Sustainability Report 2023

The Sustainability Report describes how we at Handelsbanken worked with our most important sustainability topics in 2023
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Securing a sustainable economy for generations

As a bank, working with sustainability issues is partly about managing risks – a craft that Handelsbanken is recognised as good at – but also about taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in helping our customers by financing and investing in the society we want to have today.

Michael Green, President and CEO of Handelsbanken:

Sustainability is nothing new for Handelsbanken, it is to run a responsible and long-term business as we have done for decades. Such as not lending more to our customers than their repayment capacity can support even in tougher times, being vigilant against all forms of money laundering and corruption, as an employer safeguarding health, equality and diversity, and supporting and accelerating customers' sustainable transition.

Catharina Belfrage Sahlstrand, Chief Sustainability and climate officer at Handelsbanken:

Handelsbanken's strategy is to see sustainability issues as a natural part of the business that everyone works with, regardless of whether they are developing our digital meeting places, products or services, providing advice to our customers or assessing and managing risks. 

But in the area of sustainability, there are also new perspectives for the entire banking sector. For example, we are expected to conduct active climate work, i.e. to work to reduce both our own and our customers' greenhouse gas emissions. We also need to be increasingly transparent in both customer information and in reporting on the environmental and climate risks we have in our operations in line with existing and future sustainability regulations.

Read more about our sustainability work:

Annual and Sustainability Report 2023 (pdf 4.2 MB) Opens in a new window

Climate change progress report 2023 (pdf 12.0 MB) Opens in a new window

Principles for Responsible Banking Self-Assessment 2023 (pdf) Opens in a new window

What did we do in 2023?

In 2023, Handelsbanken launched a Group-wide overall climate transition plan with a strong focus on our core business,  real estate and mortgages. The bank has a broad product and service offering which targets energy efficiency in real estate a, such as climate and energy loans for both private and corporate customers, green mortgages, third-party collaborations on energy advice, solar cell offerings and more. In 2023, Handelsbanken in Sweden launched a new digital service, Energikollen, which guides and helps mortgage customers find the right type of energy efficiency measures adapted to their home's conditions.

Handelsbanken joined SBTi in 2021. This means that we are committed to setting emission reduction targets through the methods provided by SBTi. To ensure that our climate target is in line with scientific research, we have sought validation from SBTi in 2023, we expect them to be validated in early 2024.

Business volumes linked to the bank's sustainability work continued to grow. Compared with the corresponding period last year, the volume of green loans increased by 37 per cent to SEK 87.2bn (63.7), of which green mortgages increased by 10 per cent to SEK 35bn (31.8). In addition, sustainability-linked lending facilities amounted to SEK 105.4bn (59.0).

We are convinced that there is no contradiction between yield and contributing to a sustainable world. On the contrary. Sustainable investments today are a prerequisite for good returns in the future. The EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR) means that asset managers must be transparent about how their funds are classified based on SFDR. At the end of the year, 14 of the Group's funds, corresponding to 20 per cent of assets under management, were reported in Article 9 funds, i.e. funds that have sustainable investments as their objective. 90 funds, corresponding to 79 per cent of the managed fund volume, were reported in Article 8, i.e. funds that promote environmental and social characteristics through their investments.

Handelsbanken maintained its high sustainability rating of AAA from MSCI ESG Ratings.  As a result, Handelsbanken has the highest possible sustainability rating. In the first quarter of 2024, it was announced that Handelsbanken is ranked number 82 and one of only three Swedish companies to be included among the 100 most sustainable companies in the world on the Global 100 list by Corporate Knights.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are a guiding principle for all our sustainability work at Handelsbanken. Our main contributions to the goals are indirect, through our financial services and products. For example in asset and pension management, our products are clearly linked to several of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Initiatives we support

In late 2019, we were one of 130 banks to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB). We continue to support and work with international initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations Global Compact and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

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Sustainability in Handelsbanken

Our sustainability work encompasses the whole of the Group’s operations in all markets.