In line with our guiding sustainability principles, we set the following goals:
Strengthen ES governance, by
- regularly reviewing and validating our ES risk management approach, including respective policies and processes; and
- continually increasing awareness of ES issues across the bank and how they should be identified and addressed;
As well as within the business lines,
- Support the transition to the low-carbon economy; and
- Build client dialogue and transparency on ES topics.
We continually review and validate our ES risk management processes. Having revised our referral criteria to focus referrals to our sustainability team on transactions with high ES impact, in 2017 we further refined these criteria and conducted employee training.
Our goal is to increase awareness of ES matters across business lines, and gradually enable our business teams to better assess the ES risks so they can identify and refer transactions with an enhanced risk profile to the sustainability team.
In 2017, we continued our training on this, and applications of the ES Policy Framework. This involved around 50 sessions for approximately 900 Corporate Finance employees, with topics such as human rights (incl. the UK Modern Slavery Act), protection of World Heritage Sites, and climate protection.
Together, these measures contributed to a decline in sustainability team referrals (from 727 in 2016 to 595 in 2017).
In 2018, we will continue training and briefings within ‘town hall meetings’ and meetings on ES risks.
As a global financial institution, we recognize our opportunity and responsibility to combat climate change by facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy. Our goal is to ensure we have governance structures in place to support this.
In 2017, we acted on our 2016 commitment that neither the bank, nor our subsidiaries, will grant financing for new greenfield thermal coal mining or new coal-fired power plant construction. Moreover, we have committed to gradually reduce our exposure to the thermal mining sector. We have already exceeded our target (20% reduction by 2020), and we continue to review our portfolio in this area.
During the reporting year, we enhanced our coal policy by clarifying that we will not finance new greenfield coal-related infrastructure. Furthermore, we are revising our due diligence processes for the oil and gas sector. Guidelines for this sector are expected to be finalized in the first half of 2018.
We observe, ES issues becoming more and more important to our clients, so we use our expertise and resources to help them achieve their sustainability objectives. In 2017, we also intensified our client engagement in this area and we plan to develop a policy framework to support this. In doing so, we deepen our relationships and create business opportunities.