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Corporate Sustainability at SEB

Banks play a fundamental role in society. SEB has a strong ambition to contribute to sustainable growth and to make a difference to customers, staff and the society at large. We strive for making sustainability an integrated part of our business, and to include sustainability as a natural part in everything we do.

Our business shall be underpinned by strong ethics and good governance, long term relationships and highly committed people delivering the corporate strategy and managing the social and environmental impact of our business.

We want to support our customers, create value for our shareholders and contribute to society as a whole. To achieve this, we need to work closely together with customers, employees, investors, suppliers and other strategic partners. We want to be open and transparent and increase the possibilities to establish a frank and robust dialogue.


Read SEB's Sustainability report 2015 (PDF, 6.35 Mb)

Read SEB's Sustainability report 2014 (PDF, 5.00 Mb)

Read SEB's Sustainability report 2013 (PDF, 4.30 Mb)

 

 

SEB's sustainability strategy focuses on three areas of responsibility. Based on a solid foundation of ethical behaviour, we contribute to better corporate governance in the banking sector, protect the environment and increase our community involvement.

The areas of reponsibility are:

  • Responsible Business
  • People and Community
  • Environment

Each area has a defined set of business priorities, eight in total:

Responsible selling and marketing

What is the issue?

Relationships and trust are the foundation of everything we do. Our customers entrust us not only their money but also their aspirations and their plans for the future. We want to be their partner in good as well as bad times and we have a long-term perspective in everything we do. It is our job to listen, to use our knowledge in a simple way, giving clear advice to our customers on how to realise the dreams and secure the future.

Why is it important to SEB?

In a society with a high rate of change, where uncertainty and complexity increases, there is a growing need to feel secure and confident, not least for the economy. This applies to individuals as well as businesses. At SEB, we believe that trust and relationship with our customers is key to our success. By constantly striving for clarity and transparency, by offering high quality of advice and supplies, we take responsibility for always doing our best for our customers. That is why we call ourselves the Relationship Bank.

What do we do?

The starting point for all our business is built upon our core values – commitment, mutual respect, continuity and professionalism. They guide our actions and reflect who we are and what we believe in. They are also an important part of SEB's Code of Conduct. The code describes SEB's values and standards of business conduct. The code is a condensation of group-wide policies and guidelines, such as the Ethics policy and the Gift and Entertainment instruction.

Read more about SEB's Code of Conduct.

Responsible advising and lending

We want to make it easier for our customers to gain control and to get a comprehensive view of their finances. We provide them with the relevant tools to make their own decisions and we highlight the opportunities as well as the risks.

Ensuring that our customers can afford to manage their debt is a key component of all responsible lending. This is why our credit decisions always are based on the customer's individual situation and repayment abilities. Our approach entails fair and ethical marketing, and we consciously avoid products such as loans via mobile phone text messages.

We are committed to ensuring that our customers always have access to professional savings and investing advice and we continuously deepen and broaden current understanding among employees. As an example, all 2,262 employees in the Swedish Retail Banking division who work with advising have during 2013 obtained the SwedSec license. This means that all employees who work with advising towards customers have a clear proof that they have relevant experience in both investment advisory and insurance broking.

Transparency

At SEB, we want to ensure that our customers have a sound financial position and we were the first Swedish bank to introduce amortisation requirements for mortgages when value ratios are above 70 per cent. SEB is still the only Swedish bank that is fully transparent, on a daily basis, on our funding costs for pricing of mortgages. This can be viewed on our web site www.seb.se as well as on the Internet bank. We listen to our customers' request for new digital services such as e-mailings instead of traditional posting, financial guides, and transparent pricing.

Improved customer experiences

As technological development advances, we want to meet our customers via additional new channels. Social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Skype are channels where we interact and can give support. During 2013, SEB has in many of its home markets taken several steps towards more easily accessible services, on Internet and on different mobile devices.

Customers can submit comments via multiple channels – in person at the office, over the phone and web channels in various forms. Our ambition is to address a complaint directly and as close to the source as possible. If the employee who receives the case cannot resolve the issue, we contact the customer within 48 hours with information regarding decisions to act or if the matter should be further investigated.

There is a special customer relations team that handles appeals in cases where the customer still does not feel satisfied. All complaints are registered in SEB's operating risk information system.

Responsible investment

What is the issue?

Companies, including banks and investors, that actively manage the environmental, social and governance aspects of their business are more able to reduce risk and seize opportunities. A crucial part of this is to engage in dialogues to influence portfolio companies to pursue long-term value creation and attractive financial returns.

