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.
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.