The attention given to stakeholders is an essential part of the way Intesa Sanpaolo carries out its banking business. In 2015, in line with the past, we have shown how the underlying principles of our social responsibility permeate our choices, so as to ensure that the objectives that we set as part of the 2014-2017 Business Plan are able to generate value for all stakeholders.

The economic context in which Intesa Sanpaolo has operated during 2015 was characterized, in Italy, by signs of economic recovery which have been consolidated for the first time after three consecutive years of recession. The gradual recovery in the real economy was supported by the positive trend in internal demand and, according to preliminary estimates, the annual growth rate of industrial production returned to positive ground for the first time since 2011.

2015 closed with positive performance of all income margins. The increase in revenues as a result of the trend in fee and commission income, profits on trading and the reduction in net adjustments to loans drove net income for the year to 2,739 million euro, doubling the income of 2014. An achievement that seems even more positive when considering that operating expenses were posted for the contributions to the European Single Resolution Fund and deposit guarantee schemes. If we consider the soundness of the capital ratios (after proposed dividends, fully loaded CET 1 ratio of 13.1%), the liquidity ratios (already in line with Basel 3 requirements for 2018), and the low risk profile of our business model, we can state that the results for 2015 are particularly significant.

Ours is a bank undergoing continuous transformation, rooted in the past but looking towards the future, with an extraordinary, proven ability to anticipate trends. As all organisations that have a history, our way of banking has changed over time, but has always remained consistent with the goal of creating a reliable financial system that is worthy of investors’ trust. Transparency, soundness, careful risk management and integrity underlie our decisions and our every day work.

On the other hand, Intesa Sanpaolo is aware of its responsibilities as a financial institution providing banking services to millions of customers worldwide, with a widespread network of branches that covers the entire national territory and an international network that ensures its presence in the main hubs where the growth of the global economy can be seen.

Indeed, this understanding has led to our participation in initiatives organized by major international organisations such as the UN Global Compact, an initiative launched to promote environmental protection, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption, as well as the Equator Principles, guidelines based on the World Bank standards to assess and manage impacts on the environment and communities in project financing. In this context we engage in projects and initiatives that support the principles and the broader goals of the United Nations.

The 2015 Sustainability Report sets out the views of stakeholders in the value creation process. The use of capital available to the company, the increase in wealth that such use generates, and the consequences of its actions are presented through agreed metrics and comparable results.

With regards to its customers, Intesa Sanpaolo continued to support businesses and households. In 2015, the bank was the main source of financing for the national economy, with over 41 billion euro, an increase on the previous year of approximately 50% in credit granted to Italian customers. The quality in providing the service has been central to our growth policies with the aim of being able to respond, through every relationship channel, to the need for trust and closeness expressed by customers.

The valuing and motivation of the people working in Intesa Sanpaolo is a key point of the Business Plan. The sense of belonging is, indeed, an essential leverage in achieving the Group’s strategic objectives. In 2015 more than 1.3 million training days were devoted to our people to consolidate their professionalism and enhance their adaptability to the way the approach to banking evolves according to new customer needs. The corporate welfare system provides an integrated approach for balancing the professional and business life. In 2015 more than 3,000 people have joined the "flexible work" project, showing how a different way of working can improve the quality of work as well as personal and family life.

In terms of environmental protection, in a context where the management of risks and opportunities related to climate change is of growing importance, Intesa Sanpaolo has been committed for years to promoting responsible resource management in order to reduce its ecological footprint and the impacts generated by its activities. Its initiatives monitor and improve energy efficiency through the provision of “green” products and services, including credit orientation on the basis of environmental and social sustainability criteria.

The Group's commitment to the community has continued with a long-term vision. We supported - alongside local players, Shareholders' foundations and local non-profit associations - microcredit projects to help the most vulnerable social groups, as well as life choice and entrepreneurship projects for the young. We have guaranteed our support to the third sector through funding and the development of initiatives. We have invested resources and energy into financial education initiatives for young people and the not-so-young. Many were the sponsorships in support of cultural and research initiatives. Equally numerous were the donations to projects in favour of those hit most severely by the economic crisis. Attention to art and culture continued to be a priority element that drives our commitment to the community. Indeed, Intesa Sanpaolo believes that these initiatives firmly express the active role of the Bank in the life of the country.

The framework of initiatives we have outlined testifies to our efforts in achieving the objectives we had set ourselves. This Sustainability Report speaks of us with great transparency, accounting for our activities through the many indicators that render our commitment tangible. What we want to do is to give voice to our stakeholders, whom we meet on our journey of continuous involvement and listening. Their suggestions and criticisms stimulate us to reach objectives that increasingly meet your and our expectations.