We regard it as our cor­por­ate duty to take re­sponsi­bility for the pre­serva­tion of our natural en­viron­ment, the wel­fare of our society and the lives of cur­rent and future gen­era­tions. That is why we have made sus­tain­able action the core of our stra­tegy and are sys­tema­tically align­ing our busi­ness activi­ties towards this goal.

Pro­moting the common good and pro­tec­ting the natural foun­dations of life has been an inte­gral part of our DNA for almost 200 years. As a Landesbank and the central S-Group bank for German Sparkassen, we con­sider lead­ing by example - above and beyond regu­latory require­ments - as our primary obli­gation.

In order that we can con­tinue to meet the stan­dards of service that we aspire to and ful­fil the promise that we have made to our stake­holders, we con­stant­ly strive to devel­op the content and initia­tives of our stra­tegic agenda with a view to the future - and thus remain what we are today: simply a good bank.

Petra Sandner
Chief Sustainability Officer Helaba Group

Our claim

"Values with impact." - Helaba's mission state­ment clearly under­scores what lies at the heart of our phi­loso­phy and busi­ness strat­egy. By acting in line with our values, our aim is to achieve sustain­able and long-term suc­cess. In this way, we want to con­tinue to make a positive differ­ence in the future as a strong, re­liable partner that focuses on pro­viding the great­est possible benefit to our cus­tomers, offers our em­ploy­ees future-proof and re­war­ding jobs and always creates a positive added value for society as a whole. That is why our claim is to act respon­sibly and sustain­ably in all the de­cisions that we take:

  • We want to con­tinue to be mea­sured against our high stan­dards of cus­tomer service and product quality: In order to sup­port our clients as they tran­sition to a more sustain­able future, we are system­ati­cally ex­pan­ding our port­folio of sustain­able finan­cial solu­tions.
  • We regard it as our cor­porate duty to pro­mote the common good and pro­tect the natural foun­dations of life: We are com­mit­ted to the goals of the Paris Agreement and sup­port the cli­mate goals of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union.
  • As a Landesbank, social com­mit­ment is parti­cu­larly close to Helaba's heart: our ef­forts to sup­port sustain­able action in social, scien­tific, cul­tural and sporting spheres have and will retain a high priority.
  • As a re­liable partner for our clients and so­ciety as a whole, Helaba is only as good as the com­mu­nity of people who work for us: We foster a cor­porate cul­ture that is char­ac­terised by trans­parent com­muni­cation, fair­ness, relia­bility and a re­spect­ful style of manage­ment.
Michael Seibel
Sustainability Officer

Our priorities

Al­though the Covid-19 pan­demic has called many pre­vious assump­tions into ques­tion, it has gener­ally re­in­forced the trend to­wards great­er sustain­abi­lity. The signif­icance of this is­sue in our clients' busi­ness models is grow­ing and the social and poli­tical pres­sure on com­pa­nies and financial insti­tu­tions is stead­ily increa­sing. We are con­vinced that de­mand for sustain­able finan­cial pro­ducts will far ex­ceed supply.

The aim is for the EU econ­omy to be com­plete­ly carbon neutral and cir­cular within 30 years - that is what the European Green Deal envis­ages by the year 2050. Since Helaba's busi­ness activi­ties are close­ly inter­twined with the real econ­omy, we have a crucial role to play in pro­mo­ting this trans­for­mation. We want to re­spond to the resul­ting need for advice from our clients by pro­viding in­nova­tive, tailor-made finan­cing solu­tions.

At the same time, "Financing Sustainable Growth", an action plan for sustain­able finance devel­oped by the EU Commission, in­forms our work. We take into ac­count the many asso­ciated regu­la­tory re­quire­­­ments, have made sus­tain­abili­ty aspects and cli­mate risks an inte­gral part of our risk manage­ment con­cept and are contin­uously adap­ting our repor­ting formats in line with re­com­men­da­tions of the TCFD (Task­force on Climate-related Financial Dis­closure).


Because sustain­abili­ty is an inte­gral part of our cor­porate re­sponsi­bili­ty, the appro­priate con­trol instru­ments have been inte­grated into the bank's core con­trol­ling pro­cesses. Sustain­abili­ty Manage­ment, as a hori­zontal, inter­dis­cipli­nary func­tion, en­sures that this prin­ciple is ap­plied to all areas of the bank and the entire Group by means of the­matic work­shops and trai­ning courses.

Risk strate­gies in len­ding activi­ties

For our core busi­ness of len­ding, we have de­fined bin­ding, Group-wide guide­lines that are firmly em­bed­ded in our risk strate­gies: We aim to mini­mise any nega­tive ef­fects on sustain­abili­ty as­pects arising from our finan­cing act­ivi­ties, inclu­ding transi­tional and phy­sical risks resul­ting from cli­mate change. The strate­gies have been ap­proved by Helaba's Super­visory Board and Board of Owners and, as such, are of the most bin­ding nature pos­sible.

We review these len­ding criteria on an annual basis and adjust them if neces­sary. In 2020, for example, we made our al­ready restric­tive ap­proach to coal-based energy even stricter. Now, the fi­nanc­ing of pro­jects direct­ly related to mining thermal coal has been ex­plicit­ly ruled out. In addition, ex­port fi­nance trans­actions must gener­ally comply with the OECD Recom­menda­tion on Com­mon Ap­proaches for Offi­cially Sup­ported Ex­port Credits and En­viron­mental and Social Due Dili­gence. In this way, we en­sure that we do not incur any dis­propor­tionate ESG risks or support question­able busi­ness practices.


In order to meet the ex­pec­tations of policy­makers, finan­cial regula­tors, our clients and so­ciety at large, we have launched a Group-wide pro­gramme that inte­grates all rele­vant units such as risk manage­ment and mar­ket divi­sions. In a number of clusters and work­ing groups, we are addres­sing the nu­mer­ous issues in a system­atic and holi­stic manner. The aim is to strength­en Helaba's long-term compe­titive po­sition on the market and to imple­ment the various regu­la­tory re­quire­ments of super­visory bodies and EU policy through­out the Group.

Sustain­able lending

Prin­ciples, risk strate­gy and guide­lines for sustain­abili­ty - our
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