Why is it important to SEB?

We are one of the largest institutional shareholders among the Nordic countries, investing on behalf of private, corporate and institutional clients in companies around the globe. Acting responsibly as an owner forms an important part of the mandate given by our customers. Therefore it is essential that our portfolio companies manage the environmental, social and governance impact associated with their businesses.

What we want to achieve

Our aim is to perform our ownership role responsibly, promoting good business ethics and governance. Our ambition is to work together with our portfolio companies to evaluate the potential risks and opportunities of their businesses, to secure a sustainable value creation. We know that the issues involved in securing a sustainable approach are often highly complex and must be addressed carefully. We therefore practice dialogue over exit as far as possible.

What do we do?

SEB signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI) in 2008. The six principles guide us in our efforts to exercise responsible ownership. Our commitment to the UN PRI has increased over the years. We see the PRI as a useful and important tool to exercise responsible ownership. Learn more about the six principles here.

Active ownership

As one of the largest investors in the Nordics, it is our responsibility to actively engage with companies we invest in regarding corporate governance, social and environmental aspects. We believe that we in this way can improve value of the assets we invest in, thus creating value for us and our clients.

For our equities investments, we do this mainly in two ways: individual engagements regarding company specific issues, and collaborative engagements regarding relevant themes or topics. Moreover, we also apply active ownership for our real estate and private equity investments. For these asset classes, we do this through ensuring that the holdings are improved from an ESG perspective during our ownership period.

Thematic engagement

The thematic engagement initiatives range in terms of companies and topics. We engage with several other investors with companies in e.g the chemical industry on the issue of phasing out hazardous chemicals, we work to improve anti-corruption practices within various sectors and in different countries.

We have also joined a PRI Clearinghouse initiative regarding hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and shale gas. This initiative aims at improving disclosure, as well as encouraging the adoption of best practice in the companies in the industry.

We have a policy that that excludes investments in companies that manufacture and/or sell landmines or cluster munitions, and chemical and biological weapons. During the autumn 2013, SEB decided that companies involved in the development and production phase of nuclear weapons programmes are not investable for active fixed income and equity funds within SEB's fund offering carrying the name of SEB.

Integrating sustainability

By the end of 2013 we had integrated our sustainability strategy into approximately two thirds of applicable total assets under management, in the asset classes equities, corporate bonds, real estate and private equity. This is done either through our active ownership work, or through other measures to incorporate environmental, social and governance aspects in investment decisions.

SEB now offers 17 funds with a socially responsible investment profile with aggregate Assets under Management of more than SEK 27bn. These are managed using a combination negative and positive screening, ESG integration and thematic approach. The norm-based screening is the foundation for most funds, and is combined with other approaches depending of the preferences of the clients.

Collaboration

We support the Swedish, Finnish and Danish SIFs (Sustainable Investment Forum), as well as the Swedish investor collaboration Sustainable Value Creation. As part of our Swesif engagement, SEB, together with five other Swedish financial institutions, made the new version of the sustainability profile available in the Swedish premium pension system.

The Sustainability Profile complements the fund factsheet for SRI/ethical funds, describing the fund's work on sustainability issues. The starting point is the three approaches: positive selection, negative selection and impact on companies in which the fund can apply. This is an important step towards improved transparency for SRI/ethical funds.

Sustainable finance

What is the issue?

To address the many social and environmental challenges the world faces, new thinking, innovations and financial assistance are needed. Banks can play an important role by creating financial solutions and assisting customers in their sustainability efforts.

Why is it important to SEB?

By including environmental and social factors in our business decisions and discussions with customers, we are long-term better equipped to mitigate risks and seize opportunities. When it comes to risk mitigation, we follow international standards of good practice, such as the Equator Principles.

What we want to achieve

We aim to work together with our clients to contribute to sustainable business and long term growth, while at the same time protecting the environment and making a positive contribution to our society. As part of this work, we strive to enhance our understanding of the sustainability issues that are relevant to the different industries we support and integrating these insights into our business practices. We actively search for opportunities that have an environmental and social benefit as well as a viable economic return.

What do we do?

We are convinced that we can influence the development towards a more sustainable economy and want to collaborate with our clients in order to drive sustainable growth, protect the environment and contribute positively to society. Sustainability issues are part of our dialogue with large corporate customers, and with many small ones.

