29-03-2023 14:00

”On a good path”

At Nordea, we’ve committed to becoming a bank with net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. To maintain the momentum in this transition, we have set targets for 2023 and 2025, and a mid-term objective for 2030. Now, with less than a year until the end of 2023, we’ve invited head of Group Sustainability Anja Lidgren Hannerz to a talk about Nordea’s progress.
Head of Group Sustainability Anja Lidgren Hannerz

Let’s start with some highlights. Are there areas where we can already report positive progress?

“Yes, we’re seeing good progress towards targets thanks to great collaboration across the bank. Our mid-term objective is to reduce emissions across investment and lending portfolios by 40-50%, and our financed emissions in the lending book are down 19% from 2019, so we’re on a good path. A key driver for this has been our large corporates, where emissions are down by 36%. There are many contributing factors, including our reduction in financing of oil, gas and offshore companies by more than 70% since 2019.

What are financed emissions?

Financed emissions are the indirect greenhouse gas emissions generated by our lending and investment activities. Collecting and quantifying financed emissions is a way to integrate sustainability into the core business.

Let’s then zoom in on our customers and how we collaborate with them. We have said that 90% of our exposure to large corporate customers in climate-vulnerable sectors is covered by transition plans by the end of 2025. Where are we on that?

"By engaging and working with our customers on their transition plans we believe that we can make a positive contribution in society. As of now, well over half of our large corporates in those sectors have set a timebound target for reducing emissions from their operations, which is good progress, but there is still more work to be done and customers are at different levels of maturity.

We also set a target to facilitate more than EUR 200bn in sustainable financing by the end of 2025. How are we progressing on that?

“During 2022 we took part in facilitating 58 billion euros of sustainable financing, placing us on track to reach our target and we’re constantly engaging with our customers to understand their challenges and provide them with the right financing solution. We offer solid access to green and sustainability-linked loans as well as green, social and sustainability-linked bonds. Lately we have also introduced an offering for small and medium-sized businesses together with the European Investment Fund.”

By engaging and working with our customers on their transition plans we believe that we can make a positive contribution in society.

What about our private customers, do they still have an appetite for our sustainability-focused products? 

“We want one third of our savings gross inflow to be in our Sustainable Choice product range, and by the end of last year we were at 22%, so we’re not too far from our target. During the year we supported more than 2,800 green mortgage borrowers with 768 million euros, and we’re also offering discounted lending for energy renovations in Denmark, Finland and Sweden so our customers can reduce their electricity and heating costs. With the current energy crisis, such offerings are highly relevant and we will continue to support our customers in energy optimising their homes to reduce their emissions and costs.”

Focusing on asset and wealth management, how are we progressing there?

“In this area, we also have positive development. Let’s take Nordea Life & Pension with their target to reduce the carbon footprint from their listed equity, corporate bond and real estate portfolios by at least 25% by the end of 2024 compared to 2019. They are progressing very well. By the end of 2022 the reduction was 28%, which is better than the target.”

“Another positive example comes from Nordea Asset Management and the companies we invest in via them. By 2025 we want 80% of the top 200 high emission companies to be either aligned with the Paris Agreement or subject to active engagement to become aligned. As of now, 75% are in that category.” 

When we started out with our targets, the focus was mainly on our climate impact; lately more focus has been put also on our social impact as a company. How will we work with these aspects going forward?

“We have targets on social responsibility related to gender balance and equal treatment and during 2023 we will broaden the scope. For instance, we will be working even more on developing our human rights assessments as part of the corporate customer due diligence. We will also continue to push for social responsibility in the companies we have invested in and via the many responsible banking initiatives we’re part of. But we will still have a firm focus on climate and environment to ultimately become a net-zero emissions bank, which is our long-term objective.” 

  • Financed emissions from lending portfolio down 19% compared to 2019
  • Facilitated EUR 58bn in sustainable financing
  • ESG-focused share of AuM up to 70%
  • Ranked best in the Nordics in active ownership within ESG
  • Continuously improving green offering to better suit the needs of our customers
  • Supporting international activities such as the Principles for Responsible Banking and the UN Global Compact

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