UBS Group

RATING

SECTOR

Banking

WEBSITE

CONTACT

Bahnhofstr. 45, P.O. Box
CH-8098 Zurich
Tel: +41-44-234 11 11
Fax: +41-44-239 91 1

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

  • Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI World and Europe)
  • MSCI (ESG research – AA rating 2018) 
  • Sustainalytics (leader score within their industry) 
  • CDP A list Climate Change 
  • FTSE4Good Index 
  • Bloomberg Gender Equality Index 
  • Principles for Responsible Investment (A+ score in strategy and Governance module) 
  • Euromoney private banking (2019 – Ranked first globally by their peers for Philanthropic Advice, Environmental Social, Governance and Social Impact Investing) 
  • Corporate responsibility Prime status rated by ISS-oekom
  • AM ranked by ShareAction as the leading asset manager globally for voting on climate-related resolutions

EMPLOYEES

68,601

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Michael Baldinger

AWARDS

  • Global Private Banking Award 2018 (sustainable and impact investing) 
  • The Corporate Engagement Award 2018 winner (CEA) 
  • Charity Times Awards (UK) 20018 winner for the best social investment initiative from stepping stones fund
  • Environmental Finance Sustainable Investment Award 2019 for Best ESG Hybrid Fund
  • Environmental Finance Sustainable Investments Award 2019  for Best ESG Initiative of the Year
  • Employer of Tomorrow Award for Employment-related and Community Investment
  • Japan Corporate Philanthropy Award for Community Investment

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Muge Acar 

UBS Group

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, UBS are present in all major financial centres worldwide.

UBS Group AG is a holding company, which engages in the provision of financial management solutions. It engages in global wealth management, personal and corporate banking, asset management, and investment banking.

  • The Global Wealth Management segment advises and offers financial services to wealthy private clients except those served by Wealth Management Americas which include banking and lending, wealth planning, and investment management. It provides comprehensive advice, solutions and services to wealthy families and individuals around the world.
  • The Personal and Corporate segment offers financial products and services to private, corporate, and institutional clients in Switzerland, maintaining a leading position in these segments and embedding its offering in a multi-channel approach.
  • The Asset Management segment consists of investment management products and services; platform solutions and advisory support to institutions; wholesale intermediaries, and wealth management clients. 
  • The Investment Bank segment comprises investment advice, financial solutions, and capital markets access among corporate, institutional, and wealth management clients. It provides corporate, institutional and wealth management clients with expert advice, innovative solutions, execution and comprehensive access to international capital markets.

Company Sustainability Activity

UBS in society is a dedicated organization within the firm, focused on maximizing its positive effect and minimizing any negative effects UBS has on society and the environment. It covers topics such as sustainable and impact investing, client philanthropy, environmental and human rights policies, governing client and supplier relationships, and their community investment.

Through UBS in society, UBS is driving change that matters by using their firm’s expertise to bring about sustainable performance. Their activities in the society are overseen, at the highest level of their firm, by their Board of Directors’ Corporate Culture and Responsibility Committee (CCRC).

The Group CEO proposes the UBS in social strategy and annual objectives to the CCRC supervises their execution and informs the Group Executive Board and CCRC, as appropriate. 

UBS’s sustainability strategy is guided by its goal to be the financial provider of choice for clients wishing to mobilize capital towards the achievement of the SDGs and the orderly transition to a low-carbon economy.

They work towards this goal by integrating sustainability into their mainstream offerings, through new and innovative financial products with a positive effect on the environment and society, and by advising clients on their philanthropic work.

Highlights

N/A

Targets

  • Support 1 million young people and adults to learn, and develop skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship by 2025.
  • Maintain 38% of beneficiaries whose lives are “improved” or “transformed” by UBS’s support by 2020.

Progress

  • In 2018, UBS’s GHG footprint reduced by 11%, or 14% per full-time employee, year on year, a total reduction of 63% from the baseline year 2004.
  • In 2018, they reduced their energy consumption by 12% compared to 2016 and 25% compared to 2012.
  • Across UBS’s global building portfolio, 13 projects achieved LEED certification in 2018. 
  • In 2018, 59% of UBS’s worldwide electricity consumption was sourced from renewable energy. They have already been sourcing electricity from 100% renewable sources in Switzerland since 2007, in Germany since 2012, in the UK, Luxembourg and Austria since 2016 (mainly hydropower and wind power). In 2018, Monaco and their key locations in the US started sourcing renewable energy. 
  • They cut pages printed from 169 million in 2017 to 136 million in 2018 – a reduction of more than 15%. This trend is set to continue, with further cuts of 20 million pages expected next year, bringing total output down to around 30% below 2017 volumes. 
  • In 2018, 51% of the waste produced in UBS locations was recycled. 
  • They reduced their water consumption by 18%, compared to 2016. 
  • Core sustainable investments rose to USD 488 billion or 13.5% of invested assets at the end of 2019, surpassing a three-year goal ahead of schedule.
  • Carbon-related assets on the balance sheet were cut by more than 40% to USD 1.9 billion, or 0.8% of total gross banking products exposure.
  • UBS has already directed USD 3.9 billion of client assets into impact investments related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), making substantial headway on a 2017 WEF goal to mobilize USD 5 billion by the end of 2021.
  • UBS is also well on track to meet its target of reducing the firm’s own greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 75% from 2004 levels, with a 71% reduction already achieved in 2019.

Certificates

  • Global Reporting Initiative (user of GRI reporting framework since reporting year 2008) 
  • SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, member of the board of directors since 2013)
  • LEED certifications
  • ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management System (since 1999)
  • ISO 50001 certified Energy Management System (since 2017)
  • ISO 14064-certified Greenhouse gases (since 2004)
  • ISO 37001 certifies Anti Bribery Management System (since 2016)
  • Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

  • UBS Optimus Foundation’s support for The Power of Nutrition foundation (SDG 2), the UBS Oncology Impact Fund (SDG 3)

SDG 4: Quality Education

  • Number of participants in education programs that UBS created
  • Loans to finance education

SDG 5: Gender Equality

  • Share of women in senior roles and on company boards increased

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

  • Increased amount raised to transition to low carbon economy 

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Microfinancing was given to small enterprises which are not able to access credit from the formal banking system

 SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

  • The number of sustainable financial products offered increased

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • Engaging employees in skill-based volunteering (also focus on SDG 4 and 8) 

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • UBS is supporting clients with regard to their sustainability efforts and strive to incorporate ESG factors into the products and service they provide.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Investment in climate risk mitigation
  • The carbon footprint of investment portfolios and divestments assessment

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

  • Advancing sustainability in the financial sector
  • Focusing on ESG
  • Driving change in philanthropy and sustainable investing

Evaluation

UBS’ business model is not based on sustainability. The company appears to be a responsible bank, by taking climate change into account of its management and business.

The company has achieved certifications like LEED and ISO certifications, is recognized in numerous sustainability ratings as the DJSI or CDP A list Climate Change, and has received many sustainable awards.

The company is making decent progress with their SDGs. However, they must make a significant effort as a whole to act more ethically and sustainably. 

Despite their efforts, UBS has been involved in tax evasion affairs and has financed extreme fossil fuels with $25.84 B since the Paris Agreement was adopted (2016–2018).

UBS has been rated C. 

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

  • The company needs to be monitored for the upcoming years to see how they progress in their journey to become more sustainable.

Key Points

  • The company has announced its latest commitments, to plant over 50mn trees by 2030, in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The new commitments build upon the company’s effort for environmental stewardship and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The company is making progress toward SDGs
  • The company needs to move away from its unsustainable practices of financing fossil fuels

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