Burgan Bank, Kuwait: Corporate Social Responsibility


Burgan Bank

Executive Summary

From the analysis of the corporate social responsibility of the Burgan Bank, one can say that the company is strongly committed to its CSR and has developed a wide range of policies and practices in order to bring effective change in the environment and the community in which it operates. There are five broad dimensions under which its CSR can be placed. The performance of each section can be summarized as follows.

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The Burgan Bank’s corporate social responsibility reports reveal a lot about the company and its analysis of social good. Indeed, the report highlights numerous activities the company has undertaken to show the importance of CSR. The activities have not only benefitted the company by developing its public image, but they have also benefitted the community in general. In analyzing the company’s report, three major things pop out. These are the brand name, value, and work ethics. Another factor that pops out is human resource ideologies.

Brand name: The Company has developed its brand name by being the only company invested in creating memories that last a lifetime. For example, every year the company hosts several events that touch on the importance of the month of Ramadhan for the community.

Value: The Company also values its clients. To show this, it often creates fun events for the public all through the year. In addition, the company instills cultural values in its work ethics.

Work ethics: As mentioned, the company has intertwined cultural aspects in its work ethics. From the report, it is clear that the company adheres to the Islamic culture of the Kuwaiti people, such as making events that touch on Ramadhan. The Kuwaiti people are also very particular about family and children. Thus, the company also creates events that touch on family and children, for example, the Gergean themed children’s events.

Human resource ideologies: The bank is very keen to both train and hires capable youths. This ideology has been aligned with the country’s goals to provide as many opportunities for the youth as possible.

Introduction

Burgan Bank was formed in late 1977. The bank boasts of approximately 24 branches and is considered one of the most modern banks in Kuwait. Additionally, the company has been registering profits for a very long time, making it one of the most influential companies in Kuwait. It suffices to mention that proper corporate social responsibility has been attributed to the success of the bank. This report takes a look at the CSR of Burgan Bank and how it has affected the company and the community at large.

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Ethical Standards

The company is very careful when drafting activities for CSR. The CSR report provided highlights some of the ethical issues that the company has. For example, the bank believes it has a responsibility to protect the value of the group and the interests of the staff and the shareholders. This statement offers several ethical issues for the company. First, the company will always have to do the right thing by every one of the shareholders. This might prove a little bit difficult since people have different interests. Rodríguez et al. argue that generalizing the interests of employees and stakeholders is a dangerous affair (779).

The first reason behind this has been mentioned; people have different interests. Where one person wants to be the next manager of the company, another person wants to hold on to the position they have because it offers more benefits than the promotion will. For instance, a salesperson getting half a million dollars in commissions only might refuse to take up a managerial position paying two hundred thousand dollars every month, especially if the person’s motivation is money. The second issue that arises from the generalization of the interests is the suppression of other interests. This creates a big ethical dilemma for the company. Thus, in trying to solve an ethical issue, it created one.

It suffices to mention that the company does indeed have a written code of ethics and this goes hand in hand with the CEO’s ethics responsibility clause. The board of committees is tasked with ensuring that all the bank’s departments adhere to the ethical conduct in place. They also have the right to declare punishment to anyone who is found guilty of not adhering to the said conduct. The provided report reveals that there are ten ethical codes that have to adhere to no matter what.

The first one is honesty. The company believes that being honest in all its activities will ensure that they get more clients. Other factors in the ethical statement include being trustworthy, transparent, keeping the interest of the society in mind and respecting the environment, and being sensitive to issues regarding disclosure, among other things. The company also has a detailed code of conduct for the employees.

The employee code of conduct is divided into five categories. These are the general principles, professional principles, Personal Account Dealings, and Financial Transactions, and IT Security Code of Practice. The table below shows the different subcategories in the categories mentioned. As can be seen, the IT security code of practice does not have any subcategories.

Table 1: Employee Code of Conduct.

General principles Professional principles Personal Account Dealings and Financial Transactions IT Security Code of Practice
General Standards of Conduct Dealing with Customers Managing Personal Staff Accounts
Confidentiality of Information Monitor business relationships of employees Borrowing & Loans
Conflict of interest Periodically updating customer information Financial dealings
Work Etiquette Bribery
Custodial and Fiduciary Responsibilities
Prevent misuse/damage of Bank’s property (Sabotage) Interaction of staff within and outside the Bank Speculative Transaction
Prevention of money laundering and fight against corruption
Prevent misappropriation of funds/assets of the Bank

Environmental Stewardship Standards

As mentioned, Burgan Bank also admits that it has a responsibility to ensure that the environment is well taken care of. In fact, the company recently launched the Kuwait Change Initiative. This initiative aims at celebrating World Environment Day. During the launch, the company’s Acting Chief Marketing Officer, General Manager Bashir Jaber stated that World Environment Day is meant to bring people together to find ways of securing the future for their children.

