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Sparebanken Sør’s overarching commitment to corporate social responsibility also covers the bank’s financing in the bond market. The Green and Sustainability Bond Framework is designed to encourage investors to favour projects that have a positive impact on the environment and/or improvement of social conditions in line with UN’s sustainable development goals. The framework allows Sparebanken Sør to earmark green and social projects that the bank can use to finance both its senior debt and covered bonds. The projects must qualify as sustainable and aim to reduce the climate footprint, and/or address existing and future social challenges. The framework is based on an industry standard. You can find a more detailed description of the framework for covered bonds here.
Bond financing under the EMTN programme is just one of the bank’s many business activities. The Green Bond and Sustainability Framework is simply a tool designed to ensure we adopt a holistic approach to our overarching policy for corporate social responsibility.
Introduction to Sparebanken Sør Corporate Social Responsibility
In autumn 2015, the UN’s member countries adopted 17 goals for sustainable development in the period leading up to 2030. The sustainability concept embraces the climate, nature and the environment, and social, economic and political considerations. Norway has prepared an overarching strategy to promote green and profitable business, and Finance Norway has drawn up a “Roadmap for green competitiveness in the Norwegian financial sector”. Sparebanken Sør bases its sustainability work on this roadmap. Sparebanken Sør’s corporate social responsibility is based on recognised international guidelines, including the UN GlobalCompact. You can view Sparebanken Sør’s corporate social responsibility policy here.
The banking industry is an important policy driver for the restructuring of the Norwegian economy, and Sparebanken Sør plays an important role in our region. The bank’s overarching strategy for the environment and sustainability applies regardless of market, geographical location or customer group.
The bank wishes to influence commerce and our customer’s investments and savings by offering relevant financial products that contribute – directly or indirectly – to sustainable development.
A significant share of Sparebanken Sør’s loan portfolio is classified as sustainable, and this spring we also launched green home loans. This green approach applies for saving products as well. The portfolio managers of the funds we offer to our customers are members of Norsif (the Norwegian Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investments), and the investments in our own securities portfolio also emphasise sustainability. The bank has environmentally certified buildings, and will further develop this area by making requirements of our suppliers. We have incorporated guidelines on equality in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Pursuing this ambition, we serve a national customer, Norwegian Christian Interest Organisation (KNIF). The partnership with KNIF, includes financing private hospitals and other enterprises in the health sector, schools, nurseries, ecclesiastical enterprises, missionary organisations and organisations for children and youth.
Sparebanken Sør has established guidelines for extending credit, where particular importance is attached to sustainability principles in certain sectors, while there are other sectors where the bank does not wish to establish customer relations for reasons of sustainability. The bank is increasingly focusing on combating both money laundering and terrorist financing, and contributing to anti-corruption work.
Sparebanken Sør reports on its work on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility in the Annual Report. We have set ourselves a goal of becoming climate-neutral, and strive to improve all business areas pursuing continuous reduction of overall carbon emissions. To offset carbon emissions, we buy carbon credits. Our CEMAsys climate certificate 2019 is available on our website.
The report of the banks climate accounts, is presented annually on our website. The report uses robust and accepted methods for GHG emissions reporting in accordance with ISO 14064-3:2006, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (published by World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development). Please visit https://portal.cemasys.com/ for further details.