Société Générale SA

RATING

SECTOR

Financial Services

WEBSITE

CONTACT

29 Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris
France

Tel: +33 1 53 43 57 00

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

EMPLOYEES

138,240

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Isabelle Millat

AWARDS

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Youmna Abdallah

Société Générale SA

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Targets  •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

Société Générale SA is a French multinational company providing banking and financial services founded on May 4, 1864. It is headquartered in Paris, France. The company operates through the following business segments: 

  • French Retail Banking which includes the domestic networks Societe Generale, Crédit du Nord and Boursorama.
  • International Retail Banking & Financial Services segment consisting of international retail banking including consumer finance activities; financial services to corporate; and insurance activities. 
  • Global Banking & Investor Solutions: comprising global markets and investor services; financing and advisory; asset and wealth management. 

Company Sustainability Activity

In 2019, Societe Generale and its subsidiaries decided to renew its corporate purpose: “Building together with clients, a better and sustainable future, through responsible and innovative financial solutions”. In line with its purpose and its values “Team spirit, Innovation, Responsibility and Commitment”, the Group has placed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the heart of its strategy.

The Group is committed to continuously increase its positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and the environment resulting from their activities, products and services. 

Consideration of the economic, social, environmental and ethical impacts linked to its operations (direct operations and supply chain) and its commercial activities is a major focus of the Group’s CSR ambition. These Environmental and Social (E&S) General Principles present the E&S framework applicable to the Group’s activities, that may be linked to environmental and social impacts through the products and services delivered. The Group strives to act in accordance with all applicable social and environmental laws, international treaties and conventions, in the countries where it operates.

The Group also embraces its pivotal role in promoting sustainability in its sphere of influence and across economic sectors and societies. To this end, it seeks to engage with all its stakeholders and has made voluntary commitments and joined collaborative initiatives in the banking and financial sector. By this approach, the Group seeks to meet high standards in the banking and financial industry. 

Highlights

Biodiversity

  • The Group is engaged in dialogue and cooperation with relevant public and private stakeholders to develop common commitments, new methodologies and tools enabling better identification and management of potential impacts on biodiversity. The Group has joined the Act4Nature initiative which is a French collective initiative of global actors aiming at encouraging biodiversity-related commitments and generating momentum for progress around the theme.
  • The Group is also a member of the Club B4B+ (Business for Positive Biodiversity), through which it contributes to the development and industry-wide dissemination of the Global Biodiversity Score (GBS™), a consensual open-source model to measure the biodiversity impact for financial activities. The objective of Club B4B+ is to play a role as an incubator of the associated methodology for biodiversity footprint evaluation.

Climate

  • The Group is set to remain a leading bank for the energy transition. It provides Positive Impact products and services and has pledged to raise financing for the energy transition. The Group is also determined to progressively reduce its exposure to the key emitting sectors: it has thus started to phase out coal financing and decrease its exposure to oil and gas production.
  • Societe Generale has signed the Poseidon Principles which aims to reduce the total annual GHG emissions of the shipping industry by at least 50% by 2050 relative to 2008 based on the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO).

Human Rights

Targets

Biodiversity

  • Prevent serious impacts on biodiversity linked to its purchases, products and services and uses the previously mentioned international standards as references for the protection of biodiversity.

Climate

  • Limit to 19% the proportion of coal power (installed capacity) in the company’s financed electricity generation mix by 2020.
  • Reduce its loan outstanding (drawn amount) related to coal mining by at least 14% by 2020.
  • Reduce its thermal coal power & mining financing to zero by 2030 in the EU and OECD countries, and by 2040 for the rest of the world.
  • Reduce its upstream oil & gas financing by 10% by 2025 relative to 2019.

*As an immediate first step towards meeting the above target, the Group will exit the US onshore upstream oil & gas.

  • Reduce the average emission intensity of its power portfolio from 260 gCo2e/kWh in 2019 to 63 gCo2e/kWh by 2040.
  • Ensuring that the alignment of the coal, oil & gas and power portfolios as a whole are aligned.
  • Cut its GHG emissions per occupant by 25% and improve the energy performance per occupant of its buildings by 20% by 2020 as compared to 2014.

Human Rights

  • Respect for the human rights of the Group’s employees and social partners, which aims to guarantee all the respect of human rights in the working context. For example, the Group is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination and harassment at work. A commitment has been reinforced in 2019 by the renewal of the agreement with UNI Global Union.
  • Respect for human rights of the Group’s suppliers and in its supply chain. This aims first to guarantee suppliers that their human rights will be respected in the business relationship, and second to commit to managing the Group’s purchases and procurement so as to limit the risk of serious human rights breaches.
  • Respect for human rights as part of its products and services. This aims to guarantee the respect of its individual and institutional clients’ human rights, especially those relating to privacy. It is also about preventing serious human rights breaches directly associated with the Group’s products and services. For example, within the scope of dedicated transactions and services, the Group carries out human rights assessments that include respect of workers’ rights, local communities’ consultation and the rights of indigenous people.

