Arwa Sayyadi


Banks have an important role to play in the global transition to a more sustainable planet. Not only are they a powerful agent through their control of the money supply, the projects they finance, and clients they lend, but they also have financial, reputational, and legal motivations to adopt more sustainable practices. Based on the importance of banks as sustainability agents and their motivation to become more sustainable, this study focuses on the sustainability integration process in the banking sector and proposes a measurement for this integration. More specifically, this study has three objectives: To create a diagnostic tool or model that can assess the extent to which a bank has integrated sustainability, to pilot the tool on a sample bank that has attempted to integrate sustainability in Egypt, and to refine the tool based on the pilot conducted in the second objective. The tool has been developed to probe for a set of standards that a bank is suggested to follow to integrate sustainability. The standards were developed from the review of literature which suggested following division for the standards: vision and strategy, core business, culture and leadership, communication, and internal environment. Once the tool was developed and piloted on the Arab African International Bank in Egypt, it was found that the bank was 38.16% sustainable. However, the pilot experience revealed many refinements that should be made to the tool. After these refinements were taken into consideration, the updated, and fairer, score for the bank was found to be 43.64%. The plans and strategies of the bank, which in the bank's case, covered the next three years, were also accounted for in a separate tool, post-refinement, and revealed a score of 54.51%. This means that if the bank were to follow through the strategy it expressed over the next three years, it can become 54.51% sustainable, up from 43.64%. There are charts that complement every score which reveal precisely the breakdown of each score. The purpose of this study is not to suggest a tool as an end product, rather it is to suggest it as a starting point for future studies and practitioners, such as banks and consultants, to build on and adjust. The refinement process undertaken study is also a method this study aims to propose. The details of the tool may vary, but there is at least a skeleton and an approach that has resulted from this study on which future research can rely.

Degree Name

MS in Sustainable Development

Graduation Date


Submission Date

June 2017

First Advisor

Badran, Mohga

Committee Member 1

Badran, Mohga

Committee Member 2

Abou Zeid, Mohamed


277 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would like to firstly express my gratitude to my advisor Dr. Mohga Badran for her continuous time and patience with me, as well as her meticulous and insightful input. I would also like to thank my co-advisor Dr. Mohamed Nagib who always made the time to discuss my thesis and provided me with invaluable advice and recommendations on all aspects of this work. I am highly thankful to the thesis committee, Dr. Salah El Haggar and Ms. Dalia Wahba, whose recommendations and comments helped perfect the thesis and who both added very insightful industry knowledge. Secondly, I would like to thank all the interviewees who agreed to give me their time and insights. As many wished to remain anonymous, I cannot thank them individually, but I am very grateful to each and every person I’ve spoken to in the bank. I would particularly like to thank Mr. Hassan Abdalla and Dr. Dalia Abdel Kader for allowing me to use the bank’s name and enabling me to carry out my interviews across the bank. I would also like to thank the Center for Sustainable Development. I am very grateful for all the help and facilitation provided by Dr. Hani and Muhammad Khaled. Lastly, I would like to thank my parents, specifically my mother, for her endless support, motivation, and tolerance with my hectic schedule and stress over the past period.