Through the implementation of our Environmental and Social (E&S) commitments and our sectorial policy, we work in favour of responsible finance. The economic and social impact of our activity, the transparency of our financial communication and the fairness of our practices are concerns which strengthen our desire to improve customer satisfaction.
For Societe Generale, being a responsible company lies at the very heart of our business lines’ mission and reflects the essence of the relationship bank of reference that we strive to be.
As a key player in financing the economy, operating in 67 countries, our mission is to offer the best solutions to advise and connect individuals, companies and institutions, in order to support them in the development of their projects, the management of their financial means and their risk coverage.
Sensitive to the different stakeholders within our ecosystem, we also strive to ensure the generation of a long-term positive impact on the environment surrounding us.
Frédéric Oudéa, Chief Executive Officer
Regulatory (ESG) commitments
The Group strives to act with integrity and in compliance with the applicable laws in all its activities.
The Group strives to act with integrity and in accordance with applicable law in all its activities. The new legislative obligations represent an opportunity for Societe Generale to clarify the articulation between its business model, its CSR ambition and the policies and processes implemented and continuously improved, to manage the environmental and social (E&S) risk factors inherent to its activities. The Declaration of Non-Financial Performance or DPEF, as it is known in France, also enables to highlight the CSR opportunities for the Group and its clients.
These developments are also in line with anti-corruption obligations (as introduced under the Sapin II Act, in particular) and the obligations introduced by the Duty of Care Act of 27th March 2017, pursuant to which companies must establish and implement a duty of care plan to identify risks and prevent serious breaches in respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, the health, safety and security of persons, and also the environment (2019 Registration document, “Duty of Care Plan”).
In order to meet its obligations under section 54 of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, Societe Generale publishes a statement on slavery and human trafficking.
2019 Duty of care plan
As a French company with over 5,000 employees, Societe Generale is subject to the French Act of 27th March 2017 on the duty of care for parent and subcontracting companies (the “Duty of Care Act”). This law requires the Group to prepare and implement a duty of care plan designed to identify risks and prevent serious breaches in respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, health, safety and security of persons, and also the environment as a result of its activities. The plan must in particular include risk mapping, measures to assess and mitigate the risk of serious breaches and a whistleblowing system. This document sets out the main aspects of the Duty of Care Plan and includes the report on its effective implementation.
Over the years, the Societe Generale Group has voluntarily adopted procedures and tools to identify, assess and manage human rights and environmental risks as part of its human resources, supply chain and activities management. It saw this regulatory obligation as an opportunity to clarify and strengthen its existing framework.
Find out more about:
2019 Duty of care plan
Modern Slavery Act
The E&S risk assessment procedures and management systems
2019 Positive Sourcing Programme
Formalized in a Directive signed by the Chief Executive Officer and applicable to all activities, the E&S General Principles constitute a global framework based on the Group’s institutional commitments and its regulatory obligations.
In 2017 the Group reaffirmed its commitment to fighting climate change by establishing a climate strategy that is consistent with the international goal of limiting global warming to 2 °C.
The application of these principles is incorporated into the existing decision-making processes with regard to both knowing the client (Know Your Customer process KYC) and transaction assessment depending on the significance of the E&S risks.
A set of sector and cross-sector E&S policies supplements the E&S General Principles. They specify the standards that the Bank wishes to apply to sensitive sectors as well as to certain cross-sector issues. The E&S policies now cover 12 sectors in which the Group plays an active role and can be downloaded by clicking on each picture here below or at the foot of this page.
In 2018, the oil and gas policy was updated in order to implement the operational roll-out of the Bank’s commitments in terms of climate and energy transition.
In 2019, three policies were strengthened : mining, thermal power and thermal coal. These new policies take further the Group's commitments to reduce its exposure to coal in line with its ambition to contribute to the fight against climate change.
In order to enable the implementation of these E&S commitments (E&S General Guidelines, sector policies and Equator Principles), the Group has adopted various procedures to implement its E&S commitments (E&S General Guidelines and policies and the Equator Principles). These procedures explain how to handle the E&S challenges associated with transactions or customers to whom the Bank provides banking and financial services. Initially only applicable to the activities of Corporate and Investment Banking, they are now being developed and gradually rolled out to cover all of the Group’s financing and investment activities. In addition to facilitating the identification, assessment and appropriate handling of potentially negative E&S impacts, these procedures also make it possible to identify transactions and clients having a positive impact in relation to sustainable development. This dual approach is what underpins positive impact.
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Adopted by the Group in 2007, and revised in 2013, the Equator Principles (EP) are one of the underlying initiatives of the E&S General Guidelines. Societe Generale has special internal procedures and tools to ensure they are followed. The EP serve as a common framework for the financial sector to identify, assess and manage the E&S risks of projects for which the 94 international financial institutions that have joined the initiative (as of 1st January 2019) provide financing and advice.
Every year, Societe Generale publishes a report on how it has been applying the initiative on a dedicated section of its website.
It describes how the principles are implemented and provides a list of the projects that fall within the scope of the EP and in which the Group has been involved.
