The Bank is also certified in: Information Security Management System ISMS 27001 and Service Management System ISO 20000.
HIV Testing, Confidentiality and Disclosure- Employee well-being is an important element of Polaris Bank’s Employee culture. Being an institution that shows great concern for well-being, the Bank adopts initiatives that promote awareness, prevention, and management of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and also supports any individual who has been affected. In addition, the Bank encourages non-discrimination on HIV/AIDS in the workplace, and it does not require HIV testing as a pre-condition for employment or benefit receipt for workers, their dependents, job candidates, or other third parties.
At Polaris Bank, we make concerted effort to promote a safe workplace free of harassment and discrimination across the business. This means that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and to have their interests taken into account in an equal and holistic manner. Our Human Capital Management policies address workplace risks to human rights in addition to routine internal communication to raise staff awareness of their basic human rights. The Bank also lays emphasis on its zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment, emotional abuse and bullying while providing staff with an avenue to report such abuse.
Polaris Bank appreciates the role of strategic partnerships in accomplishing greater sustainability goals, hence we continue to work with Local and International institutions towards promoting environmentally and socially responsible economic development with focus on ensuring our current activities do not undermine the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
As part of its collaborative work, Polaris Bank maintains membership with some of the world's leading sustainability organizations, including the United Nations Environment Program and Financial Institutions (UNEP FI), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI).
For Polaris Bank it is necessary to attract and retain dedicated employees with a strong service mind-set for business continuity, long-term performance hence sustainability. The Bank’s core values which are the foundation for its culture and its ways of working are described in the Bank’s Code of Conduct which focuses on areas of ethical risk.
The Code also provide guidance to help employees recognize and deal with ethical issues, make available mechanisms for employees to report unethical conduct, foster among employees a culture of honesty in addition to accountability and it is attested at the beginning of each year by every employee