Commerzbank AG

RATING

SECTOR

Banking

WEBSITE

CONTACT

Kaiserstraße 16, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Tel: +49 69 136-20
Fax: +49 89 54 90 45-31

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

  • Commerzbank has been included for the third time in Corporate Knight’s “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Index” (G100) and has reached 67th place in the 2021 ranking. Commerzbank is one of 7 German companies in the Index.
  • FTSE4Good Index: According to FTSE Russell, the bank was able to achieve the highest possible score in four out of seven criteria and thus exceeded the sector and national average. These criteria are “Climate Change”, “Labor Standards”, “Corporate Governance” and “Anti-Corruption”.
  • DAX 50 ESG: Commerzbank is included in the index of the top 50 companies.
  • Commerzbank is in the index’s sustainability category as “upper midfield”, both in private and corporate banking
  • Among the top 7% of companies assessed in the CDP index.

EMPLOYEES

47,718

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Dr. Manfred Knof

AWARDS

  • The magazine Capital and the Statista data portal have awarded Commerzbank the title “Climate-conscious company”

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Sonria Willis

 

Commerzbank AG

SECTIONS :  Sustainability •  Targets    Evaluation  •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

Commerzbank AG engages in the provision of commercial banking services. The company was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.

In the 2019 financial year, the bank was the second largest in Germany by the total value of its balance sheet. The bank is present in more than 50 countries around the world and provides almost a third of Germany’s trade finance. In 2017, it handled 13 million customers in Germany and 5 million customers in Central and Eastern Europe. 15% of the bank’s shares are owned by the Federal Republic of Germany and 85% are in free float.

It operates through the following business segments: Private and Small-Businesses Customers, Corporate Clients, Others and Consolidation, and Asset & Capital Recover:

  • The Private and Small-Businesses Customers segment comprises the universal bank services for private and small-business customers, online securities transactions, and asset management. 
  • The Corporate Clients segment includes credit products and financing solutions for mid-size corporate clients, international corporations, and financial institutions. 
  • The Others and Consolidation segment is the staff, management, and support functions of the company. 
  • The Asset & Capital Recovery segment handles the positions of the portfolios in the areas of commercial real estate and ship finance, as well as complex financings from the public finance area. 

Company Sustainability Activity

Commerzbank states it prioritizes corporate responsibility in its strategic objectives: outlining binding rules for handling environmental and social risks. 

Moreover, the bank states it is committed to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius and is aiming for the 1.5-degree target. In June 2020, Commerzbank signed a climate commitment together with 15 other players in the German financial sector. In it, the Bank undertakes to align its credit and investment portfolios with the targets of the Paris Agreement. 

In addition, the Bank has supported the TCFD since September 2020 and joined the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) at the same time. As an SBTi member, the Bank is committed to a science-based reduction of CO2 in its loan portfolio.

The “Sustainability 5.0” project, which was launched in 2019, has been incorporated into the bank’s new strategy, and the Group board along with the management board assumed responsibility for it. The customer segments, risk management, and numerous other Group divisions are involved in the Group-wide project. 

The project team has developed three overarching thrusts:

  • Support customers in becoming more climate-friendly. This includes the promotion of emission-reducing technologies through suitable financing solutions, for example.
  • Aim to simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions from the loan portfolio by managing it in line with climate targets.
  • Continue to expand its range of environmentally friendly products. 
  • Set a good example as a company and consistently continue to reduce its ecological footprint.

Through the project, specific targets have been defined for all segments and divisions, which the bank states will be implemented in the coming years. The 100-goal sustainability programme adopted in 2017 was completed on schedule after three years with a final status report. 

The new objectives include the following: 

  • Compared to 2018, greenhouse gas emissions at Commerzbank are to be reduced by a further 15% by 2025. For the first time, the new climate target will apply to international locations in around 20 countries. 
  • The management of the loan portfolio will be implemented in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

In December 2020, the new Group Sustainability Management division was established, which reports to the Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors. In this way, Commerzbank is taking into account the requirements of relevant stakeholder groups such as customers and investors. The new division will in the future act as a hub for coordinating existing sustainability activities, developing them further and initiating new ones. One of the bank’s aims is to establish comprehensive governance alongside a holistic and long-term sustainability strategy and thus to further promote internal networking on the subject.