Position statements and sector policies

The Bank has three position statements (climate change, child labour and access to freshwater) and six sector policies (arms and defence, forestry, fossil fuels, mining and metals, renewable energy and shipping), that were adopted in 2011. They serve as the foundation for the dialogues, but regardless of sector, key sustainability issues are discussed with companies. Read more here.

As of June 2011, sector policies and position statements are included in the regular business review as well as in the annual credit review for large and medium-sized corporates. By year-end 2013, we have assessed 97 per cent of our large and medium-sized corporate customers applicable to our sector policies and position statements. 94 per cent of these were in compliance with our policies. We also have held strategic sustainability dialogues, based on the sector policies and position statements, with about 100 companies.

Credit policies and process

The overriding principle of SEB's credit granting is that all lending shall be based on credit analysis and be proportionate to the customer's ability to repay. Customers shall be known by the Bank and the purpose of the credit should be fully understood. Sustainability aspects have gradually been incorporated into the credit policy and reflect SEB's approach to sustainability with increased emphasis on opportunities as well as risks related to environmental, social and governance issues.

Managing sustainability risk

Assessing the environmental and social impacts of providing finance to our customers is embedded into our overall risk management processes as environmental criteria have been included in our credit policy since 1997. In 2004, we broadened our perspective to include other sustainability aspects such as human rights, international labour standards and reputational risks. A special section on credit policy emphasizes our social responsibility. Through our sector policies and position statements we strengthened our assessment of sustainability risks and opportunities in our credit decisions.

Equator principles

As first among the Nordic banks, SEB adopted the Equator Principles (EP) in 2007, a voluntary set of guidelines used by financial institutions to assess the social and environmental impact of large projects and to help their customers to manage them.

Project financing is often applied for large-scale, complex installations such as power plants, refineries and waste treatment plants, and have contributed to developing and operating such large projects in accordance with good international practice.

On June 4, 2013, the third version of Equator Principles (EP III) was adopted by the signatory financial institutions. SEB has during the last years taking part in the developing of the EP III. This work has being carried out in working groups involving the signatories and also through an extensive stakeholder process involving i.a. multilateral financial institutions, non-governmental organisations and corporates as well as corporate associations.

Green bonds

Since SEB pioneered the issuance of Green Bonds together with the World Bank in 2008, we had in December 2013 raised USD 3.5 billion for Green Bonds on behalf of the World Bank as well as other issuers. These bonds fund investments in countries throughout the world, and are designed to mitigate climate change or help people and communities adapt to it.

In September 2013 SEB facilitated the first Nordic green bond issuance with a 500 million SEK bond for the City of Gothenburg. With the issuance, Gothenburg is a pioneer in the Nordic region for using the green bond financial framework, developed by SEB together with The World Bank and Swedish investors.

In total, organisations around the world including, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea have issued green bonds worth 10 billion dollars.

Read more about Green Bonds.

Tackling financial crime

What is the issue?

Financial crime is a major international problem. Preventing this type of crime is a high priority for SEB, especially as it is constantly changing, and the consequences for societies and the economy can be substantial.

Why is it important to SEB?

SEB is a major provider of loans, payments and other financial services and it is our responsibility to protect our customers and the assets that we manage. We are expected to prevent financial crime and the mis-usage of our channels for money laundering, fraud and other criminal activities.

What do we do?

SEB devotes considerable resources to prevent financial crime and its damaging effects on our customers, our business and on local and global economies. We collaborate with partners locally and internationally, train our employees, monitor transactions and check our customers according to the Know-Your-Customer process (KYC) and against existing sanctions lists. We focus on three key areas:

  • Fraud prevention, -detection and -response
  • Actions to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism
  • Compliance with government sanctions against criminal suspects

In 2013, we implemented the ability to stop and investigate suspected fraudulent online and mobile transactions.
We have strengthened the process for customer identification. Access to online and mobile banking channels are secured through several security layers, one of which consists of an electronic signature enabled through either a card reader devise or a digipass. SEB has increased the level of security when issuing these devises to ensure that customers' assets are well protected.

Internal cooperation

Several units within SEB cooperate to combat fraud – among them Security, Compliance, Internal Audit, Information Security, Human Resources and Risk Management. This includes helping business and support functions to build and maintain "fraud-proof" banking processes.