Progress

Biodiversity

  • The Group excluded all dedicated products or services with material adverse impacts on the outstanding universal value of a cultural and natural UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
  • Assesses on a regular basis the level of implementation and effectiveness of its E&S Risk Management system.

Climate

  • E&S Sector Policies have been put in place and are frequently updated, most of which have a strong climate relevance, especially regarding the energy, transport or forestry sectors.
  • In addition to the sectors covered by E&S Sector Policies, the other most carbon intensive sectors are currently being considered within the development of methodologies for alignment of the Group’s portfolios with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Climate risk factors are now integrated in the risk management governance framework for credit. They are considered in terms of transition risks, physical, litigation and legal risks, as defined by the TCFD.
  • Apart from financing, other activities of the Group, such as asset management and insurance, have also developed climate policies.
  • Regarding its own operations and direct climate impact, the Group has also set up a number of environmental policies and levies an internal carbon tax.
  • The Group’s total GHG emissions have decreased by 21% between 2015 and 2019.
  • The Group has met its targets one year ahead of schedule to cut its GHG emissions per occupant by 25% and improve the energy performance per occupant of its buildings by 20%.
  • The Group met its target of limiting to 19% the proportion of coal power, and reducing its loan outstanding (drawn amount) related to coal mining by at least 14% by 2020.
  • The Group exited the US Onshore Upstream Oil & Gas as an immediate response to their targets aiming to reduce its upstream oil & gas financing by 10% by 2025 relative to 2019.

Human Rights

  • Reinforced in 2019 their commitment to fighting all forms of discrimination and harassment at work by renewing their agreement with UNI Global Union.
  • The Group assesses on a regular basis the level of implementation of the E&S Risk management.

Certificates

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

  • Société Generale has been active in renewable energy for over a decade, taking a pioneering role in the funding of renewables, supporting innovative start-ups as well as financing large-scale projects. Today, as one of the world’s top financiers of renewable energies, the company remains more committed than ever to accompanying the development of all industry players and are continuously innovating.
  • The bank is transitioning from being an “energy bank” into an “energy transition bank” and is broadening its financing to all sectors vital to the transition. In addition, they offer a comprehensive range of financing and investing solutions as well as financial services for the transition to a low-carbon economy around the world.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • The group defends the values of diversity and inclusion in the workplace on a daily basis.  To achieve this goal, they are implementing the UN’s guiding principles for fighting anti-LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace and in all aspects of professional life.
  • The Group is working to ensure that everyone feels listened to and valued, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, from the job interview and promotions to management principles.
  • The Group, alongside Pride & Allies which unites employees from different countries, works to create and defend a corporate culture that promotes inclusion and equal rights for LGBT+ employees.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • The Group is set to remain a leading bank for the energy transition. It provides Positive Impact products and services and has pledged to raise financing for the energy transition. The Group is also determined to progressively reduce its exposure to the key emitting sectors: it has thus started to phase out coal financing and decrease its exposure to oil and gas production.
  • It has signed the Poseidon Principles which aims to reduce the total annual GHG emissions of the shipping industry by at least 50% by 2050 relative to 2008 based on the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO).

SDG 15: Life on Land

  • Aware of the increasing pace of biodiversity loss worldwide, the Group is committed to the respect and preservation of biodiversity, one of the foundations of the Group’s Environmental and Social Risk Management system and encourages its clients to do the same. has developed Environmental & Social (E&S) General Principles and E&S Sector Policies to clarify the criteria implemented for each sensitive sector it is involved in. The E&S Risk Management system, which is described in E&S General Principles, is structured around three steps: identification, evaluation and prevention or mitigation of the E&S risks. Where relevant, specific criteria of the E&S Sector Policies tackle biodiversity protection.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

 

Evaluation

Société Générale SA proves to be committed to sustainable development through their numerous sustainability programs and publishing of their Environmental and Social General Principles 2021, Societe Generale Climate Report 2020 and Approach to Sustainability

They have received numerous awards and certificates and achieved high sustainability rankings, which demonstrates that the bank continuously works towards mitigating climate change and improving their social impact towards communities. 

The company implicitly complies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals through their various actions towards biodiversity, climate change and human rights. Their implementation of the UN’s guiding principles for fighting anti-LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace is noteworthy.

Societe Generale SA demonstrates a holistic approach towards sustainability.

Despite this, the firm is involved in unsustainable activity. Societe Generale has contributed $73.026 B in the fossil fuel industry since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Even more so, the firm has been steadily increasing its investments consistently since 2016.

While its commitment to incorporating sustainability For these reasons, they have been rated a C.

Analyst Outlook: Negative

Société Générale SA has been accused of corruption and fraud during the Jerome Kerviel case, due to fraudulent transactions created by Jérôme Kerviel, a trader of the company, which resulted in the loss of €4.9 billion closing out positions over three days. Due to the trader’s actions combined with Société Générale’s blindness to it, the analyst outlook is Negative.

 

Key Points

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