Looking back at a green year for Nordea’s sustainability

Anders Langworth
Anders Langworth, head of Sustainable Finance.
20-01-17 9:05 | About Nordea | Sustainability

During last year we launched Green mortgages, Green Car Loans and Green Leasing, eight new sustainable funds and shifted almost 30 billion Swedish kronor into investments with a lower carbon footprint and strict sustainability criteria. We co-developed and signed UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking. Although we still have much to do going forward, we would like to take a moment and summarize some of the progress.

Being one of the largest banks in the Nordics, we see that we really can drive change for the industry and in society. During last year we launched Green Car Loans, Green Leasing and Green mortgages. We also launched eight new sustainable funds increasing our total sustainable fund offer by 35% during 2019.

Starting 2019, all Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian customers who receive investment advice are asked whether sustainability is an important factor when saving and investing. If they say it is, we can offer the customer a completely sustainable fund set-up.

In June, Nordea's Swedish pension company finalized the shift of almost 30 billion Swedish kronor into investments with a lower carbon footprint and strict sustainability criteria. This means that about 400,000 customers now have a more sustainable saving for their pension.

Nordea plays an active role in sustainable change for the whole industry

  • UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB): In 2018, as the only Nordic bank, Nordea joined hands with 29 other banks across the world to create these principles. The principles were signed by 130 banks during the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2019. The principles make up a milestone for the entire industry in committing to a more responsible and sustainable way of conducting business.
  • Collective Commitment to Climate Action (CCCA): We also joined 30 other banks in the creation of CCCA, which sets out concrete and time-bound actions that banks will take to scale up their contribution and align their lending with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate.
  • Net-Zero Alliance: Nordea Life & Pension is a founding member of the Net-Zero Alliance; a UN-convened initiative for developing models and frameworks to use as industry standards. An important part of the alliance is that each asset owner has made a public commitment to achieve net-zero investment portfolios by 2050, at latest.
  • Investor statement on deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon: It is with deep concern that we follow the escalating crisis of deforestation and forest fires in Brazil and Bolivia. As investors, we recognise the crucial role that tropical forests play in tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity. Because of this we have signed this statement led by UNPRI.
  • Poseidon Principles: Global trading contributes to shipping sectors growing rapidly, with a substantial impact on the environment. So in 2019, Nordea became a signatory of the Poseidon Principles; a framework for assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of ship finance portfolios.

Not just talk – we live the principles

Sustainability is an ongoing journey. Every day, we strive to become more and more sustainable than we were yesterday, and we are happy to see that our efforts are being recognized.

Updated policies

We launched new sector guidelines for shipping-, gambling- and fossil fuel industries during 2019. The sector guidelines are sets of principles that supplement Nordea’s Code of Conduct, which is based on the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. Nordea is committed to reviewing, engaging and maintaining a dialogue with stakeholders to ensure that customers and portfolio companies adhere to these sector guidelines.

Examples of stricter enforcement in our new guidelines:

  • Nordea expects customers and investee companies to acknowledge the IPCC (UN body for assessing the science related to climate change) consensus on the influence of human activities on inducing climate change and to commit to fulfilling the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Companies in the fossil fuel industry should invest in and work towards the necessary energy transition.
  • Nordea will not start any new banking relationships with companies that are pre-dominantly dependent on thermal coal, including coal-fired energy production and/or mining companies.
  • Existing customers are expected to have an exit strategy from production of thermal coal.
  • Nordea expects gambling companies to have programs in place for detecting gambling addiction and providing players with tools for limiting their gambling and self-exclusion.

Also, in addition to our new sector guidelines, Nordea has updated its position statement on climate change and Nordea Asset Management has updated the responsible investment policy with e.g. stricter targets on coal, palmoil and oil sand.

Read more about our policies.

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