Responsible action – essential to long-term value creation

Long-term business relationships, low risk-taking and cost-awareness are the foundation of Handelsbanken’s business culture. Through its business operations, that is, products and services, the Bank wants to play a role in and contribute to the transition to sustainable development.

Based on dialogue with our stakeholders, Handelsbanken has chosen to work primarily with six of the Sustainable Development Goals because they were deemed most relevant for the operations. These six are Gender equality, Decent work and economic growth, Industry, innovation and infrastructure, Sustainable cities and communities, Climate action, and Peace, justice and strong institutions.

Handelsbanken has a strong presence in the local community, with nationwide branch networks in its six home markets. The Bank believes in a decentralised business model where the local branch is the hub of the customer relationship, based on personal meetings combined with digital services and solutions. The Bank also aims to contribute to society in the countries where it operates, by employing people and by paying taxes and government fees, for example. By being responsive to the expectations of our customers, employees, investors and society as a whole, we are continuously learning and can set priorities for our sustainability work.

Our premise is that a smoothly functioning bank in the local community generates many positive effects, promotes inclusive, long-term sustainable economic growth, and is part of a smoothly functioning and sustainable infrastructure.

Fundamental to our sustainability work is stable finances, and thanks to a strict approach to risk, the Bank has successfully kept credit losses at a low level over time.

Handelsbanken’s lending must be responsible and meet high demands for sound ethical standards. The Bank supports international initiatives and guidelines whose common aim is to encourage and facilitate corporate sustainability.

Lending to companies takes into account the different types of risk that could influence their repayment capacity. These include sustainability risk, such as environmental and climate-related risk, and the company’s stance on human rights. Handelsbanken is also developing new products, such as green loans for financing projects which contribute to greener and more sustainable communities.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to human and economic development, and as an investor Handelsbanken aims to contribute to more sustainable financial markets. This is why asset managers strive to increase investments in companies that offer solutions to global sustainability challenges.

Handelsbanken also aims to minimise the Bank’s own impact on the environment as much as possible, for example by reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. Handelsbanken’s success depends  on the confidence of its customers and society at large. And that confidence is based on the Bank acting ethically and taking clear responsibility for long-term sustainable development including objectives regarding climate and the environment.

Individual players cannot resolve all the challenges associated with environmental damage and climate change. Instead, international co-operation, shared responsibility and global efforts will be required. Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals give us a clear direction to follow.