Case Study Itaú Unibanco

Profile

The merger of Brazilian banks Itaú and Unibanco in 2008 created one of the world's largest banks, Itaú Unibanco. With equity of U$ 71,3 billion and total assets of U$ 851,3 billion in 2011, the company reached a market value of U$ 152,8 billion in stock exchanges, which places it among the top ten institutions in the world, according to the international news agency Bloomberg.
The vision established for Itaú Unibanco is to be the leading bank in sustainable performance and customer satisfaction.
Its shares are traded in the Stock Exchange of São Paulo (BM&FBovespa), in the Stock Exchange of Buenos Aires (BCBA) and the Stock Exchange of New York (New York Stock Exchange - NYSE).
Itaú Unibanco has 4,072 full-service agencies throughout Brazil and abroad.
  • Company Name: ITAU UNIBANCO
  • Country: Brazil
  • Sector: Financing/Financeiro
  • Name of Initiative: Consultations with stakeholders to restructure company's sustainability strategy (SINCE 2009)
  • Level of Engagement: Corporate
  • Purpose: Listen
  • Approach: panels/one-to-one/consultations
  • Type of stakeholders: hybrid

Purpose

Itaú Unibanco engaged in stakeholder consultation process to restructure the sustainability strategy with the participation of internal and external groups. This process was guided by three main questions:
  • What is “sustainable performance” for Itaú Unibanco, since the corporate vision is to be the leading bank in sustainable performance and customer satisfaction?
  • What is the relationship between sustainable performance and sustainability?
  • What should be the priorities of the bank in sustainability? How to link sustainability to the business agenda and define a business strategy?

Practice

Three dialogue panels conducted in 2009 contribute to the process of strategy restructuring:
1 – Panel with sustainability experts
2 – Panel with employees
3 – Multi-stakeholder panel
During these panels the bank’s sustainability strategy was discussed. From the results of such consultation, combined with the need to answer the three questions mentioned above, the executive committee decided to hold a wider process of consultation, mainly with the internal staff, that could highlight the challenges of the businesses. That led to a new round of consultation in 2011, with interviews, workshops and internal validations to complement the external perspectives from 2009.
The intersection of scenarios discussed with internal and external stakeholders helped the bank define a legitimate sustainability strategy that represents the organizational context, different business lines’ characteristics and the connection with global macro trends. After the definition of the new sustainability strategy, in 2011, a new dialogue panel with specialists was conducted to present the results of the process and collect new inputs for the implementation of the strategy.

Members/Participants

The participants of panels held in 2009 were academics, key opinion makers, researchers and employees related to the subjects defined by the bank as priority.
The dialogue panel held with employees had the participation of about 150 people from all executive areas (VPs). The participation of top management was mandatory, both in the consultation and validation phases, since the sustainability strategy should be strictly linked to the business agenda.
The sustainability department of Itaú Unibanco was responsible for the coordination of the entire process, including selecting and inviting all participants.

Facilitation/Communication

Consultation formats varied from interviews with executives, workshops and dialogue panels. The whole process was conducted by an outside consultant to ensure the necessary expertise and independence needed. The panels were also facilitated by external consultants.
The panels had no intention of reaching conclusions or consensus on the questions - they were internally considered as a source of opinions and inputs for the sustainability strategy. The company plans to move on, developing a systematic process of consultation and stakeholder feedback on the sustainability strategy. There is currently no methodology and frequency established for this communication to take place, but the company recognizes the importance of accountability of results, both internally and externally.

Connection with company governance 

The whole process was closely monitored by the Vice President of Institutional Relations of Itaú Unibanco, Zeca Rudge. As the expected result was the bank’s sustainability strategy integrated into the business agenda, the participation of all executive areas, and the validation with top management, was mandatory in all stage of the process. The strategy should reflect the challenges, difficulties and specific characteristics of the bank’s business lines and its relations to the main trends that are being discussed in the society and in the financial sector. Both the assignment and the final validation of the process were deliberated by the company’s executive committee. The sustainability governance participated on the milestones of the process and, in the end, was redesigned to attend the new strategy.

Outcomes and benefits

This process helped the company define what sustainable performance is and what strategic issues should be focused on. For Itaú Unibanco sustainable performance is to create shared value for employees, customers, shareholders and society – in order to ensure the longevity of the business. The three strategic focus areas are: financial literacy; social and environmental risks and opportunities; and dialogue and transparency.
The bank also identified four enabling strands: governance and management, culture, incentive and efficiency. These are structures that must cut across the entire company and that act as springboards to integrate and continually deepen the three focus areas into business activity.

FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
  • Implement working groups for each focus area with representatives of different departments;
  • Consolidate a proposal for dialogue with experts and other stakeholders for refinement and feedback of the platforms developed in this process;
  • Develop a dashboard with objectives, targets and indicators that will be monitored by the sustainability governance, including executive committees.

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