In 2009, Handelsbanken signed the UN Global Compact, an initiative aimed at companies which advocates 10 principles based on international conventions. These principles, established in 2000, include human rights, labour laws, the environment and anti-corruption.
UN PRI (United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment Initiatives) was launched in 2006. It is a network of investors and service providers that work together with the UN to implement principles for responsible investment. Its aim is to promote responsible actions 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. Handelsbanken became a signatory to the principles in 2009. PRI has more than 1,750 signatory members, from more than 50 countries, with total assets under management of roughly USD 70 trillion.
UN Environment Programme has a special organisation that works on how the capital markets can promote the adoption of best practices for the environment and sustainability. Some 200 financial institutions which support the initiative contribute to research into and knowledge of how sustainability aspects can be integrated into financial decisions. Handelsbanken has been a member of UNEP FI since the mid-1990s.
CLIMATE ACTION 100+
Climate Action 100+ is a five-year-long, global, co-operative initiative linked to the Paris Agreement. The aim is to persuade those companies emitting the most greenhouse gases to be accountable and lead the transition to clean energy. The investors behind the initiative call on companies to combat climate change, curb emissions and improve transparency.
CDP is an independent international non-profit organisation which works for transparency and dialogue on companies’ environmental impacts and to make such information available to investors. More than 5,600 organisations in more than 90 countries all over the world measure and report their environmental impacts through CDP. CDP acts on behalf of more than 800 institutional investors. Handelsbanken has been one since 2015 and reports to CDP annually.
Handelsbanken has signed the Equator Principles. The Principles are a framework that provides guidance to financial institutions for assessing social and environmental risks in project finance. The Equator Principles were formally launched in 2003, but over the years they have been updated to better support members in identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risks when financing projects.
The initiative consists of more than 92 members representing financial institutions from 37 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.
Application of the Equator Principles
The mission of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change is to mobilise capital for the lowcarbon future by amplifying the investor voice and collaborating with business, policymakers and investors. Handelsbanken has been a member of IIGCC since December 2018.
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL SWEDEN
In 2017, Handelsbanken became a member of Transparency International Sweden’s Corporate Supporters Forum, as part of the Bank’s commitment to working against corruption. This is a Swedish business forum which offers companies a platform to pool experience and knowledge related to anti-corruption work.
Since 2015, Handelsbanken has co-operated closely with ECPAT Sweden, a children’s rights organisation that works to prevent and raise awareness of the sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT is a member of a global network represented in more than 90 countries. We take responsibility in our dayto-day operations, such as by obstructing and preventing payments connected with materials depicting the sexual abuse of children. As part of this co-operation, we also work to educate and raise awareness of sexual exploitation of children.
SWEDISH FINANCIAL COALITION AGAINST COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN
Since 2009, Handelsbanken has been a member of this Financial Coalition, which works to obstruct and prevent trade in images of child sexual abuse. Membership in the Coalition means that the Bank proactively takes a stand and increases awareness of the problem in order to contribute to preventive efforts within the Coalition.
GLOBAL CHILD FORUM
Since 2013, Handelsbanken has taken part in Global Child Forum, a non-profit foundation which functions as an independent forum to exchange best practices and provoke discussions about children’s rights. The forum brings together leaders from the business community, civil society, academia and government in order to spur action for social change around children’s rights.
World Childhood Foundation
Since 2010, Handelsbanken has supported the World Childhood Foundation, which works to prevent violence against and sexual abuse of children. The Foundation wants to ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop into strong, confident, responsible people. Its work focuses on those children who are often forgotten: children who live on the streets, in institutions or in a family where the parents are unable to give them what children need most – trustworthy adults.
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 schools information project that teaches Swedish upper secondary school students and teachers about personal finances and savings.
CLIMATE BONDS INITIATIVE (CBI)
The Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) is an international non-profit organisation that promotes investment in climate-change solutions. The organisation aims to facilitate the mobilisation of capital in the global green bond market by advocacy and outreach to inform and stimulate the market. Handelsbanken has been active in green and sustainable finance for several years and has been a CBI partner since 2017.
SUSTAINABLE VALUE CREATION
Since 2009, Handelsbanken Asset Management, together with other major Swedish investors, has taken part in the Sustainable Value Creation project. The aim of the project is to highlight the importance of Swedish listed companies working with sustainability topics in a structured manner. To encourage, support and follow up on the companies’ sustainability efforts, Sustainable Value Creation conducts surveys and organises seminars and round-table discussions. In its capacity as one of the 100 largest listed Swedish companies, Handelsbanken has itself responded to the surveys on its sustainability activities.
Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development is a platform where Swedish long-term investors and players in the financial services sector can learn and exchange best practices and experience with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The objective is to explore, from various angles and perspectives, the role of the long-term investor in the Agenda and to provide ideas and inspiration for the way forward.
Handelsbanken Asset Management is a member of SWESIF, an independent network forum for organisations working for or with sustainable investment in Sweden. SWESIF aims to increase knowledge of and interest in sustainable investment on the part of institutional asset owners and managers. To make it easier for savers to compare mutual funds and how sustainability is integrated in their management, SWESIF has developed a sector-wide sustainability declaration for mutual funds. Since 2015, most of Handelsbanken’s funds have this type of sustainability declaration. For more information, see swesif.org/swesif/hallbarhetsprofilen-english. Since spring 2016, Handelsbanken Asset Management has served on SWESIF’s board.
WOMEN IN FINANCE CHARTER
As part of its efforts towards gender equality, Handelsbanken in the UK signed the Women in Finance Charter, an initiative from HM Treasury, which means the Bank is committed to work for more gender balance in the financial sector.
RESOURCE EFFECTIVENESS AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Handelsbanken is participating in a project launched by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) in 2018. The twoyear project aims to make Sweden a pioneer in creating the resource-effective, circular society. In harmony with the Sustainable Development Goals, the project aims to strengthen Sweden’s competitive edge in a future of limited resources, while spurring co-operation and forward motion in Sweden’s resource choices.