Training of employees

To succeed in tackling financial crime, employees must be made more aware of developing trends in fraud and how to deal with them. Employees need to be mindful of suspected fraud, regardless of whether it concerns external attempts to commit financial crime, or if there are internal persons acting in an improper manner. To raise awareness of financial crime and money laundering, SEB has developed e-training programmes targeted at all employees. In addition, workshops and classrooms trainings are held with targeted groups.

Know Your Customer (KYC)

In order to prevent and combat financial crime, international agreements as well as common measures and rules are necessary. We abide by European Union legislation on AML and KYC. We apply enhanced due diligence for customers, products and countries, where there is a perceived risk that the Bank is used for money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Whistle-blowing process

SEB's whistle-blowing process was clarified and strengthened in 2012. Most reports of suspected irregularities are still made to local managers. Reports are also regularly made to the Head of Compliance and Head of Internal Audit, mostly via telephone or the specific email address. Most notifications come from employees, but complaints also come from customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Issues raised include suspected cases of violations of the Bank's internal instructions for credit-granting, gifts and entertainment, and potential conflicts of interest. All reported incidents or circumstances are promptly investigated and, when applicable, reported to the bank's CEO and the Audit and Compliance Committee.

Valuing our people

What is the issue?

Banking is all about people. We therefore strive to be a sound workplace that attracts and retains the right people. We provide scope for individual development and want our people to feel valued, included and engaged. The well-being of our employees is essential for our success.

Why is it important to SEB?

An engaging, sound and healthy work environment encourages high quality performance as well as high employee satisfaction and loyalty. This is in the interest of both customers and shareholders. To maintain our position as the relationship bank SEB must attract, develop and retain the best people so that we can provide the best service and experience to our customers.

What do want to achieve

Our goal is to have a high number of employees who are dedicated and proud, and can recommend SEB as an inclusive and sound workplace with opportunities for individual development. We offer our employees equal opportunities to develop individually. We want to increase diversity at all levels and offer a modern, healthy and safe workplace.

What do we do?

Our four core values - commitment, mutual respect, professionalism and continuity - permeate our business and our culture. They form the basis for how we how we behave towards each other and how we want our customers, partners and other stakeholders perceive us.

Open dialogue

We work with developing our internal corporate culture and regularly examine how employees perceive their situation. 2013 year's employee survey Insight, measured two different indices, Employee Engagement Index, which shows how committed employees are to contributing to the bank's success, and Performance Excellence Index, which shows how well the organisation meets customer needs through good customer service, efficient processes and high product quality. Both results are in line with SEB's peers.

Several communication channels help us to keep an open dialogue with our employees, for example through news and information on the intranet, continuous chats with SEB's top management, and our social collaboration tool, Connections.

Development

We believe that people constantly want to develop, feel valued and included, and we provide large scope for individual development. Employees are expected to take large responsibility for their own development, e.g. through the structured development process that is in place. These dialogues put great emphasis on ensuring that the employees' goals are aligned with the Bank's objectives, strategy and vision.

In 2013, we put large focus on strengthening everyday learning among employees, and have introduced a "corporate learning model". The aim is to give employees natural opportunities to take responsibility for both sharing and acquiring knowledge. Our ambition is to implement this learning culture by offering modern learning tools and concepts aligned with our business goals.

Leadership programmes

SEB has a strong emphasis on developing professional and engaging leaders at all levels. We have several types of leadership development programmes for example Management in Practice, a one-year training initiative that lays a solid ground for future successful leadership.

For middle management as well as for experienced specialists and project managers, a special training concept has been developed which is tightly linked to the managerial behavioural competencies that have been identified as crucial for SEB's future success. Supporting the Bank's leaders through coaching, change support and development programmes will continue to be an important part of SEB's leadership culture.

A key success factor for SEB is to recruit talent. The bank has long been considered one of the most attractive employers in Sweden, as in the Baltics. Learn more about career opportunities in the SEB here.

Diversity in focus

SEB's goal is to offer our people equal opportunities to develop individually, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or religion. We strive for a gender balance at every level within the organisation and to increase the proportion of employees with foreign backgrounds. We believe that true diversity, mixed backgrounds and experiences, leads to overall better performance.

We are working actively with increasing the number of women in senior operational positions and in senior leadership roles, both in terms of structure and process, as well as targeted initiatives.

In 2013 SEB was one of ten Swedish corporations to participate in Battle of the Numbers, a project dedicated to advancing more women to operational management positions. During the year a total of 100 women, including ten from SEB, analysed what companies can do to attract, recruit and develop more talented women. The women have shared experiences; both challenges and good examples.

