Global consumer finance provider Home Credit released its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) report last week.
The report sets out a six-pillar framework that guides Home Credit’s ESG approach and places particular emphasis on some of the pandemic-related support the company has extended to customers and communities across the globe.
Ondrej Frydrych, Managing Director of Home Credit Consumer Finance Co. Ltd. (HCCFC), explained how Home Credit has been engaged in ESG activities for years, and it’s satisfying to see how the three non-financial factors are becoming essential standards for businesses. operations.
“When we compiled the report, we didn’t have to scramble to invent new initiatives. We just packaged what we’re already doing and put it in the ESG framework,” Ondrej said in an exclusive interview. with China.org.cn on Tuesday.
Home Credit started its first business in China in 2007 and subsequently established HCCFC in Tianjin Municipality in northern China, which officially started operations in late 2010.
According to Ondrej, over the past 10 years, HCCFC has implemented ESG in China through concrete actions on several fronts, such as trustworthy finance, financial inclusion, common prosperity and protection. environment, which are also encouraged by the Chinese government.
Over the past decade, the HCCFC has received more than 70 million applications in China, more than 60% of which were from first-time borrowers, Ondrej said.
Sensitive to the needs of first-time borrowers, the HCCFC has helped them acquire financial knowledge and services in a responsible manner, he said.
At the same time, the HCCFC has conducted a series of financial education programs in cooperation with several local governments, which have helped around 5 million people acquire basic financial literacy, he added.
“It’s very easy to give people money, but it is much more important to teach them to behave responsibly in terms of lending,” said Ondrej. “We are very proud to be a good corporate citizen by making efforts to educate our consumers.”
As part of its contribution to common prosperity, HCCFC cooperates with more than 150,000 retailers, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs across China, according to Ondrej.
Additionally, HCCFC has provided digitization tools to retailers and helped them modernize their businesses, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, or mom and pop stores, in less developed cities and rural areas, a- he added.
“This work is not always done by online giants,” he said, adding, “and our focus on real life production scenarios in rural areas really contributes to common prosperity by helping our customers. to do better business “.
In terms of environmental protection, Ondrej said the HCCFC has made efforts to save energy and has formulated an action plan to be carbon neutral by 2025.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of implementing ESG, the HCCFC has taken swift action to fulfill its corporate social responsibility. According to Ondrej, HCCFC arranged medical supplies from other countries in China last spring and then helped other countries by donating supplies from China.
In addition, HCCFC has granted billions of payment holidays to its customers in China facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, Ondrej said.
He believed Home Credit’s ESG efforts were welcomed by everyone, from customers and employees to business partners.
“We find that our employees take great pride in working for a company that is focused not only on generating profits, but also on serving customers well and contributing to common prosperity and protection of the environment,” said declared Ondrej.
“It is also very encouraging to see the receptivity of our business partners, and many of them have strengthened the relationship with us because of it,” he added.
Ondrej said it was a great satisfaction to see how years of voluntary practice had been organized within an internationally recognized ESG framework.
“We would be happy to share our experience with anyone else who is interested in getting involved in ESG at the forefront of companies, because we believe that we are truly a leader in this regard,” he said.