Visit the space dedicated section to Equator Principles and consult our last EP report
Find out more about E&S PROCEDURES AND TOOLS
Respect for human rights
Societe Generale is committed to the respect and promotion of human rights, one of the foundations of its corporate social responsibility.
The group reaffirm its commitment in its Statement on human rights.
Its E&S General Guidelines list the standards and initiatives that Societe Generale undertakes to respect and has identified as being the most important for the E&S evaluation of its clients. The Group is committed to maintaining and improving the systems and processes that enable it to ensure that human rights are respected in its operations and its human resources management, in its supply chain, and in its products and services.
In order to meet its obligations under chapter 54 of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, Societe Generale publishes a statement on slavery and human trafficking.
The group also publishes its Duty of Care plan in the Group’s Registration Document, listing the key measures to identify and prevent serious breach of human rights as well as fundamental freedom.
FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION AND PROMOTING DIVERSITY
The Group’s diversity policy aims to fight bias and create a culture of inclusion. Guarding against discrimination when hiring is a particular focus of the Bank’s continuous monitoring, applicable since 2013. Since 2016, the Group’s action against discrimination has been enhanced by its endorsement of a number of international charters and the inclusion of the corresponding principles in the agreements signed with its stakeholders:
- the Women’s Empowerment Principles, under the aegis of the United Nations Global Compact, promoting gender quality at work, both within the company and in its sphere of influence;
- the Global Business and Disability Charter, under the aegis of the International Labour Organization, promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the world of work.
- the UN’s standards against discrimination of LGBTI people in the workplace;
- the agreement signed with UNI Global Union in 2015 and renewed in February 2019 on trade union freedom, fundamental freedoms, working conditions, non-discrimination and the duty of care in respect of human rights (see 2019 Registration document “Promoting a high-quality social dialogue”).
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE VALUE CHAIN
With regard to human rights, the General E&S Guidelines list the standards and initiatives that Societe Generale undertakes to respect and has identified as being the most important for the E&S evaluation of its customers. The Equator Principles cover the issue of human rights through the performance standards of the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), which address workers’ rights, population displacement and resettlement, the free, prior informed consent of indigenous populations, and the management of security personnel.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN
- In 2015, the Group adopted an instruction on responsible sourcing and a code of ethics relating to sourcing. This instruction is appended to the Global Agreement on fundamental human rights and trade union rights. At present, the implementation processes essentially involve sourcing managed from France and cover: the identification of potential environmental and social risks (including in relation to human rights);
- the implementation of a Know Your Supplier (KYS) process, which has been in place since July 2016;
- the extra-financial evaluation of suppliers;
- the gradual introduction of mandatory E&S criteria in specifications for products and services.
Soft commodities compact
In 2015, Societe Generale joined the Soft Commodities Compact established by the Banking Environment Initiative and the Consumer Goods Forum. The Soft Commodities Compact is designed to mobilise the banking industry to help transform soft commodity supply chains, thereby helping corporate customers to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
Loyalty of Practices and financial transparency
By ensuring that it abides by the loyalty and integrity rules set for itself, the Group helps to develop a key asset: the trust of customers, other counterparties, employees and regulatory authorities on which it depends. It has developed tools in this regard and implemented specific actions.
Code of conduct
The Group has set itself the strategic target of protecting its corporate image and ensuring that every employee acts with integrity in their day-to-day activities. A great deal of work has been done since 2011 on Culture & Conduct. The Code of Conduct, which was updated in 2016, is the cornerstone of professional ethics at Societe Generale. It promotes respect for human rights and the environment, the prevention of conflicts of interest and corruption, the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, respect for market integrity, data protection, proper conduct with regard to gifts and invitations and responsible sourcing.
Tax code of conduct
The Group’s Tax Code of Conduct, approved by the Board of Directors in November 2010, is part of the worldwide developments to fight harmful tax practices, particularly at the request of the OECD. In addition, since 2003 Societe Generale has laid down strict internal rules designed to prevent the development of any operations in countries that have been designated as noncooperating tax havens by the OECD.
Responsible advocacy activities
Since 2014, Societe Generale has joined Transparency International France's joint declaration to promote transparent and inclusive lobbying. The Group has also published its « Charter for Responsible Advocacy with Public Authorities and Representative Institutions ». In order to respect these commitments as well as the obligations stemming from the Sapin II law (December 9, 2017), the Group has registered with the following registers: European institutions register and register of the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP). Under the Sapin II law, Societe Generale also publishes the names of its employees carrying out advocacy activities, the associations by which these activities are carried out, the object of these activities as well as the aggregate amount of the related expenses, calculated on a pro rata basis of the time spent by the identified employees for such activities and by the associations themselves. The Group also publishes on its institutional website a document summarizing all these commitments, the associated internal governance to monitor them adequately, the associations, its key public positions and all related costs on a worldwide scope.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption
Societe Generale operates by very strict anti-corruption principles, which are stated in its Code of Conduct, and abides by the highest possible standards, in particular the UK Bribery Act and the Sapin 2 Law.