We receive many questions about how we work with sustainability. It is our ambition to increase transparency and we have therefore made more information available in this FAQ.
General questions and answers within sustainability
Banks are central for allocating society’s financial resources and SEB has an important role in the financing of the transition to a sustainable society. We will be part of the solution because we believe that a prosperous planet and a sustainable society is healthy and economically advantageous for all stakeholders. Mirroring this conviction, we align our strategy with the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability is a key part of SEB’s business plan. We integrate sustainability in our business activities, including risk management and we are committed to support our customers in their transition and to build a deep understanding of their business in order to enable them to realise their ideas and reach their goals.
Through innovative and sustainable financing, advice and investment products we enable our customers to make the choices that support their transition to a low-carbon society. International commitments, a sustainability policy framework and a clear governance structure ensure integration of sustainability throughout SEB, as well as our ability to serve our customers. Combined with the commitment and knowledge of our employees we harness our abilities.
SEB supports the following international agreements:
• The Paris Agreement
• The UN Sustainable Development Goals
• The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
• The ILO Core Conventions on Labour Standards
• The Children’s Rights and Business Principles
• The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
SEB has joined or publicly endorsed the following principles:
• The UN Global Compact
• UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking
• Net-Zero Banking Alliance
• Net Zero Asset Managers initiative
• Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI)
• The Equator Principles
• Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
• Poseidon Principles
• Responsible Ship Recycling Standards
Climate change is accelerating and has become the greatest and most urgent challenge of our generation. SEB recognises the importance of limiting the average global temperature rise to
well below 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels and to strive towards limiting it to 1.5°C – in line with the Paris Agreement. To achieve this, a transition to a low carbon economy is vital. We are committed to contribute by aligning our strategy to the Paris Agreement.
By joining the Net-Zero Banking Alliance we have committed to align green-house gas emissions from our lending and investment portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner. We are also classifying our credit portfolio by assessing our corporate customers’ climate change ambitions. We engage with our customers in their transition, by promoting them to lower their climate impact and thereby lower our own indirect impact. In addition to helping companies in transition, we focus on supporting new green technology and innovative financial solutions which benefit our societies to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. Read about Our approach to climate change.
SEB’s main contribution to the SDGs is by supporting our customers in their transition. By signing the Principles for Responsible Banking, we have also committed to aligning our business strategy and contributing to the SDGs. We have identified and prioritised five of the goals that are clearly linked to our business strategy and sustainability work, and where we have a great opportunity to make an impact. They are related to the bank’s strong heritage of creating long-term growth and innovation as well as maintaining responsibility and international outlook. No. 5, 8, 9, 13 and 16, are particularly closely linked to our history and business strategy.
Being committed to the Principles for Responsible Banking is an important way for us to contribute to solving the challenges that the world is facing. We recognise that a common framework is needed in order to increase the pace and facilitate working together. We report on how we fulfil the Principles for Responsible Banking in the Annual and Sustainability Report 2021 (p. 228–231) .
In April 2021, SEB joined the UN-initiated Net-Zero Banking Alliance through which we commit to align our attributable emissions from our lending and investment portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
In April 2021, SEB joined the UN-initiated Net-Zero Banking Alliance as one of 43 founding members and signatories. Through this initiative we commit to set Paris-aligned targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to our lending and investment activities by 2030 and 2050.
In October 2022 SEB published net-zero aligned 2030 interim targets for specific sectors in its credit portfolio. The targets cover SEB’s lending commitments to the oil & gas, power generation, steel, car manufacturing, and Swedish household mortgage sectors.
SEB has been part of the sustainability regulatory development in the EU since 2018 when the European Commission tasked the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, TEG, in which SEB was a member. The TEG developed recommendations on among others the EU Taxonomy which sets out a framework for determining environmentally sustainable investments and which is expected to come into force in 2022.
The work on further developing the EU Taxonomy now continues in a the expert group Platform on Sustainable Finance, established in October 2020.
The EU Platform on Sustainable Finance is an expert group with the mandate to advise the EU Commission on development and application of the EU Taxonomy.
SEB is one of two European commercial banks represented in the platform. SEB has actively worked with the Nordic and Baltic banking associations and their members to share the latest public information about progress and gather views regarding the development of the Taxonomy. The members of the platform advise the EU Commission in the following areas, among others:
• Development of a taxonomy for the remaining four environmental objectives (in addition to climate mitigation and adaptation) – biodiversity, water and marine resources, pollution prevention and control and circular economy
• The conceptual framework for an extended taxonomy including the disclosure of activities that are harmful or have low environmental impact
• The conceptual framework for a social taxonomy.
The platform includes some 50 members and SEB is the only Nordic bank to be included.
In relation to the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, our ambition is to have well-informed customers regarding how SEB as a financial institution works to integrate sustainability risk and impact in investment decisions and advice. As an overarching document, SEB has adopted the Policy on the Integration of Sustainability Risk and Impact in Investment Decisions and Investment Advice for SEB Group.
We aim to meet our stakeholders' expectations on transparency and choose to disclose ESG ratings based on the monitoring from major external assessors. In 2021 SEB is included in the following*:
- ISS ESG
- MSCI ESG
- Sustainalytics ESG Risk rating
- Fair Finance Guide
* As the only Nordic bank SEB was part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2016–2018. In 2019 SEB decided not to apply for inclusion in the index.
SEB’s sustainability experts have extensive knowledge in areas such as climate and financing solutions,
sustainable investments and regulatory development in the European Union.