A sound workplace

SEB's health strategy, SEB Wellness Programme, focuses on a pro-active health work, promoting well-being and preventing illness, rather than on retroactive actions. The strategy is anchored in the latest research and based on the recommendations of SEB's Health science council that was introduced in 2012. A better understanding of what influences our health is an important factor for success.

Employees are expected to take responsibility for their own health, but SEB offers help and support. In 2013, the Wellness Check was launched – two kinds of health and fitness tests for employees focusing on lifestyle, stress prevention and physical activity. By the end of the year more than 70 per cent of the employees in Sweden had completed the tests.

Sick-leave rates

Sick-leave rates, both short-term and long-term, remain low in SEB Sweden (see CS Fact Book), in spite of a general increase in society. The total sick-leave rate in Sweden is 2.44 per cent, which is low compared to other industries, and lowest among banks.

Work environment

SEB's systematic work environment activity in Sweden, as agreed with the unions, was also improved in 2013. The annual review is an important part of the statutory and systematic work-environment-management that helps create and maintain a healthy working environment. In 2013, the yearly work environment training programme led to an increase in the share of documented annual work environment reviews, from 73 per cent in 2012 to 90 per cent in 2013.

Investing in communities

What is the issue?

As a bank, we are an integrated part of society, and we know that what we do has an impact. Therefore, we want to contribute to building a society we all want to, and can, be part of. In addition to the role that our business plays, we support local communities. We share both time and money and work with carefully chosen partners and people. 

What do we do?

At SEB, we engage for future generations. We support the development of local communities, in partnership with organisations and institutions in our home markets. SEB partners with best in class organisations and charities and remain involved in the decisions about how our finances are spent. We focus on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Children and Youth and Education and Knowhow. For us, it is important to be involved in the decisions about how the money is spent and we always seek to use our resources so that we make the most of our investments.

SEB is not allied to any political parties. We do not provide financial support to any political parties, nor do we make any other type of political donation.

Entrepreneurship

SEB has a long tradition of supporting entrepreneurs and small companies. We do this through our core business in collaboration with well-established organisations that support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.
In Sweden, we meet thousands of students through our cooperation with Ung Företagsamhet (Young enterprising). We meet with start-up companies through Venture Cup, Connect, IFS (International Entrepreneur Association) and Nyföretagarcentrum as well as with the most experienced ones through Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2013, SEB in Sweden arranged or participated at more than 45 activities and met with approximately 10,000 people around this theme.
Also in Finland, SEB supports young entrepreneurs through Junior Achievements.

SEB has a wide range of activities towards entrepreneurs also in all three Baltic countries. Some of the examples include the Estonian project, "Brain Hunt" that aims to find innovative and environmentally friendly innovations. In Lithuania, SEB partners with the magazine "BznStart" in the project "240 Minutes of Charge" for existing and future businesses ready for challenges. Examples in Latvia include the "Contest of ideas", the TV broadcast for start-ups "Company's secret" and the award for developing companies "Gazelle", in cooperation with Daily business.

Children and youth

SEB has a broad engagement towards youth and children, both at national levels and in the local communities. Our support for the organisation Mentor started in 1997 and is today active in Sweden as well as in the Baltic countries. The range of activities has widened and during 2013, around 1,900 employees were engaged in various activities. Among the examples, employees engaged as a personal mentor for young people, inspired students about the own profession, teached about personal finances and how to apply for the first job. We engage in local communities, such as around our offices in Rissne, outside Stockholm. SEB is here one of the biggest employers and many of our employees are engaged and serve as role models.
In all the Baltic countries SEB contributes to children and youth in need of extra support.

In Latvia, we partner with SOS Children Villages and The Livslust Foundation where SEB provides financial support and is involved with employees as volunteers. In Lithuania, SEB organises with TV3 the Dreams come true campaign to raise money for orphans and sick children. In Estonia SEB Charity Fund is Estonia's largest charity foundation. Through SEB's support, children without present parents are offered shelter.

In Germany, we engage through the SEB Foundation where employees can apply for funding for local, social initiatives.

Education and know-how

We actively contribute to spreading knowledge. We support research and education through a number of programmes with universities, both by contributing to professorships and research projects and by well-established partnerships for students at universities in Sweden and around the Nordics.