In December 2019, Commerzbank’s mBank – in its capacity as an independent institution – also published its new strategy “Growth fuelled by our clients” for the years 2020 to 2023. mBank incorporates sustainability issues into its business strategy and conducts its business in accordance with the relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It aims to become one of the top three social responsibility leaders in the banking sector by 2023 by continuing to raise awareness, promote prosperity, advocate education, and directly and indirectly address climate and environmental protection.

The Asset Management areas of Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Commerz Real also pledged in September to uphold the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Commerzbank and mBank are also signatories to the UN Global Compact and as such incorporate its ten principles covering human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.

Commerzbank considers transparency and fairness towards customers as one of the key pillars of sustainable business development. The bank states it treats its employees as partners – even and especially at times of great upheaval and economic challenges. The far-reaching restructuring scheduled to begin in 2021 will lead to a further loss of jobs. Commerzbank pledges it will do everything it can to agree on fair solutions for the headcount reduction in consultation with the employee representatives.

In 2020, the bank acted as joint lead manager in the issue of the German federal government’s first green bond. Commerzbank also assisted the European Union in issuing two social bonds under the SURE programme, with which the EU helps member states deal with the impact of COVID-19 and safeguard jobs in the EU. 

Highlights

2020 Operations Data

  • Credit portfolio for renewable energies: 5.1 bn Euro
  • Volume of Sustainable Bonds (Green, Social, Sustainable): 46.3 bn Euro-equivalent
  • CO2 emissions per capita: 2.66 tons (decrease from 3.70 tons in 2019)
  • Paper consumption per capita: 116 kg (decrease from 140 kg in 2019)
  • Water consumption per capita: 7.5 m3 (decrease from 19.25 m3 in 2019)
  • Electric power consumption: 5.37 MWh (decrease from 5.51 MWh in 2019)
  • Assessments of inquiries concerning ecological, social and governance aspects: 4,500

Other Highlights

  • Since 2017, Commerzbank has been working on the implementation of the 100 goals of its Sustainability Programme. This has been completed in 2020 with the last status update.
  • In 2019, the Reputational Risk Management assessed 5,449 transactions, products and customer relationships in which sustainability considerations played a key role.
  • Commerzbank is pursuing the Group-wide aim of increasing the proportion of women in leadership positions to 35% across all management levels below the Board of Managing Directors by 2021. In 2019, this proportion stood at 32.5%.
  • As in previous years, no corruption case is known in the Group for 2019.
  • Commerzbank has exceeded the statutory requirement of 5% of employees with severe disabilities since 2014.
  • In 2020 again, 75 students will complete the Commerzbank sustainability internship in one of 27 German national parks, nature and biosphere reserves.
  • Since 2013, approximately 380 employees have supported more than 600 teenagers during the company’s education mentor programme.
  • 1.46 million Euro funding was provided by the foundations supported by Commerzbank in 2019.

Targets

Main KPI Targets

  • Reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15% by 2025 compared to 2018. For the first time, this target also applies to Commerzbank’s international locations in around 20 countries.
  • Total energy consumption is to be reduced by an average of 2% per year by 2025 compared to 2018
  • Power consumption per full-time employee should be kept constant by 2025 compared to the base year 2018.
  • Group-wide aim of increasing the proportion of women in leadership positions to 35% across all management levels below the Board of Managing Directors by 2021.

Sustainable Corporate Governance Goals

  • Development of coordinated standards between banks and supervisory authorities for the handling of payments for humanitarian projects in sanctioned countries in compliance with the law.
  • Intimate and timely accompaniment of the digital transformation of Commerzbank by Commerzbank’s data protection and data security units with the aim of making innovative technologies safe to use in the context of digitalisation.
  • Establishing a regular stakeholder dialogue on social and economic issues in order to discuss the Bank’s role in society.
  • Regular and extensive risk assessments at Commerz­ bank AG Germany with a preventative focus on the psychological and physical health of employees
  • Provision of up to 120,000 euros per year for the activities of Commerzbank’s eight employee networks.
  • Placement among the top 20 percent in sustainability ratings among banking sector companies in Europe and the rest of the world by 2020
  • Development of a system to take sustainability crite­ria into consideration when selecting and developing company benefits.

Markets and Clients

  • Triple the percentage of sustainable investments in the total volume of assets managed by Asset Management for retail banking by 2020.
  • Support clients in preparing for and issuing green bond transactions.
  • Active contribution of financial market perspectives in forums and dialogue platforms relevant to the energy transition.
  • Systematically increase the volume of loans granted to corporate clients through the KfW energy efficiency programme.

