DZ BANK makes a €3 billion commitment to renewable energies
- DZ BANK publishes seventh Sustainability Report
- Rating from oekom improves to C+
- Renewable energies projects increase by around 25 percent
- Groupwide climate strategy adopted
DZ BANK AG's seventh Sustainability Report, which was released today, shows the progress that the bank made in this area last year, particularly in terms of the sustainability of its core business and the environmental improvements to its internal processes. Credit checks based on a sustainability checklist have long been an important part of DZ BANK's lending business. In 2014, the bank examined around 1,500 loan applications and approved them as sustainable. DZ BANK also achieved its plan to introduce rejection criteria in the lending business during 2014. It will make further improvements to the sustainability checks that it applies to loan applications in the future, including providing regular online training for employees in the lending business.
DZ BANK works on many of the key aspects of sustainability in cooperation with the entities in the DZ BANK Group, which include Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall, Union Investment, and R+V Versicherung. In recognition of their combined efforts, the highly respected sustainability rating agency oekom research has raised the DZ BANK Group's sustainability rating to C+, which is the highest such rating awarded in the banking sector. The DZ BANK Group has therefore been named an industry leader. It also continues to hold prime status.
Sustainable business is a core objective for DZ BANK and plays a significant role in its success. Renewable energies represent a major growth area in this regard. DZ BANK's total lending volume in this segment is now around €3 billion, of which €1.4 billion is attributable to wind energy projects. The remainder is accounted for by project finance for solar power and biogas/biomass. This is another area in which DZ BANK collaborates closely with the local cooperative banks, which make a considerable contribution at regional level.
DZ BANK focuses on steadily improving its carbon footprint as part of its efforts to protect the environment, prevent climate change, and make its internal processes as green as possible. But sustainability is a strategically important matter not only for the central institution but also for the entire DZ BANK Group, which is why a groupwide climate strategy was adopted in 2014. This strategy sets out efficiency targets for the individual entities. DZ BANK lowered its own CO2 emissions by 30 percent between 2008 and 2011. It began obtaining electricity from renewable sources and using environmentally friendly district heating in 2010. The target is to cut CO2 emissions by a further 15 percent by 2020.
DZ BANK believes it also has a responsibility toward its employees. Preventive measures and other healthcare services helped to increase the health rate to 97 percent last year, an improvement on what was already a very high rate. The bank also provides a comprehensive range of continuing professional development (CPD) activities. In 2014, more than 10,000 days of training were completed by the bank's approximately 4,000 employees. The new Pavillon building in Frankfurt, construction of which began last year, will include a daycare center for employees' children. This will help staff to achieve a better balance between work and family life. Employee satisfaction is reflected in their length of service at the bank, which averages out at almost 14 years.
Formed more than 50 years ago, the DZ BANK Foundation underlines the bank's commitment to corporate citizenship. Last year, it provided €530,000 in funding for projects, predominantly in the field of academic study and research. It also donates to charitable causes, with the total amount increasing by 16 percent in 2014. Other corporate citizenship activities include the Career Prize, the microfinance fund set up by employees, and the DZ BANK art collection.
A distinctive feature of DZ BANK is its strong relationship with the local cooperative banks. This can be seen in day-to-day business and also in the close collaboration on important issues. One such issue in 2014 was sustainability reporting. In the spring, 20 cooperative banks attended a workshop organized by DZ BANK on this subject.
The Sustainability Report can be downloaded at www.sustainability.dzbank.com.