Working together for a sustainable future

As one of Denmark’s largest banks, Sydbank has a responsibility to make a positive contribution to developments in society so that together we can ensure a sustainable future for the next generations.

We take this responsibility seriously.

That’s why we have set five ambitious targets for how we can contribute. The targets we have set are in areas where we can make the greatest difference.

We are aware that considerable efforts will be needed to achieve these targets because working towards sustainability is a complex task and huge volumes of data will be required to measure the effect of our initiatives.

But we need to act now and the targets are the first step.

Five strategic focus areas

Responsible finance

Target: DKK 10bn to green finance in 2027

Sydbank wants to help ensure a more sustainable future. As a result Sydbank has set a target that in 2027 the Bank has provided lending of DKK 10bn to activities that contribute to the green transition – also known as green finance.

We have formulated a set of rules on when a loan can be called green. It is called the Green Bond Framework and is based on internationally recognised standards. The loans fall into five main categories:

  • Renewable energy
  • Green buildings
  • Clean transportation
  • Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Recycling and sustainable production

New financing solutions that can be classified as green loans in accordance with our set of rules are underway to our corporate clients as well as our retail clients. One example of our existing solutions is Sydbank Energilån (energy loans).

In order to monitor developments in our green finance, constant efforts are made to access new data that will make it easier to identify the loans that can be included in the target of DKK 10bn.

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Green Bond Framework

Responsible investment

Target: 50-70% reduction in CO2e footprint* from investments in 2030 compared to the CO2e footprint in 2020

Responsible investment. It sounds easier than it is. But that will not make us give up without trying. Because a step no matter how small is still a step.

The target to halve the CO2e emissions from companies in the Bank’s investment portfolio is ambitious. Fortunately there are several different dials we can adjust to reach our target.

One of these dials is “active ownership” where we attempt to impact companies’ development through engagement and voting at general meetings.

Another dial is divestment. However we are basically of the opinion that selling off polluting companies in important industries such as the cement and steel industries will not contribute effectively to reducing de facto CO2e emissions worldwide. Instead we believe that more will be gained by helping to move production in a more sustainable direction.

At present data on CO2e footprints is most advanced within listed shares and corporate bonds. These two asset classes are therefore initially included in the calculation of the Bank’s CO2e footprint. However data is improved on an ongoing basis and over time we expect to be able to include investments in government bonds and mortgage bonds.

* Whereas CO2 only refers to carbon dioxide, CO2e includes other greenhouse gases such as methane.

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Responsible climate footprint

Target: 75% reduction in CO2e* from own operations in 2030 compared to emissions in 2019

It is not enough to help our customers finance energy efficient solutions. We must also of course reduce CO2e emissions from our own operations.

That’s why we have set up our own solar cell systems in Aabenraa, Esbjerg and Slagelse. More and more of our company cars are being replaced with electric cars or hybrid cars. And energy consumption is monitored on an hourly basis as regards 95% of the Bank’s building stock – more than 1,100 alarms are linked to our energy management tool and therefore a warning is sent in case of constantly high consumption or insufficient data.

Continuous efforts are made to lower consumption in order to reduce emissions. However CO2e emissions cannot be avoided entirely. We purchase certified electricity generated by modern Danish wind turbines to offset the Bank’s unavoidable CO2e emissions from electricity.

* Whereas CO2 only refers to carbon dioxide, CO2e includes other greenhouse gases such as methane.

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Responsible employer

Target: Top-in-class employee engagement among financial institutions

We are no better than our employees. We are fully aware of this, and education and personal development have always been high on the agenda at Sydbank.

But our employees must not only be professionally competent – they must also be proud to work at Sydbank. Therefore one of our targets is that employees’ job satisfaction and loyalty will have a top ranking compared to other financial undertakings in Denmark.

And we can measure this. Every other year we conduct a large engagement survey where our employees are asked the same questions as 40,000 other employees in the financial sector. This enables us to determine whether we are in the top 25% in terms of employee engagement. We were in the latest survey in 2022 – and we intend to be again in 2024.

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A decent bank

Target: More than 95% of the Bank’s employees have regularly completed courses supporting a decent bank

To us being a decent bank means that Sydbank is helping to ensure a secure and robust financial infrastructure in Denmark  – in other words everything related to your money.

In order to live up to this role thousands of laws and rules must be complied with. We must combat money laundering. We must make sure that data is protected. We must ensure that information about our customers does not end up in the wrong place. Just to mention a few examples.

It is important that all the Bank’s employees have basic knowledge of all the measures behind being a decent bank. As a result Sydbank has a mandatory training programme that all new employees must complete. In addition all employees are kept updated by way of regular training modules.

The completion rates of training courses are monitored closely. Twice a year we review the number of employees who have completed the courses as scheduled and there are follow-up procedures for employees who have not completed the courses.

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