When we announced our new strategic objectives in March, we declared unequivocally that we are still committed to our roots and underscored our intention to be a responsible corporate citizen.
We therefore welcome the increasing importance of non-financial reporting. Our clients, particularly the institutions, are increasingly basing their investment decisions not only on financial criteria, but also on how these and other projects they support might impact the environment, people’s lives, and society. We welcome this development, and we want to support our clients actively. One way of doing so is to provide you with this report, which summarizes how we address societal issues. It covers the issues that the financial industry, in particular, commonly refers to as environmental, social, and governance, or ESG issues. Promoting these issues is also enshrined in the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact to which Deutsche Bank is committed.
In 2017, we expanded the structures in our bank to give ESG issues a higher priority. We also created a Sustainability Council whose members are senior managers representing every business division and infrastructure function across the bank. The council’s task is to advise the Management Board on ESG issues, develop preparatory materials for decision-making and coordinate our ESG activities across our bank’s divisions.
We have already made considerable progress. Our asset management business, which will operate under the DWS name in the future, hosted its first ESG summit in Berlin. Some 300 participants discussed how to make the most of the opportunities presented by responsible investments. I think this discussion represents long-overdue and significant progress—20 years after the Microcredit Development Fund, our first sustainable investment fund, was set up.
We want the issue to reach a broader audience, especially as our wealth management clients care more and more about ESG issues. Our Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Officer has published a special report on sustainable investing: “Act today to ensure our future—understanding ESG.” Our Corporate & Investment Bank is underpinning this commitment: It has decided to continue its cooperation with Arabesque, a sustainable investing specialist, in order to satisfy the rising demand for socially responsible investments.
Our commitment should not be judged only by cooperative ventures, publications and events, but also by actual figures: In 2017, we arranged projects with total financing of about € 2.2 billion to promote renewable energies that generate more than 3,800 megawatts of capacity. This means Deutsche Bank remains one of Europe’s largest financers of privatesector projects to promote renewable energy.
At the same time, we are complying with our voluntary commitment on coal production financing. In 2016, we announced our intention to reduce the financing volume by 20% by 2020. We reached this target in 2017 and will continue to scrutinize our activities in this sector. Both the Management Board and the Sustainability Council will regularly review how the bank can help shape the transition to a low-emission economy.
Demands for our corporate clients to consider sustainability aspects increased further in 2017. We expressly welcome this development. It makes the dialogue with our clients easier, as do the extensive discussions on sustainable finance initiated by various authorities and governments. It is important to us that we actively participate in these processes, for example in consultations on the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, formed by the European Commission, and of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). We are following these developments very closely and are absolutely determined to play a prominent, active role in shaping them. This was also one of the reasons why we signed the “Frankfurt Declaration.”
For the first time in 2017, Deutsche Bank published a statement in compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act, whose purpose is to ensure that financial service providers do not engage in business activities that support human trafficking or slavery and that they report suspicious transactions.
We are convinced that with our commitment to sustainability as a bank and asset manager, we can be a force for good. That is why it is also a part of our #PositiveImpact brand campaign, which we kicked off with an internal launch in 2017. In the meantime, well over 10,000 employees have described in their own words the positive impact they are making for society, our clients, and their colleagues and have uploaded these stories onto an intranet microsite. Their fascinating stories motivate both us on the Management Board and our employees across the entire bank and show us all why it is worth giving your best every day.
Our colleagues around the globe not only do excellent work for our bank, but also for the communities in which they live. Last year, 22% of Deutsche Bank’s employees volunteered for social projects outside the bank. I would also like to draw special attention to our support for refugees in Germany. Our initiative to engage 1,000 employees as integration coaches has already attracted more than 600 colleagues who are helping refugees to find their feet and become integrated into German society.
We on the Management Board also want the bank to be a place where staff not only act responsibly, but also have the freedom to realize their potential. I therefore consider it extremely important that we do not let up in our commitment to diversity and inclusion, which includes gender equality and equal treatment of staff with disabilities. Furthermore, we strongly support that no person should be disadvantaged on account of their sexual orientation. In this regard, we are delighted to report a special award: Human Rights Campaign has named us one of the world’s best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people for the 15th time in a row. We are delighted that our dbPride initiative has been a standard-bearer for the cause over many years.
These are all encouraging signs. And we plan to build on them. If you would like to learn more about how we practice corporate sustainability and responsibility, I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this report.
Chairman of the Management Board
of Deutsche Bank