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Julius Baer’s purpose is to create value beyond wealth. And because we recognise the important role the financial sector has in transitioning to a more sustainable world, this purpose is also echoed in our sustainability strategy. Our ambition is to empower our clients, employees, and other stakeholders to have a positive impact, today and in the future. Our sustainability strategy guides us in enabling a shift in capital flows towards a more equitable future and healthier planet for the generations to come. To achieve this, we focus on two of the most critical global challenges in transitioning towards a sustainable economy: addressing the overuse of natural resources, and addressing the underuse of human resources.
We pursue a holistic approach that brings together responsible wealth management and responsible citizenship.
Responsible wealth management
Julius Baer’s approach to responsible wealth management encompasses responsible investing, sustainable investing, impact investing, and philanthropy services. To support our clients on their sustainability journey, we have developed a comprehensive ecosystem that goes beyond just financial products.
Responsible citizenship at Julius Baer comprises our approach to conduct and risk, our role as a caring employer and as a community partner, as well as our commitment to conserving natural resources.
Solid heritage and robust governance
For 130 years, we have helped families and new generations to thrive. At the same time, we have always taken our responsibilities towards our stakeholders and society seriously. In 1965, we established the Julius Baer Foundation. In 2014, we became a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), and in 2015, our operations became carbon neutral. In 2019, we became a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (UN PRB). Over the years, we have thus continued to acknowledge the wider role we can play in society and for the environment. Today, sustainability is formalised and embedded in our core business.
Sustainable growth is one of our strategic priorities, and our new sustainability framework plays a key role in how we create value beyond wealth. The importance placed on sustainable growth is reflected in our governance.
The Sustainability Board is a committee of our Executive Board and is chaired by the CEO. It defines, oversees, and steers the Group’s overarching sustainability strategy and roadmap. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis and reviews and identifies the materiality of new and existing sustainability topics at least every third year. Making strategic decisions on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics, and determining the overall prioritisation of initiatives and deliverables in this area, are the responsibility of the Sustainability Board. Matters with a direct strategic impact on the Group as a whole must be forwarded to and decided on by the Executive Board, and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors.
The Director of the Sustainability Board leads the Sustainability team and reports to the CEO Office via the Chief of Staff. The team is responsible for developing and overseeing the sustainability strategy within the Group and proposes new strategic topics to the Sustainability Board for consideration. It ensures the overall coordination and alignment of sustainability activities carried out within different business functions, drives strategic initiatives and deliverables, and regularly provides the Sustainability Board with status updates on these initiatives and deliverables.
Sustainability Report 2020
Our latest Sustainability Report provides an update on the progress we made in 2020, while also giving insights into our sustainability strategy and the road ahead. Together with the Julius Baer Annual Report, Half-Year Report, and Business Review, it is designed to empower our clients, employees, and a broader group of stakeholders to make responsible decisions based on transparent, reliable information.
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Julius Baer Group’s Sustainability Report is prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). For the 2021 reporting year, we intend to additionally include a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Index for mapping purposes to help stakeholders identify the relevant SASB standards within our existing reporting.
The report also addresses strategic issues, which are identified in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. In addition, it outlines our commitments as a signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), UN PRI, and UN PRB, as well as our alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our commitment and our efforts towards greater sustainability and responsible investing are recognised externally. The following are our ratings for 2020:
- MSCI ESG1: A
- S&P Global CSA Percentile Rank2: 85
1 MSCI ESG ratings provide insights into ESG risks and opportunities within multi-asset class portfolios (rating scale: AAA – CCC). Source: https://www.msci.com/esg-ratings
2 The S&P Global CSA rating is an annual evaluation of companies’ sustainability practices. The resulting ESG rating is used, among other things, to create the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Source: https://www.spglobal.com/esg/csa/