Ethics and governance: our commitments
Having a positive impact on the environment by being supportive and attentive to the various stakeholders in our global ecosystem: this is how we interpret our mission as responsible bankers. By complying with the regulations and ethical obligations in place, and by delivering on our own commitments, Societe Generale seeks to achieve real results and to cement our position as a leader in responsible finance.
As well as being a basic necessity for a bank, compliance with legislative and regulatory obligations also creates opportunities. By acting ethically and diligently, Societe Generale group is able to connect its integrated and diversified development model, its CSR objectives and its internal policies and processes in a more coherent way. This applies whether it is a question of protecting ourselves against corruption, conscientiously exercising our due diligence or assessing risks.
Making additional voluntary commitments
Responsible finance requires a commitment that goes beyond compliance with laws and regulations. This is why Societe Generale group incorporates voluntary commitments into its ethical reference framework.
These commitments have a dual purpose. Firstly, they aim to limit all our potential direct negative environmental and social impacts. Secondly, they help to encourage transactions and clients with a positive impact in terms of sustainable development.
Our Environmental and Social (E&S) General Guidelines for Business Engagement establish a general framework for the respect of fundamental human rights and the environment.
Our sector-wide and cross-functional E&S policies also implement standards throughout the Group in areas that are sensitive for the future of our planet. This commitment echoes the Equator Principles, which define a CSR reference framework shared by 94 financial institutions around the world, to which the Group has adhered since 2007.
In terms of environmental protection and responsible finance, the Group takes part in various alliances and applies international banking standards, particularly in line with the United Nations. Our exemplary commitment in this area has been acknowledged: in 2019, Societe Generale was ranked as the world's leading bank in terms of respect for the environment by RobecoSAM.
sectors covered by our Environmental and Social commitments
Our 12 sector-wide E&S policies
These sector-wide policies fall within the framework of the General Environmental and Social Principles
Promoting human rights
Societe Generale ensures respect for and the promotion of fundamental human rights, the basis for exercising Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Our Declaration on Human Rights and our adherence to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act are testament to this commitment. The Group has procedures and systems enabling us to guarantee these rights in our financing operations, Human Resources management and supply chain. Our Group is heavily focused on issues of diversity and inclusion. Our internal processes incorporate the principles defended by the international charters and agreements to which we are a signatory.
Defining an ambitious ethical framework
Societe Generale is particularly committed to the integrity of our practices, an essential component in the trust placed in us by our clients, counterparties and regulatory authorities. To ensure that each of our members of staff behaves with integrity, our Group has a Code of Conduct which contains all the commitments that guide the behaviour and professional activity of our teams. This Code of Conduct, approved by the Board of Directors, is made up of specific codes of conduct or charters, in particular to ensure fair practices, the fight against corruption and tax compliance.
Since 2014, our Group has also been promoting transparent and honest lobbying practices, as established in several charters and collective declarations, and has been publishing its Memorandum on Obligations for Responsible Advocacy Activities for public authorities and representative institutions.
Inclusive, transparent and responsible digital activity
In November 2019, our Group announced the signature of the Sustainable IT Charter. In so doing, it joined the 28 companies, associations and public bodies who have signed these commitments issued by the French Institut du numérique responsible (Sustainable IT Institute ), of which it is a founding member.
This charter marks our commitment to a digital transformation that fights global warming and promotes social inclusion.
Promoting responsible data use
As a bank committed to innovation and the digital revolution, Societe Generale collects and analyses a huge volume of data on a daily basis. In awareness of the ethical issues of a society that revolves around information, we regard the protection and responsible use of our clients' data as essential to guarantee the security and confidentiality of this data.