One example is our long cooperation with Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and our support, since 2012, for SSE Riga Sustainable Business Centre. Thanks to the financial support from SEB and two other Nordic banks, 720 scholarships are granted to students from the Baltic States over five years, reducing their annual SSE Riga tuition fees from EUR 6,000 to EUR 3,500. SEB also grants scholarships for best achievement for students in Latvia in cooperation with several universities and institutions.

Access to financial services

 What is the issue?

People need equal access to finance and banking services. We therefore work to improve access to our services and to improve financial literacy in society. Our goal is to serve as broad a range of customers as possible, serving their different financial needs whenever and wherever they desire. We should make our financial services accessible to all, regardless of economic standing, ethnic origin, disability or other factors. This includes also tools and technologies that facilitate access to banking services.

Why is it important to SEB?

Access to finance is crucial to economic growth and stability in society. It is important that we use our products and services as well as our international network and our core competencies to provide high quality and easily accessible financial services. This strengthens the society and creates a competitive advantage for SEB.

What do we do?

Most of the activities take place in our home markets where we have retail customers. In Sweden, our experts produce several reports every year within areas like macro, investment and house-hold economy. As an example, more than 140 reports were published within various areas during 2013. Our experts are also involved in activities where they meet and interact with the general public, for examples in chats on public web sites and via Twitter.

Our household-economists participate in chats regarding private economy and welfare. Our macro-economic expert Chief Economist Robert Bergqvist is one of the most quoted persons in Swedish media.

In the Baltic countries, SEB also works actively with spreading knowledge. The experts and economists publish reports, such as Baltic Household Outlook, Lithuanian Macroeconomic Review and the quarterly Household Savings Barometer. In Lithuania, the Financial Markets Institute was established together with other financial market players. Several knowledge-sharing initiatives aim to reaching out to young, elderly people, disabled, non-native etc .

Availability

To complement our branch offices and customer visits, SEB's telephone banks are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This service is available for both private customers and business customers. In Sweden, personal customer service is available in more than 20 languages.

Our expanded social media presence provides additional contacts with customers. We currently offer customer service via Facebook and Twitter in Sweden, Estonia and Latvia and via Facebook in Lithuania where it also is possible to access contact centre via Skype free on charge – much appreciated by clients calling from abroad. Self-service network zones have also been expanded.

We continuously develop our tools in order to facilitate for customers. One example is the new interface of the Swedish Internet bank where we involved users and accessibility experts in the development in order to create better accessibility for all individuals with their different needs and abilities. Another example is in Latvia, where SEB has cooperated with NGO's for disabled people with an aim to improve access to branches and ATM's.

Reducing our footprint

What is the issue?

Many scientists believe that global warming is one of the most serious threats both to humanity and our planet. More and more research emerges that argues that the speed of climate change is increasing and substantial preventive actions is needed.

Why is it important to SEB?

Although the environmental impact of our sector and SEB individually is minimal when compared to many other high impact industries, we have the obligation and opportunity to do what we can to limit our footprint. Another important task is to channel funding and investments to critical areas in need capital to enact changes to reduce our society's environmental impact.

What we want to achieve

The focus of our environmental effort is to limit our impact on the climate. Our target is to achieve a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2015, using 2008 as a baseline. We apply the following approach:

  • Measure and report our carbon footprint
  • Avoid carbon intensive activities whenever possible
  • Reduce our energy consumption and business travel
  • Replace fossil fuel derived energy with renewable sources

What do we do?

We account for our Co2 emissions related to the operations over which we have control, such as energy and electricity use in our own buildings, paper consumption and business travel. We include the emissions from eleven countries, accounting for more than 94 per cent of our income and 96 per cent of our employees.

We monitor our direct environmental footprint on a quarterly basis and report on the information requested by investors, customers and employees in our CS report and also in specific reports, e.g. the Carbon Disclosure project (CDP). A specific Carbon Chasing Committee steers and monitors the work to reduce SEB's emissions and we draw on guidance from the Greenhouse Gas protocol for our carbon reporting.

Carbon emissions

During 2013, SEB's CO2 emissions amounted to 28,600 tonnes, virtually unchanged during the year, and a total reduction of 36 per cent compared to our 2008 baseline. The reduction has mainly been achieved by energy efficiency initiatives, decreased paper use and decreased emissions from company cars. Our long term target to reduce our CO2 emissions by 45 per cent by 2015 remains.

