Global climate change is one of today’s most serious challenges. Scientific evidence points to substantial risks to the planet from climate change if we do not manage to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to preindustrial levels. SEB has an important role to play in adjusting its strategy to further support its customers in the transition towards a low carbon economy in line with the Paris Agreement.
As a bank, SEB has both a responsibility and an ability to create financial solutions that accelerate and support the transition. We address climate aspects in financing and investments as well as in managing our direct impact. Environmental responsibility concerns the impact that we or our business partners have on living and non-living natural systems, including ecosystems, land, air and water. We incorporate environmental and climate considerations into strategic planning, business development, risk management, in credit assessments and customer selection processes.
Managing climate change risks
We believe that one of the main drivers of the transition to a low-carbon economy will be the transformation of large corporates, especially in sectors with a material carbon footprint. SEB is a long-term major financial partner to Nordic large corporates and among the largest asset managers in the Nordic which makes us uniquely positioned to contribute to this transformation. Our ambition is to participate in the transformation by offering advisory leadership, innovative and sustainable financing, and investment solutions.
SEB's way of managing climate change risk is integrated in our overall business strategy. By signing the UNEP FI Principles of Responsible Banking, we have committed to align our strategy with the Paris Agreement. This includes supporting customers in meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement through an orderly transition.
SEB’s impact on the climate is both direct through our own emissions and indirect through our customers’ emissions. In order to manage the bank’s direct impact, we have set targets for our carbon emissions.
To manage the indirect impact, the bank has developed a Customer Sustainability Classification Model that is used for assessing corporate and real estate customers’ current and future climate impacts. This model is used as a tool to engage with customers in constructive dialogues about their decarbonization strategies. Hereby we can support companies in transition with advisory services and financing for potential investment needs. The model also enables us to measure and report on the aggregate climate impact of our credit portfolio and to set strategic goals for shifting and aligning our activities with the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. Read more about the Customer Sustainability Classification Model here.
Active part in the transition
SEB takes an active part in the global green transition. We have committed to several international initiatives targeting climate change. Among them is the UN-initiated Net-Zero Banking Alliance which SEB joined in 2021 and through which we commit to align our emissions from our lending and investment portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner. Moreover, we participate in the ongoing development work in EU. Starting from 2018, SEB was a member of the Technical Expert Group that contributed to the development of the EU taxonomy, and we are today member of the expert group Platform on Sustainable Finance which advises on topics related to further developing the EU taxonomy.
SEB has endorsed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, a global initiative aiming to increase and harmonize companies’ climate-related financial disclosure to stakeholders. In the Annual and Sustainability Report 2020 (p.52–58) we describe how we manage climate change risks, our direct and indirect climate impact and how we work to classify our corporate credit portfolio, based on information about our customers’ carbon emissions. We also present a climate scenario analysis for transition risks in the oil & gas sector.
Reducing our own impact
We work actively to reduce our own environmental footprint and we have a responsibility and ambition to do so. We have set targets to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2045. This target includes milestones to reduce emissions with 66 per cent by 2025 and with 75 per cent by 2030, both compared to baseline year 2008. From 2021 onwards, our goal is to reach a net effect of zero through climate compensation.
To achieve our goals SEB will work to, among others, improve energy efficiency of operations and buildings, reduce business travel by using alternative techniques for meetings and move to an electrified fleet of company cars.
SEB’s goal to reduce the direct CO2 emissions by 20% between 2015 and 2020 was achieved by far. Changed travel pattern was the biggest contribution to the reduced emissions. This changed pattern was closely linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, we had around 9,700 tonnes of own CO2 emissions, equivalent to 0.61 tonnes per SEB employee.