In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted Agenda 2030. It contains 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets aimed at achieving long-term sustainable economic, social and environmental development in order to eradicate extreme poverty, to reduce inequality and injustice in the world, and to fight climate change. The Agenda is not only a matter for governments. On the contrary, to achieve the goals it is vital that all parts of society get involved. Thus the business community also has a vital role to play in the long-term fulfilment of the goals, as stated in the implementation plan produced by the UN.
As a bank, we are an important part of society, through our strong local presence and other ways that we contribute to the community. That includes paying taxes and charges, employing personnel, granting credit, offering payment solutions and providing investment services as well as other banking services. Through the Bank’s operations, we can contribute long-term to the overriding goals.
During the year, Handelsbanken’s Sustainability Committee analysed the 17 goals and their 169 targets to determine which ones the operations would focus on and how we can integrate them in our operations within the framework of the sub-areas in the Bank’s material topics described above. The analysis was based on the degree of influence, both indirect and direct, identified risks and opportunities, and the Bank’s most material sustainability topics. As a result of the analysis, in the next few years we will focus on the following six goals:
For all the selected goals, Handelsbanken can contribute through its own operations and through business relations. Gender equality, decent work conditions and children’s rights are a natural part of our own operations, and we are eager to help accelerate their progress in the communities where we are active and the companies with which we do business.
- Gender equality
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Climate action
- Peace, justice and strong institutions.
With significant lending to the property sector, we have particular responsibility in terms of sustainable cities, and in our corporate lending we want to contribute by reducing our indirect impact on the climate and by financing future champions in the conversion to a more sustainable economy.
The goal of peace, justice and strong institutions comprises substantially reducing illicit financial flows and significantly reducing all forms of corruption and bribery, an area where banks play a crucial role.