Sustainable financing

We are convinced that we can influence the development towards a more sustainable economy by improving our own work and by collaborating with our customers and support them in their transformation as they develop. New thinking, innovations and financial assistance are needed, as well as responsible credit granting.

Responsible lending and risk management

Responsible financing and lending are cornerstones of SEB’s business, creating long-term sustainable value for customers and shareholders. SEB is committed to supporting its customers in their work on transitioning to sustainable solutions.

Knowing our customers

We take great care to know our customers well and view responsible financing and credit granting as a cornerstone of our business, creating sustainable customer and shareholder value. In the customer dialogues, we engage on sustainability aspects on a regular basis. The aim is to understand the customers’ challenges and opportunities so that we can make the appropriate credit considerations and be a better business partner. 

Integrating risks and opportunities

We integrate risks and opportunities related to environmental, social and governance aspects into customer dialogues, policies and processes. According to SEB’s Credit Policy on Corporate Sustainability, sustainability risks shall be considered in all credit decisions, with focus on the repayment capacity of the customer, the underlying value of collateral, as well as potential reputational consequences for SEB. 

Climate change strategy

SEB believes that climate change is one of the most serious global challenges the world is facing. We support our customers in their transformation towards sustainable solutions. Our climate change strategy

Green bond thought leader

As one of the innovators behind green bonds, SEB has an ambition to drive the green financing market.  Over the years, we have gradually developed our role as a global thought leader and has proactively contributed to setting the standard for this financing vehicle. In 2019, SEB was the 7th largest underwriter and SEB’s global share of underwriting was 3.8 per cent, corresponding to a volume of USD 7bn. 

SEB was appointed to act as adviser to the Swedish National Debt Office when issuing their first green bond in 2020. The main criteria that underpinned the selection of adviser were expertise and experience in green bond issuance, as well as good knowledge of Sweden’s environmental and climate policy and government funding. 

Blue and red bond

In 2019, we arranged a blue bond for the first time, issued by the Nordic Investment Bank, where the capital, SEK 2bn, is ear-marked for projects aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the sensitive aquatic environment in the Baltic Sea. 

We also acted as joint lead manager together with Toronto Dominion Bank in the issuance of a NOK 600m so called red bond. The funding will support research and development and make the vaccines available at affordable prices. The bond was issued by The International Finance Facility for Immunisation, an organisation whose mission is to increase the availability of funding to support the work of the Global Vaccination Alliance.

SEB's own green bond

In 2019 SEB’s green loan portfolio increased by SEK 3bn to SEK 19bn. The proceeds are used to finance SEB’s green loan portfolio, which consists of assets and projects that contribute to lower carbon emissions and support the UN’s SDGs. 

Close to half of the green loan portfolio, 47 percent, finances renewable energy projects, while green buildings and clean transport account for 30 and 14 percent, respectively. The quantitative environmental impact of the green bond was in last year 229,925 CO2e reductions (tonnes). SEB’s first own green bond in the amount of EUR 500m was issued in 2017. 
Read the SEB Green Bond Investor Reports 2019

Green mortgages

SEB was the first bank in Sweden to launch green mortgages, which offer a lower interest rate for people who live in climate-smart houses. The loans are available to anyone with housing that fulfils specific requirements, for example the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning’s energy classification criteria, homes with the Nordic Swan ecolabel, Sweden Green Building Council certification, and passive house certification. During the year the volume of green mortgages increased to SEK 1.5bn.

Green construction loans

SEB now offers the possibility to apply for green construction loans when financing residential and commercial properties of any size. Previously, we have offered this funding for major build- ing projects. SEB uses green funding to finance the properties that are classified as green.

Equator principles

SEB adheres to the Equator Principles (EP),  a voluntary set of guidelines used by financial institutions to assess the social and environmental impacts of large projects and to support their customers in managing them. In 2019, an updated version of the Equator Principles, EP4, was adopted by the Equator Principles Association. SEB has been part of the climate change working group.

In 2019, SEB had three project finance transactions under the Equator Principles, all in category B (projects with potential limited adverse environmental and social risks). SEB had no projects in category A (projects with potential significant adverse environmental and social risks).

Position statements and sector policies

SEB has taken a position on three specific sustainability issues – climate change, child labour and access to fresh water – and established policies for six industry sectors – arms and defence, forestry, fossil fuels, mining and metals, renewable energy and shipping. 

The purpose of these statements and policies is to establish a common framework for a pro-active and future-oriented dialogue on key issues with our clients, as well as for internal guidance. The policies are reviewed regularly.
Read more about the policies