Case study: ING empowers people through integrated thinking

4 March, 2021

The <IR> Business Network’s Integrated Thinking & Strategy Group publishes its latest case study on integrated thinking in action from ING.

ING is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Amsterdam. Founded in 1991, the bank has 53,000 employees and serves some 40 million customers, corporate clients and financial institutions in over 40 countries.

Back in the summer of 2015, ING embarked on a transformational journey with integrated thinking in response to evolving stakeholder needs and the rapid acceleration of the digital landscape.

The bank was looking for practical steps to articulate its purpose: “Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business”, which is also underlined with its new brand direction, “do your thing”. This is about people being free to live the life they want to live, supported by a bank which caters to their individual needs. For ING, this means supporting and promoting economic, social and environmental progress, and at the same time generating healthy returns for shareholders.

The transformation was a shift from a traditional and hierarchical organization featuring functional departments to an agile and interconnected working environment and business model.

Integrated thinking has helped ING acknowledge one of its biggest assets which drive its strategy: its people. By supporting ING’s manifesto, Orange Code, which lays out the values and behaviours that define the organization, integrated thinking has enabled ING to stimulate its people, from the top down, to integrate the corporate purpose into their work and stakeholder engagement.

The expectations of ING’s stakeholders are incredibly varied, but all equally important. In the past, the number of frameworks available has been overwhelming and has led to a lack of consistency and cohesion in how ING views the business. Embarking on an integrated thinking journey provided ING with a holistic overview and enabled them to show their stakeholders how they create value.

As a result, ING is ranked as a leader in the banks industry group by Sustainalytics and has an ‘AA’ rating in MSCI’s ratings universe. ING Group shares are included in major sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index products of leading providers STOXX, Morningstar and FTSE Russell.

Click here to read the case study in full and find out more about ING’s motivations, approach and success in achieving its purpose.

The <IR> Business Network’s Integrated Thinking & Strategy Group series of case studies examine how integrated thinking has been embedded within international organizations from diverse sectors. The interviews conducted with key stakeholders identifies each organization’s motivations, how integrated thinking has helped shape and deploy the organization’s strategy, and what the benefits have been.