As a 'responsible banker', long-term added value is our primary objective. Therefore, our business strategy as well as our products, services and processes are aligned with this goal.
To achieve this, we take a holistic approach. Rather than limiting ourselves purely to generating economic value, we always consider the environmental and social impacts of our business activities as well. Effective and sustainable performance can be achieved only if these aspects are also taken into account.
ESG risk process
Only by knowing the impacts of our business activities on the environment and society can we pursue a serious policy of sustainability and align the company strategy accordingly with this goal.
Looking at climate risks, the rise in the global temperature and greenhouse gas emissions has significant consequences for the environment and people’s lives. For many years now, the Global Risk Report of the World Economic Forum has counted environmental risks among the most likely threats over the next ten years.
Climate risks can be broadly divided into two risk categories, although there are some interdependencies. They include the physical risks of changes in climate conditions and the transition risks arising in connection with the development of a low-carbon economy and society. Although the consequences of global warming are only negative, they can be positively influenced by financing renewable energies and energy efficiency, for example.
lending policy and lending decision process
Our business model is geared around the high-level strategic goal of creating long-term value. Responsible lending is a significant component of this model. We achieve this with a lending policy that is based on continuity. We remain a fair and reliable lender to businesses with future prospects, even in difficult times, and we hold a clear position regarding the handling of sensitive business areas.
In the light of the environmental challenges and the changing expectations of customers and supervisory authorities, we continuously develop our policies and processes in order to ensure the integration of sustainability topics and risks into the lending decision process.
The Code of Conduct is part of our lending policy. All employees involved in lending are accordingly obliged to act responsibly and also to carry out their supervising duties with great care. Likewise, the reputation of our banking group must be considered in all activities and decisions. Our executive managers are responsible for compliance with these standards in their respective areas of responsibility.
In addition to the existing lending criteria, RBI already takes into account ESG-related risks at industry and country level and will expand this to the individual customer level.
RBI is committed to including climate and environmental risks in its risk processes and policies.
Sustainable finance is already an important part of RBI’s corporate credit policy and is intended to ensure the integration of ESG-related risks into risk management and underwriting processes. It is also aimed at drawing attention to industries that are enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy.
CO2 emissions of corporate loans
In 2020, RBI calculated the financed emissions of its corporate loans for the first time using the method published by the PCAF (Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials.
Sustainable Finance Initiative
The topic of sustainability has gained momentum, and financial institutions are playing a central role in reorienting capital flows towards a more sustainable economy.
For corporate customers, sustainability plays a particularly important role in three areas:
- How can we best support our customers as they transition to sustainable business models?
- How can we ensure that the lending portfolio on RBI’s balance sheet gradually complies with sustainability criteria to an even greater extent?
- How can we help our colleagues in CEE to establish and exchange knowledge in the area of ESG?
By providing sustainable financing, we generate added value for our customers and for society. There is a wide range of activities that are suitable for sustainable financing. We define financing as sustainable if it has a positive long-term impact on the environment and climate and/or on societal and social aspects, and if it supports the global Sustainable Development Goals.
All in all, the volume of sustainable financing (excluding coronavirus-related financing) at RBI AG and the network banks amounted to around € 5 billion.
Sustainable investing of customer deposits at RBI AG is in large part effected via Raiffeisen KAG, which offers securities and real estate investment funds as well as investment management products to institutional and private customers both in Austria and abroad under the brand name Raiffeisen Capital Management (RCM).
Although 2020 was a challenging year, the sustainable investment volume increased by a further 57 per cent year-on-year to € 10.25 billion and now accounts for 26 per cent of the overall volume. In the retail segment, more than one-third of the volume is already attributable to sustainable mutual funds.
The carbon footprint of the sustainable funds is around 771,532 t CO2e.