In 2009, Handelsbanken signed the UN’s Global Compact, cementing the Bank’s expressed support for universal human rights and corporate social responsibility. Global Compact is an initiative aimed at companies which advocates ten principles based on international conventions. These principles, which were established in 2000, involve human rights, labour laws, the environment and anti-corruption.
The UN initiative PRI (Principles for Responsible Investments) was launched in 2006 as a collaboration between UNEP FI and Global Compact, as well as corporate players. Its aim is to promote responsible ownership among institutional investors and to work for increased openness and awareness of environmental, social and corporate governance issues in the companies in which these players invest. In 2009, Handelsbanken signed the PRI, which encompasses more than 1,450 capital owners, asset managers and research houses around the world.
The UN Environmental Programme has a special organisation that works with how the capital markets can promote the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice. Some 200 financial institutions which support the initiative contribute to research into and knowledge of how sustainability issues can be integrated into financial decisions. Handelsbanken has been a member of UNEP FI since the mid-1990s.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has developed guidelines for sustainable development. The purpose is to provide companies worldwide with a framework and tools to develop their sustainability work. The guidelines are based on national and international sustainability standards. Handelsbanken has complied with the ICC guidelines since the 1990s.
CDP is an independent international nonprofit organisation which works for transparency and a dialogue concerning companies’ carbon dioxide emissions and how they manage their climate impact and pass this knowledge on to investors. Over 5,500 organisations in more than 80 countries all over the world measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions and their climate performance through CDP.
CDP works on behalf of over 800 institutional investors, and starting from 2015, Handelsbanken is one of them.
During 2016, Handelsbanken has adopted the international investor initiative, the Equator Principles. The principles represent a framework for risk assessment, with links to project finance and advisory services in conjunction with project finance. The Equator Principles were formally launched in 2003, but over the years they have been updated in order to better support members in identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risks when financing projects.
The initiative is run by a secretariat of over 80 members representing financial institutions from 36 countries. The members undertake to implement the principles in their internal guidelines, processes and procedures for project finance, and to report annually on projects which have been assessed or financed based on the framework.
In 2009, Handelsbanken, together with the Swedish Bankers’ Association, started cooperating with Ecpat Sweden. During the year, we increased our collaboration with Ecpat. The overall objective is to prevent exploitation of children by preventing and obstructing and making monetary transactions that are linked to commercial sexual exploitation of children more difficult.
Ecpat Sweden is part of Ecpat International which has member organisations in more than 70 countries. Ecpat is working to prevent and stop all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children: child pornography, child sex tourism and trafficking in under-age human beings for sexual purposes.
Financial Coalition Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Handelsbanken has been a member of Financial Coalition Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children since 2009. The Financial Coalition works to obstruct and prevent trade with images of sexual abuse of children, based on the overall crime-prevention goal of stopping child sexual abuse. With the intention of preventing this trade from being conducted through the financial systems, a unique co operation has been developed between public authorities, the private sector and the non-profit sector. The fact that the Financial Coalition’s members impede the opportunity of using the financial systems for this kind of crime, helps to make it more complicated and limit its distribution.
Since the early 1960s, Handelsbanken has on a number of occasions awarded grants for economic research, mainly through allocations to two independent research foundations: the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation and the Tore Browaldh Foundation.
Taken together, these foundations are one of the most important sources of funding for economic research in Sweden, and their financing includes two professorships. In 2015, 169 (152) grants were awarded for a total of SEK 180 million (151). At the end of 2015, the foundations’ combined capital totalled some SEK 6,051 million.
Personal finances for young people
Handelsbanken supports initiatives that improve young people’s knowledge of personal finance by supporting information campaigns and contributing know-how. Ung Privatekonomi (“Young Personal Finances”) is a school information project that teaches Swedish upper secondary school students and teachers about personal finances and savings.
Collaboration with universities and colleges
Handelsbanken has a number of collaborations with universities and colleges, and these are an important part of its long-term employer branding work. Through these collaborations Handelsbanken establishes contact with target groups that are important in terms of recruitment. This is based on co-operation with and commitment from local personnel departments, as well as employees and managers from branches and internal units.
Handelsbanken's student programme
Handelsbanken in Sweden offers students from upper secondary school who plan to study at university the opportunity to participate in the Bank’s student programme alongside their studies. The programme comprises working at the Bank during their studies, their own action plan and relevant studies for development at Handelsbanken. The purpose is to attract and recruit young employees as part of the Bank’s future management succession and to promote gender equality.