The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Citi promotes sustainability across its supply chain

Citi is a leading global bank supporting clients in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions, with a diverse workforce of close to 200,000 to serve its customers. Citi seeks out suppliers that share its values and commitment to having a positive impact on the communities where it operates  Tweet This!, and sets high standards of performance for resource use and supplier practices across its global supply chain.

This case study is based on the 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance Report by Citi published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Citi’s Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability team works with procurement leaders across the company to support diversity in supplier selection, build the capacity of diverse suppliers, implement sustainable supplier initiatives and mitigate environmental and social risks in Citi’s supply chain. In order to promote sustainability across its supply chain Citi took action to:

  • develop standards and policies
  • evaluate suppliers

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance Report Citi identified a range of material issues, such as customer satisfaction, data security/privacy, diversity/equal opportunity, talent attraction/development, addressing climate change risk/opportunity. Among these, promoting sustainability across its supply chain stands out as a key material issue for Citi.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Citi engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Group calls and meetings (quarterly earning calls, investor conferences and Citi-hosted group meetings)

·      One-on-one meetings to discuss financial performance and ESG issues

·      Communications through Citi’s Investor Relations and Corporate Governance teams

Government and Regulators


·      In-person meetings, conference calls, lobbying activities, industry associations, public policy forums, press conferences, conferences and convenings

·      Membership on government councils and committees



·      In-person meetings, calls, conferences and workshops

·      Corporate Responsibility Questionnaire to help assess management of ESG issues

Community Leaders and Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs)


·      In-person meetings, calls, conference calls, emails, social media and events

·      Specialised websites, including for the Citi Foundation and Citi Community Development

·      Collaboration with NGOs on issues relevant to their organisations and Citi’s business



·      Company intranet, email, mail and in-person meetings

·      Voice of the Employee survey

·      Employee Networks, volunteer councils and Green Teams

·      Community events

·      In-person and online training

·      Performance reviews

·      Citi Blog

Clients and Customers


·      Meetings to share Citi’s environmental and social performance and to understand its clients’ approaches to managing environmental and social risks

·      Social media, including Citi’s Customer Service Twitter handle

·      Customer satisfaction surveys

·      Citi Blog

Other Financial Institutions


·      Working groups

·      Joint projects

·      In-person meetings, conference calls

·      Industry groups, roundtables, workshops and events

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Citi engaged with its stakeholders through an online quantitative survey of more than 200 global external stakeholders.

What actions were taken by Citi to promote sustainability across its supply chain?

In its 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance Report Citi reports that it took the following actions for promoting sustainability across its supply chain:

  • Developing standards and policies
  • Citi has developed standards and policies to support its efforts and clearly communicate its expectations to suppliers regarding environmental and social issues, including the following:
    • The Citi Statement of Supplier Principles outlines the aspirational guidelines that anchor Citi’s sustainable supply chain initiative, including those related to ethical business practices, human rights in the workplace, environmental sustainability, management systems and implementation.
    • The Citi Requirements for Suppliers, formerly known as Citi Standards for Suppliers, facilitates supplier compliance with contractual requirements and other key Citi policy obligations.
    • Suppliers are also asked to abide by the Citi Statement on Human Rights.
  • In addition, Citi complies with the UK Modern Slavery Act and releases an annual transparency statement, summarising its approach to identifying and mitigating the risks of modern slavery in its operations and supply chain.
  • Evaluating suppliers
  • Citi uses a Corporate Responsibility Questionnaire (CRQ) to evaluate suppliers’ adherence to its Statement of Supplier Principles. The CRQ helps Citi gauge how well suppliers manage a range of issues, such as environmental management, human rights, labour practices, diversity, and health and safety. For example, the CRQ for Citi’s EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) includes specific questions to help identify and contribute to eradicating child labour and modern slavery, including forced or bonded labour and human trafficking. Integrating these important issues into Citi’s CRQ and its broader work to address the issue of modern slavery is part of the way Citi supports SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Given its global footprint, Citi relies on a strong network of Global Champions — Citi employees around the world who serve as connections between their businesses and supply chain sustainability and diversity efforts — to help implement sustainable supplier initiatives locally and adapt the CRQ to local cultures and business norms. Citi also translates the CRQ into 14 languages to make it easier for suppliers to complete and to enable productive follow-up conversations. Citi’s goal is for suppliers to complete the CRQ every two years. If a supplier’s CRQ score is below 70 percent, Citi communicates its concerns and asks the supplier to take action to improve and submit a new CRQ the following year. Citi has rolled out the CRQ to more than 30 percent of its suppliers and focuses on implementation with its top 100 suppliers based on spend. In 2019, 16 percent of Citi’s top 100 suppliers scored 70 percent or lower on the CRQ. Citi meets with suppliers that fall below the 70 percent threshold and outlines steps together to improve these scores within the year when they resubmit. Additional training and face-to-face dialogue has proven to help suppliers quickly address any issues flagged related to their CRQ responses, and align to Citi’s expectations. If the necessary improvement is not achieved within that year, Citi escalates review to determine whether the contract should be discontinued. In addition, to ensure a consistent approach and understanding of the CRQ process and supplier evaluation, Citi provides training for its employees, and sustainability training and education to suppliers.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria

2) Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria


Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by Citi, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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