Energy use in offices and branches

Energy use in our offices and branches had in December 2013 decreased by 15 per cent since 2008. Our electricity consumption has decreased 26 per cent during the same period. One reason for the decrease is the move to new energy efficient buildings in Denmark and Germany but also our continuous effort to improve energy efficiencyin our present buildings. This, combined with the switch torenewable energy sources, has reduced our carbon emissions fromenergy consumption by almost 60 per cent compared to 2008,corresponding to about 13,800 tonnes CO2.

Paper consumption

We are constantly working to reduce our paper consumption. As an example, the CO2 emissions in the Baltics were reduced by almost 10 tonnes through reducing physical mailing by 12.5 million letters. Paper consumption was reduced by 3 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. Since 2008, it is reduced by 60 per cent.

How we work

Clear and effective structures for responsibility distribution ensure that SEB's sustainability efforts address relevant issues and that they are implemented across the entire company. Strong ethics, effective governance and adequate reporting underpin our sustainability work.

 

Clear and effective structures for responsibility distribution ensure that SEB's sustainability efforts address relevant issues and that they are implemented across the entire company. Strong ethics, effective governance and adequate reporting underpin our sustainability work.

Sustainability Governance

Board of directors

Is responsible for safeguarding the delivery of our Corporate Sustainability (CS) Strategy. As applicable, matters are dealt with by the board or by any of its established committees: the Risk and Capital Committee; the Remuneration and Human Resource Committee; and the Audit and Compliance Committee.

Group Executive Committee (GEC)

Decides upon the Group targets and SEB's approach to Corporate Sustainability. Approves the CS Policy. Head of Group Communication holds the CS responsibility in the GEC.

The Corporate Sustainability Committee

A sub-committee of the GEC, and an operational steering group responsible for co-ordination, anchoring and implementation of the corporate sustainability strategy and action plan. The committee is chaired by the Head of Group Communication and is responsible for advising the GEC. It has representation from all divisions and key functions.

Group Corporate Sustainability

Is part of Group Communications. Coordinates and drives the overall sustainability agenda within SEB. Is responsible for the implementation of the CS Policy as well as for reporting on its annual progress. The function works closely with business divisions and group functions including Group Human Resources, Group Compliance, Group Procurement, Group IT, and Group Real Estate & Premises. Coordinators are available on country level in Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Supply Chain Management

Creating a sustainable business

SEB has a strong ambition to contribute to sustainable growth and to make a difference to customers, staff and the society at large. For us, it's of vital importance that we have close relationships and interact with all our stakeholders, also our suppliers.

We are convinced that having suppliers with high performance as regards environmental, social and ethical aspects creates greater values for us as well as for our suppliers. Sustainable business is about being here for the long run.

In our Supplier Code of Conduct we express the importance of having a sustainable supply chain and what we expect from our suppliers. The Supplier Code of Conduct, which is based on SEB's group-wide Code of Business Conduct, is fundamental to our sourcing process and is essential for our assessment of suppliers.

SEB is using EcoVadis sustainability monitoring platform for managing assessment and rating of our suppliers. The EcoVadis platform combines sustainability assessment expertise and data management tools which will allow for our suppliers to demonstrate their sustainability best practices. The target is to increase the average sustainability rating in the supplier community that delivers products and services to SEB.

The result from the monitoring will be used by SEB as an important input in the supplier selection, but also for measuring and developing current suppliers' sustainability performance. For current suppliers, SEB will identify the suppliers scoring the best results and promote the use of these suppliers. Top rated suppliers will be published on SEB's web page for Supply Chain Management. For suppliers that receive low rating, SEB will support the supplier in driving a positive development of the scoring, with the ambition to improve the rating year to year.

Process

The use of EcoVadis sustainability monitoring platform will be part of SEB's sourcing assessment. When SEB sourcing new services and products, suppliers with a yearly spend above SEK 500,000 will be assessed and rated on sustainability performance. Targeted groups of current suppliers to SEB, will also be assessed and rated. In total the supplier assessment will correspond to 80 per cent of SEB's yearly spend.

Suppliers will get an invitation from SEB to fill in the evaluation form on the monitoring platform. Suppliers with no EcoVadis rating, or low scoring suppliers, showing unwillingness of improvement, will in due time be excluded from SEBs sourcing activities.

Code of Business Conduct

SEB's Code of Business Conduct describes and lays out SEB's values and standards of business conduct and provides guidance on how to live by the values. Clear policies and guidelines for sustainability, such as the Corporate Sustainability Policy and various group-wide position statements and industry sector policies addressing environmental, social and governance issues are also of vital importance in this context.
Read our Code of Business Conduct

Whistleblowing at SEB

SEB has a whistleblowing process for reporting irregularities. If an employee or other person should discover possible unethical or unlawful behaviour, you should report your observations.Your identity will be kept secret during the subsequent follow-up, enquiries and discussions relating to the matter, provided that we are not obliged by law to disclose it.

