Win-Win-Win Sustainability at Danske Bank

Giedrius Dzekunskas, Head of End User Services at Danske Bank

  • The Danske Bank's investments in sustainable change projects and companies amount to more than EUR 2 billion.
  • More than 10% of the new employees joining Danske Bank Lithuania each year are returning former colleagues.
  • Since 2019, a total of 129 employees have joined Danske Bank Lithuania through the "Future Pros" paid programme.
  • In 2021 colleagues held an internal charity auction "Bid2Give", EUR 50,000 were collected and donated to the employee-selected NGOs.

As sustainability becomes a prerequisite and a foundation for a successful business, organisations seek to find the most appropriate social responsibility direction. Giedrius Dzekunskas, Head of End User Services at Danske Bank, confirms that sustainability in organisations today can no longer be limited to a single sponsorship project or random initiatives. Proper business sustainability strategy should encompass all dimensions of the company's activities, creating what can be called the “triple win” value - for society, employees and the business itself.

Sustainable investment as a tool for change

In today's competitive market, increasingly more organisations realise that sustainability is more than an ethical commitment – it also creates long-term economic value. Sustainability is becoming one of the most important decision-making criteria for all stakeholders – investors, employees, customers. According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 90% of executives are aware of this. However, only 60% incorporate sustainability into their business strategy and only 25% incorporate it into their business model.

“Organisations should first look inwards and ensure responsible business practices and sustainability-oriented decision-making. Sustainable business management, investment and finance are a kind of foundation for the corporate social responsibility strategy,” says G. Dzekunskas.

The experience of Danske Bank, which aims to be a Nordic leader in sustainable finance, proves that sustainability solutions open up entirely new opportunities. The Bank's investments in sustainable change projects and companies amount to more than EUR 2 billion. By 2023, the Bank plans to increase its sustainable investments, including green bonds, to more than EUR 14 billion. Over EUR 4 billion more is to be channeled into green projects and activities through the Bank-managed pension funds. 

Sustainability is not possible without caring for employees

According to G. Dzekunskas, another dimension of sustainable organisations relates to the well-being of their current, former and potential employees. Contributions in this area, he says, include aspects such as the promotion of mental well-being, work/life balance, a long-term talent development strategy, collaboration with the higher education community, and an open and inclusive internal culture.

“Every year, we employ quite a number of young people who are still studying or have just graduated, and we “raise” them by providing excellent conditions to gain experience, build up their competencies and involving them in various projects. Ideally, they continue their career in Danske Bank by filling over 30% of job openings.  This creates mutual value for both the employee and the employer, as such young talent engage in their new roles faster, they are more motivated and productive. Also the costs and risks of hiring are reduced.” 

- G. Dzekunskas.

The FuturePros talent development programme contributes to this goal by helping students, recent graduates and individuals changing their qualifications to develop and succeed in the labour market. Since 2019, a total of 129 employees have joined Danske Bank Lithuania through this paid programme, which, according to G. Dzekunskas, benefits them, the company and the country's growing labour market.

It is estimated, that happy employees are at least 10% more effective at work, whereas more than 10% of the new employees joining Danske Bank Lithuania each year are returning former colleagues. Last year, the Bank welcomed back more than 100 such “boomerangers”. After looking around the market and gaining new knowledge, they end up coming back because they appreciate a reliable employer that genuinely cares about its employees. 

Employees are also encouraged to contribute to positive change

Finally, business sustainability is unthinkable without taking care of the environment. Danske Bank Lithuania invests more than EUR 50,000 annually in reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. All Danske Campus office buildings in Vilnius use only local energy from renewable sources. However, good deeds start with small things and are done quietly. For example, last year Danske Bank Lithuania colleagues held an internal charity auction "Bid2Give", where they purchased equipment and furniture that is no longer in use in the Bank but is in excellent condition. EUR 50,000 were collected and donated to the employee-selected NGOs. The rest of the unused inventory was given to various local organizations. Meanwhile, unconsumed food from the Danske Campus canteens is donated to charity kitchens.

“All colleagues have the opportunity to dedicate one paid working day a year to volunteering. This is a great chance to contribute to the well-being of the community around us, to nurture our awareness, and own responsibility for important changes. Our colleagues can volunteer on their own or with their team, which works better than any party or team building. Last year, more than 750 employees in Lithuania volunteered in this way,”

- G. Dzekunskas.

Only by paying sufficient attention to all levels of sustainability can we talk about a truly sustainable company and its positive impact on society and the environment. It takes continuous effort – from strategic business management decisions to local initiatives that are a win for the organisation, win for its employees and society as a whole.