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Sustainable financing 

Image of a group of houses near the sea.

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

We believe that the transformation of large corporates, especially in sectors with a material carbon footprint, will be one of the main drivers of the transition to a low-carbon economy. Consequently, we have strong focus on supporting our customers with sustainable products and services, such as green bonds and other sustainability-themed products (read more below).

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.

Our approach to climate change

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 approach to climate change. 

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 eight industry sectors – arms and defence, forestry, fossil fuels, gambling, mining and metals, renewable energy, shipping and tobacco. 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. In February 2021, the policy for fossil fuels was updated. Read more about the policies.

Green bonds

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.

Since inception we are the seventh largest underwriter globally. In 2020, SEB had a leading position in the Nordic market with a share of 20 per cent of global transactions by Nordic banks. In 2020, SEB has underwritten an aggregate volume of USD 4.7bn of green bonds and USD 0.5bn of social and sustainability bonds. This corresponds to SEK 48bn in sustainability-related bonds underwritten by SEB.

SEB acted as adviser and underwriter to the Swedish National Debt Office when establishing a green bond framework and 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.

Green loans

SEB's green loans are issued for the purpose of financing and/or refinancing projects within the EU, the UK and the Nordic region. The loans promote the transition to low-carbon and climate-friendly development, as well as improvements to the environment and ecosystems.

In 2020, the green loan portfolio grew to SEK 25.5bn (18.9), of which SEK 20.8bn are eligible green assets according to SEB’s Green Bond Framework. The proceeds are used to finance projects that contribute to lower carbon emissions and support the UN’s SDGs. More than half of the green loan portfolio, 51 percent, finances renewable energy projects, while green buildings and clean transport account for 31 and 13 percent, respectively. SEB's green bond of EUR 500 million was issued in 2017. In 2020, the bond contributed to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 220,000 CO2e reductions (tonnes).Read the SEB Green Bond Impact Report 2020 (pdf).

Read more about Sustainable financial products for corporates and institutions.

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 2020 the volume of green mortgages increased to SEK 4bn (1.5).

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 2020, we conducted four project finance transactions under the Equator Principles, three in category B (projects with potential limited adverse environmental and social risks) and one in category C (projects with minimal or no social or environmental impacts). As regards project related corporate loans, we were involved in one category A transaction (projects with potential significant adverse environmental and social risks).