Environmental, Social and Governance

Introduction

Being a responsible business is integral to our success and that of the customers, shareholders and communities we serve around the world. Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is embedded in our values and informs how we conduct business, develop products and services and deliver on our goals and commitments. As a company, we follow responsible business practices in the communities in which we operate. We rigorously review our business practices and policies and are continuing to simplify information for customers, maintain a strong risk culture and manage our businesses to be accountable to shareholders and stakeholders.

Our ESG approach, aligned to our global strategy, will continue to focus on building strong economies, helping communities thrive, promoting arts and culture and environmental sustainability.

Objective

The ESG policy sets out the framework that would guide all ESG initiatives and activities undertaken by Bank of America. The policy would also ensure compliance with section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 read with the relevant rules made there under. Any project or program that is exclusively for the benefit of Bank of America’s employees would not be considered as ESG. The surplus arising out of the ESG projects or programs or activities shall not form part of the business profit of Bank of America. The scope and ownership of this policy will be within India ESG and governed by Asia Pacific and global policies.

Scope & Focus Areas

The scope and focus areas of the company’s ESG policy shall be in alignment with activities enumerated in Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013:

Currently, it shall interalia include:

  • Eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, promoting healthcare including preventive healthcare and sanitation (including contribution to the Swachh Bharat Kosh set up by the Central Government for promotion of sanitation) and making available safe drinking water
  • Promoting education, including special education and employment enhancing vocation skills especially among children, women, elderly and the differently abled and livelihood enhancement projects
  • Promoting gender equality, empowering women, setting up homes and hostels for women and orphans; setting up old age homes, day care centres and such other facilities for senior citizens and measures for reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, protection of flora and fauna, animal welfare, agroforestry, conservation of natural resources and maintaining quality of soil, air and water
  • Protection of national heritage, art and culture including restoration of buildings and sites of historical importance and works of art; setting up public libraries; promotion and development of traditional arts and handicrafts
  • Measures for the benefit of armed forces veteran, war widows and their dependents;
  • Training to promote rural sports nationally recognized sports and Olympic sports;
  • Contribution to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central Government for socio-economic development and relief and welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women;
  • Contributions or funds provided to technology incubators located within academic institutions which are approved by the Central Government;
  • Rural development projects and
  • Slum area development

Currently, it shall interalia include:

  • Education & Skills Development – promoting education especially among women, children and youth including skills development to enhance employability and livelihood enhancement
  • Sanitation & Hygiene – supporting the creation of sanitation infrastructure as well as awareness programs aimed at changing hygiene behavior to help achieve the nation’s goals of being open defecation free
  • Arts & Culture – promoting national heritage, arts and culture including restoration of historical sites and art works as well as supporting traditional arts and handicrafts
  • Clean & Renewable Energy – facilitating environmental sustainability and supporting access to energy for disadvantaged communities

within the scope of activities enumerated in Schedule VII of Companies Act 2013, the scope and focus of the policy shall be modified from time to time.

Governance/Operational Framework

ESG Committee

Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 requires a CSR committee to be constituted by the Board of Directors('Board') of the Compay.The CSR Committee is the governing body that will promote, function, operate and perform all matters realated to and/or ancillary with regard to the CSR activities and ensure compliance with the Policy.

Modalities

The Philanthropy Committee of the Group along with the ESG team will screen, vet and shortlist various projects and proposals to be recommended to the ESG Committee. The ESG Committee will select suitable projects and proposals and recommend the same to the Local Management Team (LMT) for their approval following group ESG clearance.

Implementation, Monitoring & Documentation

To the extent possible, funding for ESG projects will be for such period as may be determined by the ESG Committee, with potential for future funding contingent on programming and outputs assessed from the interim and final reports.

Bank of America will institute a robust monitoring mechanism for all ESG programs, generating half yearly progress reports. These reports will be reviewed by the ESG Committee with an aim to assess the impact of our ESG interventions (either new or ongoing), including but not limited to the modalities of utilization of funds on such projects and programs and the monitoring and reporting mechanism etc. These reports will also form the basis of any external reporting that is required under the Act.

Review & Amendments

The ESG Committee shall review and reassess this policy at least annually; the policy may be amended from time to time by the LMT on the recommendation of the ESG Committee.

Disclosures

The Annual Report shall include a report on ESG activities containing particulars as prescribed under the rules. Bank of America shall include in its annual report the following information on ESG:

  • Description of contents of the ESG policy
  • An overview of the ESG activities and reference to the web-link to the ESG policy and projects or programs
  • The composition of the ESG Committee
  • Average net profit for the preceding three financial years
  • Prescribed ESG expenditure
  • Details of amount spent in the prescribed format
  • Amount unspent, if any, and reasons for not spending the amount
  • Responsibility statement of the ESG Committee that the implementation and monitoring of the ESG policy is in compliance with the ESG objectives and ESG policy
  • Such other matters as may be specified from time to time for inclusion in the annual report