The results of the annual Sustainability Index were announced on 13 June, and we are proud that this year Baltic International Bank won the highest platinum award. The Platinum Category is awarded to companies that have fully integrated corporate governance into their operations, and in which responsible persons have been appointed at both the managerial and executive levels. These companies systematically collect data and assess impact. They report on their activities with a high level of transparency and engaging stakeholders, and their published data was approved by the external auditor. Chairman of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktor Bolbat says: “We are proud to be the first local capital bank to receive the highest rating of the Sustainability Index. The Bank managed to find new opportunities for development, overcome challenges, and successfully work on changing the business model and move towards the common goal – to become a strong and sustainable investment Bank whose activity is based on the internationally approbated ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) approach". “The three pillars underlying the ESG approach – environmental sustainability, good governance and social issues – were and will be important for the Bank both as a business organisation and as an educator of our customers and partners. In recent years, we persistently worked to introduce the principles of corporate responsibility and sustainability for them to become an everyday aspect at all levels of the Bank,” emphasises Viktor Bolbat noting that one of the Bank’s core values is Succession which implies taking care of the environment and its transfer to future generations. The Sustainability Index is a strategic management tool based on the globally recognised methodology that helps companies to assess the sustainability of their operations and the level of corporate responsibility in five areas: strategy, market relations, work environment, environment and society. The overall assessment of the company consists of achievements in all five areas; therefore, the integrated approach covering all areas of the Bank's activities is the only key to success. Realizing the strategic direction, Baltic International Bank actively works to change the business model providing the most profitable investment solutions for all financial needs and being a reliable, open and honest long-term counterparty who invests its knowledge, skills and resources for the benefit of society, too. In the field of environmental protection, Baltic International Bank can take pride in its environment-friendly approach and the reduction of a number of key environmental indicators as the effect of environmental concern. In particular, in 2019, the Bank significantly reduced water and heat consumption, and significant reduction in CO2 emissions was achieved. Enlightening employees and its partners, the Bank is on the way to changing attitudes, thinking, and everyday habits in terms of environmental issues. Baltic International Bank is one of the most visible and oldest supporters of cultural processes, science and sustainable business in Latvia concerned about the transfer of important values to future generations. “Library” is one of the largest projects of Baltic International Bank in 2019 offering to share with the public the stories about the role of literature in people's lives, stories about their personal libraries and content thereof. The project involves Latvian writers and other creators of Latvian literary life. It is in the categories of market relations and work environment that Baltic International Bank shows the highest growth and development since the Bank is aware of the importance of non-financial reporting, and its activities are characterised by the words “openness” and “transparency”. In these areas, the Bank chooses a proactive approach as it is entirely possible that the introduction of ESG principles and non-financial reporting will eventually become a binding requirement for this sector. Dace Helmane, head of the Institute for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, explains: “The Sustainability Index is a time-tested and improved tool recognised by Latvian companies for evaluating their work. In 2019, special joy was brought by companies that have been registering on the index for several years and demonstrating a positive dynamic of achievements, and also serving as an inspiring example for others. Baltic International Bank has been participating in the Sustainability Index for the sixth year still showing progressive growth, therefore finding Baltic International Bank in the highest Platinum Category this year is natural.” In 2014 and 2015, Baltic International Bank received the bronze Sustainability Index award; in 2016, – the silver award; and in 2017 and 2018, the Bank's performance was awarded a high-level gold award, and we are proud that in 2019 the company received the highest platinum award. This week, Baltic International Bank also received a positive assessment from the Ministry of Welfare, having (third year in a row) become one of the Latvian companies that was awarded the Family-Friendly Merchant status. About the Sustainability Index Since the development of the Sustainability Index in 2009, several other initiatives have been added that allow Latvian companies to not only get an analysis of their effectiveness and expert comments, but also qualify for a number of different awards, such as the Family-Friendly Merchant status, the Fair Trade award and the Leader of Innovations award, Region Power, etc. The initiative is implemented by the Institute for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, but is supported by the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia and the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia. Since 2010, about 300 companies have used the self-assessment tool of the Sustainability Index.