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This statement highlights that the company cares about the environment in the same manner as it cares about the future. There were numerous activities that were conducted during the event. For example, the company distributed reusable bags to the community. They also collected plastic bags, which were to then be disposed of well, and recycled.

Plastic bags have been identified as one of the most dangerous items in the environment. Since they cannot rot, and add nutrients to the ground, they can be part of the environment for a long time if not well disposed of. However, papers can be recycled. Shafiqur, Sadia, and Nicholas argue that Kuwait has had a big problem with loitering especially with plastic bags (210). Providing disposable bags to the community encourages them to stop using plastic materials that harm the environment.

Gomes and Nadja acknowledge that the company has used various themes to protect the protection of the environment (18). ‘Forests’ was the theme of the 2014 event. The company swore to do everything they can to protect forests in the region. To help protect the environment, the company has stopped using paper (Azim et al. 30). One of the biggest threats to forests is paper. Thus, with less paper, there will be less need to destroy trees. Pradhan explains that companies have taken the initiative and stopped using the paper system (4). Technology like computers has made this possible. Burgan Bank has computerized many of the systems.

For example, employees are encouraged to use emails to send information. Additionally, many have pads that are used in the presentation. These are used alongside projectors so that the traditional board and chalk are not used in their boardrooms.

All these activities have made the company’s CSR stronger as they make society more comfortable. In addition, the company has incorporated the public in the environmental CSR policies, which in turn creates a good public image for the company.

Human Resource Stewardship

It suffices to mention that the company has very strict human resource policies. In fact, from the report provided, it is clear that the company trusts the youth, thus, hires many youths. The company’s commitment to the youth is deeply rooted in their beliefs. It offers a training program for the youth called the Summer Training Program. The program was initiated in 2011, and it trains the youth in the world of business and finance.

Professionals and senior managers at the bank do the training. It suffices to mention that the training is not only done through theory, but also through hands-on practice. In addition, the company developed the Youth Banking Conference in partnership with the Kuwait University College of Social Sciences. The conference has been running for two years now and it stresses the importance of integrating the youth into the banking sector. Marimuthu et al. argue that the banking conference is the only one of its kind to target the youth (680). This, in turn, makes the conference a favorite for the community, as they perceive that the company is interested in ensuring that the youth get employed in the future.

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In addition, Burgan Bank has also created a good working environment for the staff. From the employee code of conduct, each employee is required to respect the other employees in order to avoid confrontations. In addition, the company is very strict on things like dressing codes, and employee relations to ensure that each employee is comfortable in the workplace. Estapé-Dubreuil and Consol reveal that employees who are uncomfortable in the workplace have lower performance levels compared to those who are comfortable (151). Several things can bring about discomfort. For instance, an employee can be uncomfortable with the way things are done in the office.

Another employee can be uncomfortable with the relations he or she has with another employee and so forth. To make things a bit civilized, the company introduced several policies. For example, employees are not allowed to date each other.

The company has also invested in regular audits to ensure that nothing fishy goes on in the company. Pradhan asserts that companies that do not audit frequently are normally shocked to realize that some crafty employees have been stealing from the company (10). In such situations, the public blames the whole company for the wrongdoing. Since Burgan Bank does several internal audits, it has not yet experienced this problem. The bank also does external audits from time to time. The external audits are used to determine whether the internal audits were done well and without bias. They are normally done by a trusted organization, which then releases the results to the board. Appropriate action is then taken in accordance with the findings realized.

The bank strives to give its clients the best by hiring the best. In addition, it also gives the staff the best opportunities to advance in their careers. The company encourages the staff to not only strive to meet the company goals set, but to also set and meet their own personal goals.

Community Service

In regard to community service, Burgan Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility program has tried to imprint nationalism throughout Kuwait. Since the bank is a local bank, it has tried time and again to prove that it is deeply rooted in the culture of the Kuwaiti people. As mentioned, the bank holds various events during the holy month of Ramadan. Kuwait is generally an Islamic State; thus, religion is very important to the governance of the state. Similarly, religion is very important in business and some of the ethical values mentioned earlier are formed from religious beliefs and practices. The public is invited to attend the events and even contribute to the planning of some of the events.

In the same vein, Burgan Bank has also invested in the celebrations of Kuwaiti national days. Many companies are hardly seen participating in national days of the countries they operate in unless they were specifically contacted to host or be part of the event. The company has come out to claim that they celebrate the events to make the Kuwaiti spirit and support some of the other things that the events represent. The company gives all those in attendance of the events gift hampers that they can take home. Due to this, a majority of the public normally attends events sponsored or hosted by the Burgan Bank.

