Corporate & Social Responsability
Environmental transition

Environmental transition

Our commitment

At Societe Generale, we believe that banks have a key role to play in the positive transformations of the world and the sustainable development of economies. In line with our corporate purpose, we have placed sustainable development – and the energy transition in particular – at the heart of our strategy. We want to contribute to a transition that is both proactive and responsible by supporting our clients and the real economy as they move towards carbon neutrality.

With the urgency of climate change, it is crucial to build together, with our peers and our clients, a fair and inclusive transition while keeping in mind new usages and the need to develop lifestyles affordable for all.

Hacina Py, Group Chief Sustainability Officer

Facing the challenge of climate change, the Group has identified three areas of priority action:

  • Manage climate related risks, 
  • Pro-actively manage the climate impact of Group activities, 
  • Support clients in their environmental transition. 

The challenges can only be met collectively, through coalitions with our peers and in our customers' sectors to participate in the development of common and shared standards, while maintaining an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders.  

By joining the UNEP-FI’s Net-Zero Banking Alliance in 2021 as a founding member, the Group committed itself to align its portfolios on trajectories aimed at global carbon neutrality by 2050 in order to reach the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Societe Generale is committed to aligning its portfolios with trajectories in line with the objective of the Paris Agreement, addressing the most carbon-intensive sectors as a priority, and setting intermediary targets, such as:

  • Oil & Gas:
    • reduction of upstream Oil & Gas exposure, reaching -80% by 2030 vs. 2019, with an intermediary 2025 step of -50%;
    • target on absolute GHG emissions scopes 1, 2 and 3  of -70% by 2030 vs. 2019;
  • Power generation:
    • target on the carbon intensity of the electricity production sector at 125g of CO2 per kWh in 2030, i.e. -43% vs 2019;
  • Thermal Coal:
    • complete phase-out by 2030 for EU and OECD countries, by 2040 for the rest of the world;
  • Cement: 
    • target on the carbon intensity of the cement production sector at 535kg of CO2 equivalent per ton of cement by 2030, i.e. -20% vs 2022;
  • Automotive: 
    • target on the carbon intensity of the automotive sector of 90g of CO2 equivalent per km traveled per vehicle by 2030, i.e. -51% vs 2021;
  • Steel:
    • target to align the portfolio of crude steel producers with the IEA NZE scenario based on the methodology developed by the Sustainable Steel Principles (i.e., reach an alignment score of 0 by 2030);
  • Commercial Real Estate:
    • target on the carbon intensity of the commercial real estate sector of 18kg of CO2e/sq m by 2030 (based on Societe Generale current portfolio mix), i.e. a reduction of 63% compared to 2022;
  • Aluminium:
    • target on the carbon intensity of the aluminium production sector at 6t CO2 equivalent per ton of aluminium by 2030, i.e. -25% vs 2022;
  • Maritime transport:
    • target to align the portfolio of maritime transport (excluding cruise vessels) with the IMO’s “Striving For” scenario based on a Poseidon Principles alignment score of 15% in 2030, i.e. a reduction of intensity (AER) of 43% vs 2022.

In addition to these commitments, the Group has put in place a strict framework of general Environmental and Social (E&S) principles in nine priority sectors:  

  • Agriculture, fisheries and agri-food
  • Dams and hydroelectric power
  • Thermal power stations
  • Thermal coal
  • Defence
  • Mining
  • Shipping
  • Civil nuclear power
  • Oil and gas

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.

Meeting the clients’ needs

Sustainable and positive impact financing - Responsible and sustainable investment - Strategic and innovation advisory services - Specialized services: Mobility, equipement, supply chain...

A pioneer in supporting the energy transition

  • Financing the energy transition – The Group is ahead of schedule to contribute more than €300bn to the energy transition between 2022 and 2025, through a dedicated range of sustainable financing solutions (loans, bonds, advisory).
  • Renewable energies – To support the transition of the sector, Societe Generale has been supporting the development of renewable energies for more than 20 years; ranked No. 1 in financing for the EMEA region at the end of June 2021 (Dealogic).
  • Supporting clients' sustainable development issues – In our retail and global banking activities, as well as in our specialised financial services, such as insurance and fleet management, the Group is developing positive impact through solutions in the areas of consulting, financing and investment.
  • Solutions for the future – Societe Generale is part of various coalitions to find innovative solutions with our clients in their sectors. In particular, the Group was the first European bank to join the Hydrogen Council.

CSR governance and own operations

  • A strengthened organisation: CSR policies and their implementation are monitored by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer; the Sustainable Development department is under the direct responsibility of General Management; CSR is built into the mandates of the Heads of the business lines and support functions. 

  • Investment in ESG training programmes for our staff to enable them all to act responsibly in favour of the climate and become actors of the energy transition.

  • A new commitment to reduce the Group's own carbon emissions by 50% between 2019 and 2030 by acting on the energy required for buildings, IT, air travel and vehicle fleet. The Group has also decided to ban single-use plastics in the workplace by 2025 across the world, and earlier where relevant according to geographies.

Recognised expertise 

  • Bank of the Year for Sustainability - IFR Awards 2021
  • Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainability 2021 - The Banker
  • Best Investment Bank for Sustainable Finance 2022 - Global Finance 
  • Global Best Bank Transition Strategy – Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2022


Towards inclusive, transparent and accountable digital activity

In November 2019, the Group announced our signature of the Sustainable IT Charter. In doing so, we joined the 28 companies, not-for-profits and public actors who signed these commitments issued by the Institut du Numérique Responsable (Institute for responsible digital activity, or INR) – a think tank for responsible IT – of which the Group is a founding member. This charter is proof of our commitment to a process of digital transformation that seeks to limit global warming and promotes social inclusion.