The Financial Stability Authority’s sustainability report for 2022
Management’s endorsement of the report
The Financial Stability Authority’s Management Group is committed to the sustainability work undertaken by the Authority. It has been involved in the selection and fine-tuning of sustainability goals as the work has evolved, and in judging the progress that has been made in achieving those goals since 2021.
The Management Group has contributed to the production of the sustainability report for 2022, especially as regards the choice of example cases that give a good picture of the diverse nature of the development work that was done in 2022.
The Authority’s Director General adopted the second sustainability report on 14 February 2022.
Sustainability in the work of the Authority
The Financial Stability Authority is an independent body set up in 2015 to act as Finland’s national resolution and deposit guarantee authority. In summer 2022 the Authority acquired a new statutory function as administrator of the national backup account system.
Sustainability is linked in many ways to the Authority’s core functions. The Authority is a responsible operator that promotes the stability of the financial market and confidence in the banking sector and financial market by improving the crisis management preparedness of institutions and authorities and by evaluating and developing the viability of the deposit guarantee system, the resolution framework and the backup arrangements for daily payments. Crisis management preparedness as well as effective and relevant regulation are necessary to ensure that the impact and costs of banking crises on society remain as small as possible. The Authority also ensures that the administrative fees charged to institutions are used by the Authority appropriately and in accordance with the law. The Authority also suggests areas in which public administration may be made more efficient through its association with the administrative branch of the Ministry of Finance.
Sustainability is part of the Authority’s values. Everyone can promote sustainability in the work they do, and in partnership with other authorities and the institutions that are under the Authority’s jurisdiction. Staff commitment to the values is measured each year on the job satisfaction barometer.
The Authority staff adhere to the organisation’s ethical guidelines in everything they do. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure the independence and impartiality of the staff and the high ethical standards that must apply. The Director General and the deputy Director General are also bound by the Code of Ethics that applies to the Members of the SRB's Plenary Session.
The work on sustainability was started at the Authority in 2021 with an identification of what United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals would be relevant from the resolution and deposit guarantee authority’s perspective. Two experts and the Authority’s Management Group were involved in this process.
Since the start of 2022, the chief economist has been given the responsibility for monitoring issues connected with sustainability, in particular the green transition, and for exploring what aspects of the green transition are the most relevant for the resolution and deposit guarantee authority. Furthermore, the new statutory function assigned to the Authority in summer 2022 was accounted for in monitoring and investigative work.
The chief economist will also going forward be responsible for monitoring the achievement of the sustainability goals and drafting the sustainability report. To enhance the process, the chief economist will organise discussions with the entire staff to hear ideas on how to develop sustainability work and evaluate the achievements made. The chief economist will be reporting to the Management Group on the work connected with the sustainability goals as it progresses. The chief economist will, in particular, report on any identified risks that might be associated with the achievement of the sustainability goals or would result in excessively increasing the Authority’s footprint, and proposals for action to reduce risks. The Management Group will decide on the policies to be adopted in response to the chief economist’s proposals and on how work on sustainability should possibly be reflected in the Authority’s operational planning.
The approach employed in drafting the report
In January 2023, the chief economist and Management Group selected the example cases that would best represent the progress made in 2022 to achieve the sustainability goals chosen. The descriptions of the chosen goals, targets and indicators were brought in line with the Authority’s new function, while it was not seen to be necessary to change them otherwise. A draft of the sustainability report was then produced and presented to the Authority staff in early February 2023. The comments received were duly considered, and the chief economist finalised the report in mid-February 2023, when it was submitted to the Management Group for approval by the Director General.
In the years to come too, implementation of the goals will be examined in the beginning of the year and the Authority’s sustainability report will be drafted and finalised in February. At the same time consideration will also be given to whether the selected goals or targets and the indicators used need to be refined.
The sustainability goals
The Financial Stability Authority has identified four UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of relevance to its work on which it can have a positive influence and leave its handprint:
- To eradicate poverty in all its forms everywhere (goal 1)
- Decent work and economic growth (goal 8)
- Reduced inequality (goal 10)
- Responsible consumption (goal 12)
The work of the authority also has a footprint, that is a negative impact from the perspective of sustainable development.
The footprint: the adverse impact on the operating environment
The main identified adverse impacts of the operations of the Financial Stability Authority result from business travel, the use of office space, the equipment and provision of services as well as the use of paper.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is easing, physical presence at meetings of the SRB, EBA, EFDI and International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) became again possible. The Government travel strategy and the Authority’s travel guidelines updated in 2022, however, encourage the Authority’s staff to utilise alternative forms of communication and consider the need to travel more carefully. The staff flew to international conferences in 2022 on 21 occasions. There were two connecting domestic flights taken, 10 flights to Brussels, six to another Nordic country, 24 to other destinations in Europe and two to destinations outside Europe. The total distance flown was 115 000 kilometres, which is approximately 5 400 kilometres on average per employee. The flights were mainly taken in the second half of the year.
In March 2022 the Authority switched to a new hybrid working model, where the decision on working hours was updated as regards remote work. This allows staff to work remotely on several days of the week. The Authority’s footprint is reduced if staff do not come into the office every day. The option to use sports and cultural tokens as work perks to pay for public transport services was continued in 2022.
The size of the Authority’s carbon footprint is also affected by the use of equipment, the maintenance of the data centre for IT purposes, and the provision of other services. The equipment and IT services used by the Authority are leased from the Government IT Centre Valtori.
The Authority’s office space is rented from Keva. The led lighting at the office is energy-efficient, and the ventilation and cooling systems and electricity and cable networks now entirely meet current requirements. In 2022 Keva’s measures aimed at saving energy include optimising the ventilation and temperature controls to avoid times of peak demand, reducing heat loss substantially, and making conditions more comfortable in bitterly cold weather, when energy sufficiency is likely to be the biggest problem. Furthermore, necessary but carefully considered changes to lighting levels and indoor temperature settings are made.
The Authority introduced its first electronic case management system in September 2022. It is a service provided by the Government ICT Centre Valtori. The Authority’s archives are no longer produced on paper, and that has resulted in a considerable reduction in the use of paper and the need to acquire supplies for storing paper documentation. The footprint is also reduced by the fact that the case management system’s signature function, independent of time and place as it is, does not require staff to come into the office to sign documents. The agency specific induction and training material produced to support the onboarding of the new system is in digital format and created on the shared state learning platform. The solution has not caused the Authority to incur additional maintenance or training expenses, the inductions and materials are accessible via remote links, and after the system has started to be used it is cost-effective to edit the material.
During the year, a representative of the Authority took part in a webinar in which, under the auspices of the WWF and Keva, it was explained how environmental sustainability in the workplace can be improved and managed.
The Financial Stability Authority’s work in matters of sustainability continues. The Authority will continue to promote the credibility of the deposit guarantee scheme, resolution framework and the daily payments contingency arrangements and develop them further. For example, in 2023 the Authority will promote process-based. It also needs to be assessed as to whether and how the work of banks in promoting green transition should be reflected in the Authority’s sustainability work. Similarly, the start of active investment of the Financial Stability Fund assets will bring a new perspective to the Authority’s sustainability work. The switch to the electronic case management system will continue, with the use of paper diminishing further. The Authority also intends to investigate the Green Office environmental management system and assess whether it would be appropriate to introduce it.