The report gave also highlights the company’s support for the Kuwait Association for Care of Children in Hospitals. As mentioned, the company has been openly acknowledged for investing in the future, by investing in the youth. It has gone a step further and also invested in children by giving helpful donations to support the treatment and caring of children in hospitals. The support is now in its twelfth year, making it one of the very first CSR activities the company embarked on. The twelve years have also yielded the establishment of several high-tech pediatric facilities, funded by the company.

Peresadko et al. add that supporting healthcare, in general, is one of the original aims of the CSR framework and the Corporate Citizenship program of the company (250). The company’s facilities are very different from the rest, they not only provide treatment, and they provide entertainment for the children. The motivation behind this was the long hours that the children have to spend at the hospital. The entertainment provides a sense of normalcy for the children.

Broader Social Issues

The faith the company has in the future is one of its greatest aspects. As mentioned, they take time to train and mentor youth on how to survive in the world of business and finance. In addition, the company equips the youth with skills that they can use in their own businesses. Pradhan explains that the rate of unemployment in Kuwait is very minimal compared to many other countries (8). It is training and investment in the youth, such as the ones provided by the Burgan Bank, which makes this possible. In the same vein, the company also protects children by ensuring that they get the best treatment whenever they fall ill.

Burgan Bank also follows the strict laws provided by the Sharia law. It suffices to mention that even their employee code of conduct respects the Sharia Law. For example, one of the principles under the ‘professional principles’ category is the dress code. The employees are required to respect the laws of dressing of the country and also be decent enough at the same time. Due to this, it is common to find that even the non-Muslim ladies cover their heads when they go to work in the morning.

Respect for culture is also very important for the bank. Were it not for the respect of culture, the bank would not have been as successful as it is today. As mentioned, it carefully observes the religious and cultural practices of the Kuwaiti people and incorporates this into its strategic plan. Time and again the company has come out to claim that its values and beliefs are deeply embedded in the culture of the people. From a CSR point of view, integrating the company with the cultural beliefs of the people is very beneficial to the company. The public perceives the company to be one of their own, thus, become very loyal to it.

Also, the organizational culture of the company goes hand in hand with the culture of the society. This has helped the company maintain certain ease with its customers, as it understands how they expect to be treated. New employees are carefully trained to ensure that they understand the importance of the organizational culture.

Conclusion

Burgan Bank is one of the best banks in Kuwait. It has achieved this prestigious status from its interaction with the public. The interaction was and has been, accredited to the company’s corporate social responsibility program and its corporate citizenship plan. The CSR plan of the company can be divided into several sections. These are human resources, ethics, environment, community, and society. All these elements are incorporated into the company’s CSR in one way or another.

For example, in terms of ethics, the behavior of the employees is guided by the code of conduct. Additionally, the company has preserved the community by embracing its cultures. Similarly, it has taken time to draft policies for HR that ensure that it not only hires the best people for the job but that it also hires people who will have a positive impact on society. Last, but not least, Burgan Bank has invested in the community by taking care of future generations.

Works Cited

Azim, Mohammad Tahlil, Abdulhamid A. Diyab, and Saleh A. Al-Sabian. “CSR, Employee Job Attitude and Behavior: Saudi Bank Experience.” Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences 43E (2014): 25-47. Print.

Estapé-Dubreuil, Glòria, and Consol Torreguitart-Mirada. “Social Financing Alternatives for Social Economy Enterprises: Coop57.” CIRIEC – España, Revista De Economía Pública, Social Y Cooperativa 80 (2014): 137-159. Print.

Gomes, Eduardo R., and Nadja Valéria De Souza. “Corporate Social Responsibility Through the Global Compact: Between Business and Society.” Conference Papers — International Studies Association (2009): 1-19. Print.

Marimuthu, Maran, Arokiasamy Lawrence, Samad, M. Fazilah Abdul, Moorthy M. Kishna, Kok Ng Kean. “Cashless Society and the Determinants: An Empirical Investigation.” International Journal of Academic Research 3.3 (2011): 673-682. Print.

Peresadko, Galina, et al. “Marketing Research in the Banking Sphere.” International Journal of Academic Research 5.4 (2013): 248-254. Print.

Pradhan, Sudeepta. “CSR Inclusion in Firms: A Study of Indian Banks (English).” Insights to a Changing World Journal 2 (2011): 4-16. Print.

Rodríguez Bolívar, Manuel Pedro, Raquel Garde Sánchez, and Antonio M. López Hernández. “Managers as Drivers of CSR in State-Owned Enterprises.” Journal of Environmental Planning & Management 58.5 (2015): 777-801. Print.

Shafiqur, Rahman, Jahad Sadia, and MacDonald Nicholas. “CSR by Islami Bank in Healthcare — Stakeholders’ Perception.” Bangladesh Journal of Medical Science 9.4 (2010): 208-215. Print.

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