The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Scotiabank promotes employee growth

Case study: How Scotiabank promotes employee growth

Scotiabank is Canada’s international bank and a leading financial services provider offering a broad range of advice, products and services. Scotiabank’s customer focus starts with taking care of its more than 97,000 employees around the world. That’s why Scotiabank works to grow and diversify talent, and engage employees in a performance-oriented culture.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainable Business Report by Scotiabank 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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By strengthening its talent pipeline and providing all employees with access to advancement opportunities, Scotiabank aims to build high-performing teams and be recognised as a leader in business performance. In order to promote employee growth Scotiabank took action to:

  • offer employees learning opportunities
  • implement an Annual Performance Plan
  • help employees adapt to the digital economy

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainable Business Report Scotiabank identified a range of material issues, such as transparency of operations and services, human rights, data privacy and security, creation of products with environmental benefits, employee health and well-being, community investment and philanthropy. Among these, promoting employee growth stands out as a key material issue for Scotiabank.

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 Scotiabank engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Public engagement

·      Government and regulator engagement

·      The Pulse (NPS), ongoing customer feedback

·      Office of the Ombudsman; complaint resolution process

·      Social media

·      Contact Centre

·      Conference attendance and presentations



·      Online through internal social networking platform “Workplace,” email and intranet

·      Town halls and team meetings

·      Annual engagement survey

·      Assessment of benefits used to determine most valued

·      Compensation benchmarking

Shareholders, Investors, Rating Agencies and Research Analysts


·      First ever All-Bank Investor Day ran in February 2018

·      Management participation in investor conferences

·      Shareholder calls and one-on-one meetings

·      Shareholder proposals and enquiries

·      Annual meeting and quarterly earnings update calls



·      Dialogue with policy makers and government officials

·      Public submissions to government consultations

·      Contributed to Canadian government External Panel on Sustainable Finance interim report

·      Member of joint public-private sector Sustainable Finance Working Group (SFWG) of the Institute of International Finance



·      Sustainability assessment of prospective suppliers

·      Third Party Management (TPM) Programme

NGOs, Community Development Organisations and Academia


·      Community partnerships

·      Conferences, events and webinars

·      Employee volunteerism and corporate volunteer days

·      Work with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) on human rights

Global and National Sustainability Organisations


·      Public support of the Financial Stability Board’s Secretariat Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

·      Participant in UN Global Compact Canada initiative on gender equality

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Scotiabank engaged with its stakeholders through a dedicated digital platform in which stakeholders were asked to rank the importance of various topics. Responses were collected globally from employees, customers, investors, government, non-government organisations (NGOs), academic and philanthropic partners.

What actions were taken by Scotiabank to promote employee growth?

In its 2018 Sustainable Business Report Scotiabank reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee growth:

  • Offering employees learning opportunities
  • To develop future leaders, Scotiabank offers employees the opportunity to take advantage of thousands of learning activities through its online portal. The portal is available in English, Spanish and French, and includes activities such as classroom learning, e-learning, and virtual instructor-led courses. In 2018, Scotiabank employees participated in more than 2.7 million courses. Additionally, iLEAD, Scotiabank’s global management and leadership development programme, provides employees with tailored support at every stage of their career. In 2018, Scotiabank employees participated in over 40,000 leadership courses. In addition, Scotiabank’s Leadership Resource Planning Process actively identifies and develops future leaders to make sure that the right people are ready to move into key leadership roles.
  • Implementing an Annual Performance Plan
  • Scotiabank’s Annual Performance Plan enables employees to set, align, track and report progress against their performance and development goals, and also provides a consistent measurement framework that allows managers to effectively recognise and reward high performance. To support its high-performance culture, Scotiabank puts a strong emphasis on regular coaching conversations, to make sure employees are supported in pursuing their goals. Scotiabank is committed to providing employees with opportunities to grow and is proud that, in 2018, approximately 19,000 employees moved into new roles within the Bank globally, filling 44% of all vacancies. Scotiabank also hired, in 2018, more than 3,000 interns in Canada through partnerships with top Canadian universities.
  • Helping employees adapt to the digital economy
  • Over the next decade, Scotiabank will be investing CAD$250 million to help its employees adapt to the digital economy. Accordingly, Scotiabank is carrying out extensive research, to map out roles predicted to change and identify critical current and future skills needed to be successful in a rapidly changing business climate. Scotiabank’s goal is to build, curate and provide learning that will bridge the competency gap for employees, in both current and future roles. Scotiabank focuses on creating an environment that fosters curiosity, learning agility and personal ownership for development. To enable continuous opportunities to develop in-demand skills, Scotiabank will also be launching a new Scotiabank Virtual University available to all employees, with pilots planned in 2019 in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru and will also offer training through accredited institutions, with a focus on new and enhanced skills to prepare employees for emerging roles.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

2) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

3) Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews


Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education

Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews 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.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Scotiabank, 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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