It’s been a priority for banks across the industry for years. And on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, Regions Bank issued its latest ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance, Report.
On a national level, ESG has received more attention this year than in previous years. So, we felt this was a good opportunity to talk more about how Regions strategically addresses it. Delivering consistent, sustainable returns for our shareholders is at the heart of Regions’ ESG strategy, and that has never changed.
We have four key points we’d like to share:
ESG at Regions is perhaps not the same as the ESG you’ve heard about recently. We’ve seen some misperceptions about what ESG is for the bank. The truth is Regions has its own, customized approach that’s tailored to support our customers, our communities, our associates, and our shareholders. And our approach is not about politics, mandates, bans, or anything else along those lines.
In fact, ESG is nothing new. Our first ESG-focused report covered fiscal year 2016. And our reports reflect practical business standards we’ve followed for many years before that, such as having effective frameworks for management and business decisions. Being a responsible corporate citizen is simply how we operate.
So, why do we have an “ESG Report?” It’s because we – and other banks – have been asked by shareholders, community groups, customers, and others to annually share information about how we address various strategic business objectives. The ESG Report is where that information is found. At Regions, “ESG” is accountability. “ESG” is transparency.
Let’s look at the “G” in ESG. It stands for “governance.” At Regions, that means we have a solid and effective leadership structure. We have proper internal controls to guide business decisions. And those decisions are made for the benefit of customers, communities, associates, and shareholders. They are not made based on political agendas or ideologies. They are made based on what makes us stronger as a business.
Let’s talk about the “S.” That stands for “social.” At Regions, this means a couple things. First is providing a positive workplace. This is essential because attracting and retaining top talent is absolutely vital for businesses to succeed. Having a workplace that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds better positions the bank to meet the financial needs of the diverse customer base we serve. It helps ensure Regions remains an employer of choice. It brings more people to the table. And it gives more people a voice in shaping how we operate as a bank that’s committed to meeting the financial needs of all our customers. Further, as we reach more people and businesses with banking services, we’re creating more financial inclusion – and that makes communities stronger because more people have access to resources to build financial success.
The “S” also means we make a positive social impact in our communities. For us, that means volunteerism with nonprofits, donations to community groups that are providing workforce development, teaching financial wellness in schools, and more.
The “E.” This means “environmental.” Here, it’s about Regions making practical decisions that increase our efficiency and cut down on wasting energy and emissions. And it’s about providing lending and other services for companies that turn to us to finance projects that increase their own efficiency. That’s what a bank should do – operate effectively and provide financing for companies that are choosing to make their own upgrades. To be clear: This does not mean we exclude other businesses. In fact, we serve a diverse range of businesses across multiple sectors.
Regions’ mission is to make life better for the people and places we serve. We accomplish this by creating what we call “shared value” – that is value for our customers, the communities where we live, the people we employ, and the shareholders of Regions Financial Corporation. Our approach to ESG was developed to further this mission – not some other agenda. It’s about operating in a way that’s beneficial for all our stakeholders.
It’s true ESG can mean different things to different organizations. We hope the way we address ESG provides reassurance that Regions’ approach is what’s right for our business and the people we serve.