SpareBank 1 SMN aims to contribute to society’s value creation through responsible banking operations that instil public confidence in the bank.
SpareBank 1 voted most sustainable
Consumers perceive SpareBank 1 as the most sustainable brand in the Norwegian bank- and finance sector. This is according to the 2019 version of Europe's largest branding report on sustainability; Sustainable Brand Index. Read more (Norwegian)
SpareBank 1 SMN reports annually about our responsibilities and sustainability efforts based on the guidelines of the international reporting organization Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Our CSR strategy
The strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in SpareBank 1 SMN follows a standard strategy process, and is anchored in the bank's values.
The principles address global challenges, covering issues such as human rights, employment , the environment and anti-corruption.
Principles for sustainability
1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
2. make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
4. the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
5. the effective abolition of child labour; and
6. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
8. undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
9. encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
What we do
Our strategy for sustainability is built on our values, with responsible being of particular importance. Below is an overview of the most important themes within our work with sustainability. For a more detailed and in-depth look at the work we do in this area, go to our annual report.
When we invest in or lend money to a company, there are some issues that we expect that company to pay attention to. These issues include responsible management of water resources, forest, mineral extraction, responsible oil extraction and refinement of petroleum products and fishery resources.
All of SpareBank 1 SMN's direct investments, subsidiaries and companies where the bank has majority control are subject to a new policy from 2017. You can read this in our sustainability library. The policies describe the underlying criteria for positive and negative screening over and above statutory requirements, as well as the bank’s requirements on its external asset managers.
We aim to be the leading bank when it comes to responsible lending, ensuring that we maintain our function as an adviser to our customers.
Responsible credit entails ensuring that customers avoid undertaking commitments that they cannot fulfill. Additionally, it means that the bank supports a green shift, providing customers with information on sustainable and competitive solutions.
The bank provides credit both to private- and business customers. The principle of sustainable lending in the private sector is incorporated in our main strategy for sustainability in lending, and in our credit policy for private customers.
During 2017 and 2018, the systematic work relating to responsible credit was given a substantial lift. The board of directors approved a new credit strategy and new demands for sustainability in lending.
SpareBank 1 SMN do not wish to finance companies or projects that are not operating according to our standards. We expect business customers to implement measures to rectify any conditions that are in conflict with our principles.
SpareBank 1 SMN is committed to taking people, the environment and society into account to a greater degree than required by the financial market legislation. This means that we actively seek to be at the forefront of important issues relating to responsible marketing.
It is also important for the bank to inform customers about how best to adapt to available products. The products themselves are to be responsible, and all new products from the bank are subject to a comprehensive consequence avaluation of the target group for that product.
Our own policy and overall guidelines for privacy contribute to the follow-up of legal demands regarding treatment of personal information, both according to Norwegian law and GDPR.
The banking market is changing. With a changing market comes changed customer behaviour and new possibilities. The bank is experiencing competition from new industry players with new business models. We work continously to maintain good banking practices, both in digital channels and by traditional consultancy services. In addition, there is a focus on the bank being a strategic partner who facilitate enterprise, growth and innovation in the region.
In order to succeed with these challenges, the group management team are in no doubt that the employees will be the bank's most valuable resource and an important differenciating factor when compared to our competitors. Employee development and recruitment of new expertise is thus highly prioritised in our work to build a bank for the future.
One aim of SpareBank 1 SMN is that our employees reflect the population structure of the region. There is an active focus on recruitment and promotion in order to fill any gaps and to redress any imbalances in this diversity.
The Group abides by the equal pay principle, which states that men and women are to be paid identically for the same work or for work of the same value. Despite an increased focus over several consecutive years, differences still persist between women and men, and pay equality therefore continue to be an area of focus.
The bank has developed its own set of ethical guidelines. These describe the bank's attitudes and values with basis in the overarching principles of confidentiality, economic independence, loyalty and personal integrity. Employees, business partners and elected officers should have a conscious awareness of the ethical guidelines in their day-to-day decisions.
We continously work to uncover and combat economic crime and corruption. Our guidelines on anti-money laundering give clear guidance for our work with this theme, including defined roles and responsibilities.
It is the responsibility of the bank to help ensure that our products and services are not used in any criminal activity. Our steering systems are evaluated and updated on an annual basis, in order to adapt to a changing risk picture as well as changes in anti-money laundering guidelines.
In order to ensure we take a risk-based approach to economic crime and adhere to legal demands, insight is necessary, both into the bank and into customer's businesses. Governments, customers and competitors should be able to have faith in the bank's professionality and honesty.
In light of the nature of the business and the scale of assets that are managed, the inherent risk of internal illegalities in banking is considered to be high. The bank has therefore opted to implement controls both to prevent and to identify irregularities.
SpareBank 1 SMN is certified under Norway's Miljøfyrtårn or "Eco-lighthouse" scheme, the most used scheme of its kind in the country. This means that we assume a deliberate environmental responsibility and institute measures to keep our house in order. We are duty bound to support the UN's sustainability goals and we are concerned that companies we work with make sustainable choices.
Through our Miljøfyrtårn certified management system, we annually report our own energy consumption and climate emissions to the foundation. The sertification entails systematic, targeted and continuous improvement in the areas of working environments, procurements, waste, transportation, emissions and aestethics.
The bank continously works to reduce consumption and travel. We also strive to ensure correct procurement of technological equipment. The bank has developed procurement guidelines that list specific demands concerning energy and environmental issues. Furthermore, the policy demands that all procurement agreements include documented social responsibility. In tender processes and RFQs, SpareBank 1 SMN requires documentation of approved environmental certification.
All energy used by the bank for heating and the general running of the offices are based on renewable energy sources such as remote heating and hydropower. The bank annually presents climate accounts.
To support SpareBank 1 SMN’s CSR Strategy, the bank has developed a Green Bond Framework in line with the ICMA Green Bond Principles. With this framework, SpareBank 1 SMN will support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the eligible categories relates to and promotes the following SDGs:
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Production and Consumption
14. Life Below water
The eligible categories in the framework are:
- Green Buildings
- Eco-efficient and circular economy adapted products, production technologies and processes with selected sustainability certifications
SpareBank 1 SMN has appointed Multiconsult in an advisory capacity to establish the most energy efficient commercial buildings, and obtained a second party opinion on the framework from Sustainalytics.
- Our ethics, CSR, corporate governance and sustainable fund management principles
- Anti-money laundering