Corporate Social Responsibility at the heart of the Group's strategy

A responsible Group

Economic development is no longer possible without environmental and social progress. It is the responsibility of major companies to suggest the next virtuous models, models that encourage positive transformations of the world.

Our Group has a leading role to play in helping build greener and more inclusive development models, and enabling the emergence of new drivers of sustainable growth. Social responsibility is at the heart of Societe Generale group’s corporate purpose: “Building together, with our clients, a better and sustainable future through responsible and innovative financial solutions.”

To help the Group put this into action across all its dimensions (Corporate, Social and Responsibility), Societe Generale conducted a survey with all stakeholders to identify concrete actions and make a positive impact in terms of sustainable development.

The ambition to become a leader in sustainable finance is rooted in our capacity to bring innovation and thought leadership to help build new standards. The breadth and speed of investment needed to adapt our economies have never been seen before, which is both challenging and very exciting. This requires all of us to rethink the way we serve our clients in order to bring the most relevant solutions and remain their partner of choice.

Hacina Py, Group Chief Sustainability Officer

We have identified the four key and interconnected areas of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ambition. Two of the pillars form the framework of responsible banking: a culture of responsibility and being a responsible employer. The other two areas are the springboards for positive transformations driven by the Group’s actions as a responsible bank: supporting the environmental transition and having a positive local impact.

We believe that we have entered a new paradigm. The world of tomorrow is being created today.

  1. All changes should be accelerated and implemented as quickly as possible, leaving no one behind: environmental and decarbonisation issues are inextricably linked to issues of inclusion in all its forms. Transition will be holistic, not incremental.
  2. As a company, we need to change approach and mindset, to move from the traditional bank that finances and advises to an advisory role supporting our clients in a way that covers all of their issues - their market, their ecosystem, and all of the associated factors - in order to be upstream of their problems, as close as possible to their reality. We invent new business models. And do so across all activities and businesses.
  3. This requires that everyone be trained, that we help our staff and our clients to understand the issues at stake and so be able to innovate for the benefit of all our customers.
  4. The challenges can only be met collectively, through coalitions with our peers and in our clients' sectors, in order to take part in the construction of common and shared standards, while maintaining a permanent dialogue with stakeholders.

The CSR ambition of Societe Generale group.

Climate commitments

  • The Group is committed to aligning its portfolios with trajectories aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050 with the ambitious goal to limit global warming by 1,5°C
  • €300 bn in support of sustainable finance 2022-2025
  • 10% reduction in oil and gas extraction portfolio 2019-2025
  • Zero exposure to the coal sector 2030-2040
  • Approximately -75% reduction in carbon intensity of the Group’s energy portfolio 2019-2040
  • 50% reduction in the Group’s carbon footprint 2019-2030

 

Over 20 years of commitment to the environmental transition

2001-2017: Positive Impact Initiative, CDP, Equator Principles and Soft Commodities Compact 
2018: Climate Bond Initiative, ICMA Green Bond Principles, Katowice Commitment
2019: United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking and Collective Commitment to Climate Action, Getting to Zero Coalition, Poseidon Principles 
2020: PACTA for Banks, Hydrogen Council
2021: UNEP-FI Net-Zero Banking Alliance & NZAO, Steel Climate Aligned Finance Working Group
2022: Aviation Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group, Aluminium Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group

Organisation and governance

CSR commitments involve all levels of the Group’s governance, from entry level staff to the Management Committee, to operational staff to control functions to the Board of Directors. In 2019, pursuing this ambition even further, Societe Generale created the "Group Responsible Commitments Committee", whose mission is to arbitrate and examine complex cases presenting a high risk of reputational damage or non-alignment with the Group's standards regarding CSR, ethics or conduct. CSR has become a priority area of action for the General Management: the Deputy Chief Executive Officer supervises CSR policies and their implementation, the Sustainable Development department now reports to the General Management and CSR is integrated into the responsibilities of the heads of the Group’s business lines and support functions.

Some of the Group's initiatives

Our Group's CSR commitments are proven: €300 billion has been allocated in support of sustainable finance between 2022 and 2025, and withdrawal from the coal sector is scheduled by 2030 in the European Union and OECD countries, and 2040 in the rest of the world.

Societe Generale was one of the founding signatories of the UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019 with the aim of promoting active coalitions and common international standards. The Group also took the occasion to join the Collective Climate Commitment.

In this context, Societe Generale is also a founding signatory of the Net Zero Banking Alliance and is working to align its most carbon-intensive credit portfolios with the objective of trajectories compatible with a planetary global warming limit of 1.5°C. Among our commitments to working collectively with our peers, Societe Generale is a founding member of the Aviation Climate-Aligned Finance (CAF) Working Group and the Aluminium Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group. In close collaboration with the principal actors of these sectors, the aim is to define methodologies and common objectives to help decarbonise the financial portfolios and support the transition of these sectors.

Societe Generale joined the Steel Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group as co-leader, joining five other leading lenders of the steel industry to set the standards paving the way for the decarbonisation of the sector. The objective of the Task Force is to establish a joint climate-aligned finance agreement that will define a framework for assessing and disclosing the degree to which greenhouse gas emissions associated with each financial institution’s portfolio are in line with the United Nation’s 1.5°C climate targets.

The Group has also joined the Hydrogen Council, which brings together 81 international companies contributing to the roll-out of hydrogen as part of the the energy transition. The Bank is committed to providing its expertise in innovative financing and energy advisory to help develop the “low carbon” hydrogen solutions of tomorrow.

Aware of new expectations and requirements, Societe Generale group was involved in writing the Sustainable IT Charter. It aims to limit the environmental impacts of digital technology, share responsible, ethical and inclusive solutions and encourage the emergence of new values.

As a founding signatory of the Poseidon Principles, alongside ten other banks, the Group supports players in the global shipping sector in their energy transition. In particular, by focusing its funding on more environmentally-friendly ships, it contributes to the objective of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2050.

At the COP24 environmental summit of 2018, Societe Generale joined forces with BBVA, BNP Paribas, ING and Standard Chartered to develop methodologies to guide their credit portfolios in line with the objective of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

Ensuring the quality of working life, diversity and professional development of our teams is an essential factor in encouraging the commitment of our staff within the bank and in improving performance. Societe Generale is committed to five priority Human Resources areas: 

  1. Corporate culture and ethics principles
  2. Professions and skills
  3. Diversity and inclusion
  4. Performance and compensation
  5. Occupational health and safety

 

On the road to sustainable mobility

In the mobility sector, the Group is seizing the new opportunities offered by changes in motor vehicle technology. ALD Automotive, the Group’s subsidiary and Europe's leading long-term vehicle leasing company, is resolutely committed to sustainable mobility. This is being achieved by developing a fleet with a growing number of hybrid and electric engines, and by acting as a responsible advisor, encouraging clients to reduce the environmental footprint of their fleets.

  • 40% reduction in the carbon intensity of ALD’s deliveries 2019-2025
  • Target of 30% minimum of new car deliveries to be electric vehicles in by 2025 and 50% by 2030

The recent acquisition of LeasePlan will create a global leader in the sustainable mobility sector and actively support economies and clients in the energy transition.