Environment and Society

  • Development of a method to quantify the value contribution of social commitment by 2020. 
  • Organise an information event for analysts, rating agencies, and representatives of non­governmental organisations to showcase Commerzbank’s contribution to public policy development.
  • Development of a “Disability” action plan to promote inclusion at Commerzbank by 2018.
  • Nationwide transition to environmentally­ friendly coffee cups by 2018.
  • Reduce CO2 emissions at Commerzbank AG Ger­many by 70 percent by the year 2020 compared to the base year of 2007.

Progress

  • The target of “reducing energy consumption by 8%” was significantly exceeded with a decline of 13.2% to 362,27 MWh.
  • Commerzbank has exceeded the statutory requirement of 5% of employees with severe disabilities since 2014.
  • The proportion of women in management at 32.5%.
  • Credit portfolio for renewable energies: 5.1 bn Euro
  • The volume of Sustainable Bonds (Green, Social, Sustainable): 46.3 bn Euro-equivalent
  • CO2 emissions per capita: 2.66 tons (decrease from 3.70 tons in 2019)
  • Paper consumption per capita: 116 kg (decrease from 140 kg in 2019)
  • Water consumption per capita: 7.5 m3 (decrease from 19.25 m3 in 2019)
  • Electric power consumption: 5.37 MWh (decrease from 5.51 MWh in 2019)
  • Assessments of inquiries concerning ecological, social, and governance aspects: 4,500

Certificates

  • Headquarters building is LEED certified

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

Commerzbank makes a contribution to achieving the SDGs. Its greatest sphere of influence centres on the following five goals:

SDG 4: Quality Education

  • Education and training at Commerzbank, environmental internship, education mentor programme, support through trusts, business schools, etc.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

  • Diversity management, women in leadership positions programme, family-friendly work models, management in part-time, commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, etc.

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

  • Contribution to the energy transition by financing renewable energies, CO₂ compensation projects focused on renewable energy, etc.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

  • Core business for corporate clients, Sustainable Trade, R&D in the Main Incubator, etc.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Climate strategy and climate goals, climate neutrality, financing of renewable energies, advice on energy efficiency, participation in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, “Commit to action” (Paris 2015), Carbon Neutral Now initiative, Alliance for Development and Climate, etc.

Evaluation

Commerzbank states its commitment to several sustainability agreements and initiatives such as the Paris Agreement, the TCFD, the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN Global Compact

The bank is included in a few notable listings among which are the FTSE4Good Index and the CDP index. However, the bank has not received many notable awards, besides the “Climate-conscious company” award by Statista which was not found anywhere besides the bank’s website. Commerzbank’s headquarters in Frankfurt is LEED certified.

The bank has a few measurable targets on reduction of greenhouse gases, energy use reduction and female inclusivity. The rest of its goals are, for the most part, not measurable and it is not clear whether the goals have been completed. In its 2019 report, for instance, the bank mentioned goals for 2018 but there was no mention of whether these were officially completed.

Nevertheless, Commerzbank has been making an effort to reduce energy and water consumption in the bank’s operations, making steady progress since 2017 (see highlights section). However, the goals for each category are not specifically listed. Not much progress has been reported on the bank’s newest goals for its “Sustainability 5.0” project which makes it hard to evaluate the effectiveness of the project.

The bank issues two main reports disclosing its ESG activities (2020 Non-financial Report and Sustainability Factsheet | April 2021) but these reports are objectively not well-organized and lack notable data — all in comparison to other bank’s ESG or Corporate Social Responsibility report. 

This report gives Commerzbank a grade of C.

Analyst Outlook: Negative

While the bank states its commitment to many sustainability initiatives and pledges its dedication to improving ESG activities in its reports, data and external sources say otherwise. For instance, the bank has contributed $11.856 B to the fossil fuel industry since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. In addition, Commerzbank was in Yahoo! Finance ESG Risk ratings’s low range for its ESG activity (32nd percentile).

The bank was involved in several corruption scandals in the past ten years, putting the ‘Governance’ aspect of its ESG strategy in question.

Key Points

  • The bank has been subject to several corruption investigations, paying $US1.5 billion in fines in 2015 (see Further Reading Section)
  • Commerzbank is in the 32nd percentile for Yahoo! Finance ESG Risk ratings.
  • Working towards making its buildings more ecological and sustainable (see Further Reading section).
Share this Post