Head of Investor Relations & Sustainability Office
HCOB's ESG commitment does not only relate to its own sustainable actions. It also always considers the activities of its business partners - this applies to all three dimensions of the ESG approach. For example, the bank integrates ESG criteria into its lending process. In this way, it ensures that its customers consistently use the financing provided by the Bank for projects that also meet ESG criteria.
Sustainability aspects and sustainable business also play an important role in its strategic orientation: the Bank and its predecessor institutions were among the pioneers of renewable energy financing in Germany more than 25 years ago. The Bank is still active in this area today.
To ensure that sustainability aspects are taken into account, the Bank has, among other things, defined clear exclusion criteria for transactions - the so-called black list.
On this "Black List", the Bank excludes business with companies that do not meet Hamburg Commercial Bank's high standards in the three aspects of environment, social affairs and corporate governance. In addition, HCOB excludes business in countries where there is a high level of corruption or where the level of peacefulness is very low - the assessments are based on theand the .
Hamburg Commercial Bank aims to be one of the leading banks in the field of sustainability. This includes keeping an eye on the exposures and activities on both sides of the balance sheet - the assets and the liabilities side. Since October 2020, the holistic consideration of sustainability aspects has therefore been an integral part of Hamburg Commercial Bank's lending process. In concrete terms, this means that the various sustainability dimensions are analysed, weighted and evaluated for each individual transaction on the basis of clear criteria that are tailored to the respective business area. This means that not only purely economic aspects play a role in lending, but that compliance with ESG criteria is also always a consideration.
To ensure that all relevant aspects of the ESG approach are taken into account, these aspects are assessed using an ESG scoring tool developed by the Bank.
Using the example of a property valuation, the process looks as follows: Among other things, the bank examines the energy consumption of the property to be financed, assesses the building materials used and the emissions during the construction phase and subsequent operation. In terms of the social dimension, the Bank looks, for example, to ensure that workers' rights are respected. Finally, in terms of corporate governance, it is a question of ensuring that all legal rules are complied with and that the business partner ideally has its own code of conduct.
The Bank not only applies its ESG standards to new loans, but also scrutinised its existing portfolio with regard to sustainability using the same criteria. Loans that no longer meet the current requirements will be reduced in the future.