Who to contact

Head of Group Compliance, Gent Jansson, tel +4687639148 or +46707734103
Head of Group Internal Audit, Björn Rosenkvist, tel +4687636101 or +46702186101
You can also raise your issue directly by e-mail to whistleblowing@seb.se

Policies

Our business is governed by a set of policies and instructions. Within the Corporate Sustainability area, we abide by the Corporate Sustainability Policy, the Environmental Policy and the Social Policy among others.

Sector policies and positions statements

SEB's sector polices and position statements provide guidelines on best practice as well as on the international conventions and standards that we encourage companies to follow. We aim to work with our clients and portfolio companies towards improved business practices.

Position statements

Climate change

Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. SEB fully appreciates the risks of climate change and is addressing the risks in our corporate sustainability efforts. SEB has taken several steps to mitigate our direct climate impact.

Freshwater

Freshwater is a scarce commodity, but one that is essential for sustaining life. SEB are aware that the increasing global water stress threat destabilised regions and increases our clients' financial risk.

Child labour

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the most widely accepted human rights treaty, still child labour is a problem of immense global proportions. SEB fully appreciates the severity of child labour and reducing it is of high priority.

Sector policies

Renewable energy

Energy plays an essential role in the global economy and drives economic growth. As the world is seeking new solutions to mitigate climate change and best utilise scarce resources, the renewable energy sector is becoming a growing component of the energy landscape. SEB seek to facilitate this development based on sustainable principles and governance.

Arms and defence

SEB understands the concerns of many people regarding the role of banks in supporting the defence industry. SEB acknowledges the right of every nation to defend itself, as stated in the United Nations Charter.

Shipping

The shipping industry, through the transportation of raw materials, semi-finished goods and finished goods from producing countries for further processing and to end-user markets, is a major facilitator of global trade and is thereby a fundamental industry for society.

Mining and metals

The mining and metals industry is fundamental for society. The industry in itself underpins economic growth. Mining activities can potentially have a negative impact on the environment and society.

Fossil fuel

The fossil fuel sector is responsible for the provision of power and fuel across the globe, playing an essential role in the world economy. However, fossil fuel activities contribute to climate change.

Forestry

The forestry industry plays a pivotal role in the economy at large, globally as well as regionally. SEB promotes a sustainable forestry industry, works to prevent adverse environmental and social impact and supports good governance among it's clients.

Initiatives guiding our work

SEB has adopted a number of global initiatives and international codes of conduct which guide our business decisions and the overall sustainability work. This also gives us an opportunity to learn, share knowledge and impact international policy development.

We support the following international codes and agreements:

Principles for Responsible Investment

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are a voluntary set of principles developed by the world's largest institutional investors in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the UN Global Compact. The six principles provide a framework to incorporate environmental, social and governance issues into mainstream investment decision making and ownership practices. Signed: 2008

Carbon Disclosure Project

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is the world's largest survey of large corporations' ambitions on climate change and environmental protection. Thousands of organisations in some 60 countries around the world measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies through CDP. CDP acts on behalf of more than 700 institutional investors and some 50 purchasing organisations of large global corporations. Adopted: 2008

 

The Equator Principles

The Equator Principles (EP) are a voluntary set of standards for determining, assessing and managing social and environmental risk in project financing. They were developed by private sector banks based on the International Finance Corporation's environmental and social standards. We have internal policies and processes that are consistent with the Equator Principles and report our EP transactions publicly. Adopted: 2007

 

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the financial sector. UNEP FI works with financial institutions that are signatories to the UNEP FI Statements and other organisations to develop and promote linkages between the environment, sustainability and financial performance. Signed: 1995

 

The UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we are required to communicate our progress on a yearly basis. Adopted: 2004

 

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations by governments to multinational enterprises providing voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct. The guidelines cover areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, competition, taxation, and science and technology. Adopted: 2000

 

ICC Business Charter on Sustainable Development

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is a global business organisation championing the global economy as a force for economic growth, job creation and prosperity. Adopted: 1995

 

Sustainability contacts

Sponsoring and charity
Liudas Rimkus – +370 5 268 1284

 

Contact

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