Sustainability

Business activities

Helaba assumes responsibility for society and the environment. This responsibility shapes our long-term strategic business model and how we view our role.

We also accept this responsibility in all fields of our business activities in which we work together with our customers. We provide solutions and products that enable our customers to obtain the natural resources and social conditions that form the basis for their livelihoods and, in this way, to achieve long-term business success. We systematically take into account aspects of sustainability and consumer protection in the fields of business in which we operate.

The way in which our business activities are closely intertwined with the real economy is a significant factor for our success. Around 60 percent of our balance sheet total consists of business with customers, that is to say loans and advances to customers and affiliated Sparkassen. This strategy makes a significant contribution towards creating a society based on sustainability.

Helaba supports the United Nations Paris Agreement and its climate goals. Together with our subsidiaries, we give priority to promoting environmentally-friendly technologies and projects that support the energy transition. For example, in close co-operation with Sparkassen we support small and medium-sized companies and local authorities in implementing projects in the area of renewable energy. To facilitate this, we offer a wide variety of financing solutions for solar power, photovoltaic systems and wind turbines. In this way, Helaba and its clients help to support pathways leading towards the development of a climate-friendly world.

Michael Seibel
Sustainability Officer

Sustainable lending

As its core business, Helaba assumes responsibility for society and the environment in scope of its lending activities. In order to achieve this, we have defined group-wide, binding sustainability criteria that are anchored in our risk strategies. They ensure that human and labour rights, the preservation of cultural heritage and the protection of the environment are respected. As a matter of principle, we rule out the deliberate financing of projects that cause severe damage to the environment or that contravene international social standards.

We have developed specific criteria for critical sectors of the economy that explicitly exclude controversial business practices. They include the sectors of energy, mining, oil and gas exploration, agriculture and forestry, the pulp and paper industry as well as the defence industry.

The requirements laid out in the risk strategies are based on principles contained within the UN Global Compact in the scope of our binding sustainability principles. In order to avoid reputational risks that could arise in connection with issues of sustainability, among other things, Helaba has implemented a relevant risk management process.

Sustainability in business segments

The State Treaty, legal form and Articles of Association provide Helaba with a public remit that is oriented towards the common good. They form the basis of our sustainable business activities. Helaba’s sustainability profile is characterised by having a conservative risk profile, being closely intertwined with the real economy, oriented towards the long term, integrated in the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe and focused on the region. This represents a binding framework for sustainability that we put into practice and follow in Helaba’s various business segments.

Consumer protection

As a credit institution under public law, Helaba has a business model that is based on the long-term strategy of a universal bank with a regional focus, selected international presence and close integration into the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Our activities with retail customers are exclusively conducted by Frankfurter Sparkasse and LBS Hessen-Thüringen and are developed in association with the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Adherence to statutory requirements in the scope of relationships with customers of LBS Hessen-Thüringen is regulated in binding internal operating procedures.

Frankfurter Sparkasse’s ethics guidelines include a voluntary commitment to ensuring that their employees conduct themselves in a responsible and sensitive manner. The code of conduct of Frankfurter Sparkasse stipulates that employees must be focused on a customer’s needs and that they must meet them by providing the best possible advice. Frankfurter Sparkasse and its employees adhere to the accepted values of the Sparkassen organisation, to human and privacy rights as well as to additional values (among others, being customer-oriented and conducting themselves in a mutually respectful way). Adherence to these values is monitored and ensured by the association’s auditors, the bank’s internal audit department, the compliance department and by conducting customer surveys.
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