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


Responsible lending and risk management

SEB takes great care to know its customers well and views responsible financing and credit granting as a cornerstone of its business, creating sustainable customer and shareholder value. SEB includes risks and opportunities related to environmental, social and governance aspects in the credit review.

In the customer dialogues, the bank engages on the same aspects on a regular basis. These aspects include human rights, labour rights and social relations, anti-corruption and environment. The aim is to understand the customers’ challenges and opportunities so that SEB can make the appropriate credit considerations and be a better business partner.

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 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 since 2011. Read more about the policies here.

Shifting away from coal

SEB  gradually shifts away from coal and do not enter into new business relations with companies with major business in coal mining, nor provide finance for new coal power plants. The latter will only be considered for new coal power plants using special technologies, which substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We can support legacy clients in making beneficial improvements in their transformation away from coal.

Green bonds

The green bond concept was developed in 2007/2008 by SEB and the World Bank as a response to increased investor demand for engagement in climate-related opportunities. Companies and organisations seek funding for specific environmental investments, and ­investors integrate sustainability into their daily portfolio allocation. 

In 2017, green bonds were issued globally to a value of USD 156 billion (97). SEB was the third largest player in the world in helping companies and organisations issue green bonds. Market share was 3.5 percent, equivalent to $ 4 billion. Since its inception, SEB has been involved in the issuance of 6.4 per cent of all green bonds globally, to a value of USD 17.7 billion. Read more about Green Bonds.

Green loans

Green loans are made for the purpose of financing and/or refinancing projects within the European Union and the Nordic region that promote the transition to a low carbon and/or climate resilient development, as well as environmental and eco­system improvements. In 2016, SEB established a Green Bond Framework that clarifies various processes for defining, selecting, verifying, monitoring and reporting on a Green Asset and Liability Management (ALM). Together with the bank's Environmental Policy and sector policies, they provide a robust basis for ensuring that SEB's green bond promotes carbon-efficient and climate-change-proof investments. At the end of 2017, SEB had SEK 13.2bn in the dedicated green loan portfolio.

SEB's first own green bond

In 2017, SEB issued its first own green bond of EUR 500 million. The capital is earmarked for loans for green initiatives and solutions and is offered to large companies and financial institutions, municipalities, county councils and housing associations. Major categories in SEB’s green bond is renewable energy, sustainable forestry, green buildings and clean transportation. In 2017, the reduction of CO2 emissions through the green bond was close to 220,200 tonnes. SEB has published a report, SEB Green Bond Investor Report 2017, presenting the environmental impact achieved by the use of proceeds from the bond.

Equator Principles

The Equator Principles (EP), adopted by SEB in 2007, are 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. SEB takes part in the EP annual meeting and in workshops intended to streamline the implementation of the EP as well as further develop the understanding of the principles among international financial institutions, development agencies and private banks.