Message to Our Stakeholders
2003 Public Accountability Statement
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Rick Waugh President & Chief Executive Officer Scotiabank
At Scotiabank, we manage our business to benefit all of our major stakeholders - our customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities where we all live and work. We aim to create long-term value for shareholders, provide excellent service to customers and satisfying, rewarding careers for employees, and be a positive influence in the communities we serve.

Message to our Stakeholders

In 2003, we met with success in all these areas. Once again, we provided record returns to shareholders: over the past 10 years, total shareholder returns - including dividends and stock price appreciation - have exceeded 20 per cent. We were recognized for excellence in customer service, not only in Canada, but in several of the international markets where we operate. In a confidential internal survey, a large majority of our employees - 83 per cent - said their area was a great place to work. And total donations, sponsorships and other forms of community giving - about 15 per cent of it directed outside of Canada - totalled $30 million. Over the past decade, Scotiabank has increased its community giving more than five-fold, making us one of the largest corporate donors in Canada. Once again, Corporate Knights recognized us as one of Canada's top 10 corporate citizens.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) - the way we interact with our stakeholders to meet our social, economic, environmental and ethical responsibilities - is an important part of our commitment to stakeholders. Apart from simply being the right thing to do, CSR makes good business sense. Potential and current employees welcome the opportunity to work for a socially responsible company and appreciate our support for their local communities. Increasingly, too, customers and shareholders are seeking to do business with and invest in such companies.

We have committed ourselves to the goal of becoming a leader in corporate social responsibility and have incorporated it into our list of strategic objectives. To focus our efforts toward achieving this goal, we have recently taken the following steps:

  • convened executive steering and working committees last year to develop a longer-term CSR strategy for Scotiabank and look for opportunities to step up our contribution;
  • made the decision to appoint a dedicated senior officer to build and maintain the Bank's relationships with the Canadian and global CSR communities;
  • created a Reputational Risk Committee to support the Bank's other risk management committees, and provide business units with advice and guidance in assessing complex products and transactions for the possibility that they may negatively affect the Bank's public image; and
  • became a founding member of the Ontario chapter of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, a not-for-profit association that encourages and supports its member companies in developing responsible and profitable business practices.

Our Public Accountability Statement (PAS) is a key component of our CSR commitment. Besides telling our stakeholders about the good things we are doing in their communities, we are using it as a tool to manage and refine our long-term CSR strategies. Already, the PAS has helped us improve relationships with our stakeholders - to find out what we are doing well, where we need to improve, and how we can better address issues that affect our operations, our reputation, our communities, and our world.

We have also generated greater awareness of our CSR strategies and performance through our annual report, Scotiabank's website, and Guidelines for Business Conduct. Our employees have shown a great interest in CSR-related issues. We encourage their participation in community-based causes, and keep them informed of the Bank's and each other's efforts, through internal publications, websites and other media. Our Board of Directors has been briefed on our progress, and we have listened to our customers and shareholders though a variety of channels. For example, we have met with the Consumers Council of Canada on numerous occasions to obtain their feedback on our past efforts and their input in preparing this report.

Although much of the basic information required for the PAS is already collected and reported by the Bank, it does require effort to pull it all together in a coherent and consistent way. Each year, we have tried to improve on the amount and depth of data we include to measure our performance on a variety of economic, social and environmental indicators. However, this kind of complex, specialized reporting is still a relatively new concept, and one that continues to evolve as interest in CSR issues grows. We will continue tracking the development of international reporting standards, and we are confident that, over time, we will be able to provide even better information that reflects a more comprehensive picture of our CSR efforts and progress to our stakeholders.

We are proud of our efforts in the global communities where we live and work, and pleased to share some of the highlights of our 2003 contributions with you in the pages of this report.

Rick Waugh - President & Chief Executive Officer

Richard E. Waugh
President & Chief Executive Officer