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Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2002
Ensuring sustainable livelihoods:

challenges for governments, corporates, and civil society at Rio+10
8 - 11 February 2002, New Delhi

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DSDS 2002: Plenary session 6, 10 February 2002

Creating business models for the poor: expanding sustainable development
Hanns Michael Hoelz
Global Head of Public Affairs, Deutsche Bank AG


Corporations enjoy many of the same rights and privileges as other members of a community. Like any citizen, this membership includes responsibilities as well. Deutsche Bank believes that the realities of globalization offer a unique opportunity to effect positive change, encourage sustainable communities and develop the stable societies.

Moreover, we recognize that this commitment cannot be a financial one alone. Building a common culture of concern and responsiveness among our employees is essential to our strategy. A broad variety of backgrounds, talents, cultures and abilities makes Deutsche Bank a successful financial organization. These are the same strengths that we call upon to address the needs of the communities in which we operate and beyond.

We believe our role in society must be one that helps buffer the impact of change on those most vulnerable. We also seek to encourage those most able to utilize the momentum of change to define a future of enlightenment, justice and prosperity. As we react to our changing world, we learn everyday how to adapt what we are doing. Our commitment is a work in progress, but it is evolving constantly as we seek a new understanding of the way in which business can interact positively with society. It is through this effort that we strive toward our goal of being both a global corporation and a global citizen.

eutsche Bank has offices in 70 countries, both industrialized, emerging and developing. We employ people who are citizens of those countries, residents of those communities who have families in those cities and towns. Corporate citizenship for us is about them and their neighbors. One cannot make a difference without fully participating in the life of the communities in which we operate. By being present, making a long-term commitment to make a positive difference, by being a partner on whom people can count on, can trust – that is corporate citizenship.

The implications of globalization on the goal of sustainable development should be of paramount importance to those of us that work within the financial services industry. While our companies are faced with enormous challenges to successfully compete in the new global marketplace, none of us would deny that globalization is essentially a force of opportunity for multi-national corporations as old boundaries fall to the wayside, capital sources flow more freely and new markets open. This momentum of growth cannot be sustained, however, unless we work to ensure that globalization results in broad benefits for the majority of the world’s people and especially those living outside the economic mainstream while concurrently insuring the long-term environmental integrity of our precious natural resources and ecosystems. Not only is this a moral imperative, but a necessary one as well. In the short term, it is certainly in our own interest to work to counter the mounting, and well organized, grass roots backlash against globalization. In the long term, perhaps the most compelling argument for our involvement, is our own survival. To maintain the economic growth that fuels the expansion of our businesses we must remove the barriers of poverty and ignorance that isolate much of the world’s people from the marketplace and access to economic independence and prosperity. The events of September 11th, their cause, and the world’s reaction only serve to reinforce this need and make it all the more urgent and imperative.

In addressing these issue directly, we call upon our own expertise and capacities. In a large number of developing and emerging markets, the financial services that citizens of industrialized nations take for granted are often available only to an elite group of individuals. With poorly developed laws regarding property rights, low levels of literacy and extremely limited income, the vast majority of persons living in many developing nations cannot acquire simple credit for lack of collateral or access to a lending institution. As an essential tool of development, the alleviation and breaking of the cycle of poverty is very much accelerated by making available to these communities the basic resources needed for economic progress.

By bringing the potential of capital to communities who would otherwise not have access, we open up the possibility for them to take advantage of their own creativity, ingenuity, hard-work and spirit. In this capacity Deutsche Bank, in partnership with local institutions, can play a most purposeful role in creating a climate of enthusiasm and trust.

The promise of microfinance to alleviate poverty and generate economic growth through the provision of small credits to emerging entrepreneurs can only succeed if programs move to scale and operational self-sufficiency. With this as a goal we established the Deutsche Bank Microcredit Development Fund (DB MDF) with the sole purpose of providing subordinated debt to local Microcredit programs that can serve as collateral in leveraging local domestic bank borrowings. It is our belief that conventional relationships with domestic commercial banks is an essential step to freeing Microcredit programs from their dependency on donor aid.

Deutsche Bank is exploring ways to broaden our involvement in Microcredit. In addition, we are looking at other capital market roles we can play as well as the value we can add in helping to train Microcredit management and encourage hospitable regulatory environments to nurture the growth of programs throughout the developing world.

Whereas poverty alleviation will be necessary to ensure sustainable development, our commitment to Sustainability does not end with micro-finance. Sustainable Development is a global issue, and one that cannot be tackled by any one corporation, or even one nation alone. Thus, we realize how important our network of partners are in this effort. We are active members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, The UNEP Financial Services Initiative, The Bellagio Forum for Sustainable Development, The World Bank’s Protoype Carbon Fund and we were very proud to be invited by Kofi Annan to be among the first organizations to be a part of the Global Compact where we have made efforts to highlight our record not only on the environment, but also in the areas of Human Rights and Labor.

Through these important organizations we share best-practice policy and are able to pool our resources to make important contributions to the multi-faceted and developing issues that have come to be known as sustainable development.

At Deutsche Bank we believe that a commitment to society must be long-term. Simply donating money to programs may be helpful as a temporary support, but the fundamental structures and support mechanisms that must be built to ensure continuity and real change, can only come about through consistency, reliability and trust, in short – real partnership.

For us, much of our corporate citizenship commitment is a local issue. Globalization has meant that companies are active in more places with greater reach and larger resources. But, globalization is not synonymous with centralization. A person in Frankfurt cannot know and understand the needs of a community in Asia, in South America or Africa. Thus, globalization affords us the opportunity to have individuals, who work for the bank, but live in diverse communities to take our central ideas and coordination and implement that in the most effective way for the communities of which they are a part.

This is our philosophy: it is "Think Global, Act Local" in action. Emerging markets require different methods and approaches. The issues, however, are often not fundamentally different. Education is a necessity for prosperity, regardless of the level. The message must be tailored to meet the needs of each region. The partners must be carefully chosen and the dedication must be real and long-term. Thus, we have a world-wide corporate citizenship commitment that proudly bears the signature of Deutsche Bank, which at the same time is implemented by local individuals with a local roots in their own communities. We are dedicated to making a difference and do not hesitate to be fresh and innovative. Most importantly we recognize the importance of listening to our neighbors, and learning from our colleagues our friends and our partners.