The restrictions imposed by the pandemic also made 2021 a challenging year. Communication with customers, internal meetings and training, and development sessions had to be conducted largely virtually. On the positive side, the use of new tools and platforms simplified the provision of information and networking of teams and global locations.
Six sustainability commitments
Vontobel further developed its sustainability governance in the year under review. All relevant client areas and centers of excellence are now represented at the management level in the Group-wide Corporate Sustainability Committee. In parallel, Vontobel has added six commitments to its sustainability positioning that define our contribution to a more sustainable economy and society:
- Net zero by 2030: in our own investments (our own financial investments in the banking book) and operational activities.
- Information and advice: We advise our customers on the opportunities of the shift towards a sustainable economy.
- We offer investment solutions that focus on companies that are addressing current sustainability challenges.
- Investment decisions based on, among other things, ESG standards and taking into account material ESG risks including climate change.
- Diversity and equal opportunity: performance culture based on mutual respect and zero tolerance of any form of discrimination.
- Transparency: transparent disclosure and reporting
Product range: our contribution to transparency and comparability.
Since March 2021, the “Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation” (abbreviated SFDR) has been in force as part of the EU Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth. As a globally active financial expert, not all of our products fall within the scope of this European regulation.
However, in the interests of transparency and comparability, we have decided to classify all investment solutions that take ESG criteria into account not only according to our own “Integrated ESG” and “Sustainable” product categories but also according to SFDR. For investment solutions that are not subject to regulation, we apply the classification analogously. ESG stands for “environmental, social, governance”, i.e., factors relating to the environment, society, and corporate governance.
In total, Vontobel managed CHF 144 billion of investment solutions that take ESG criteria into account as of December 31, 2021 (excluding structured solutions).
Dedicated to climate protection
Our Corporate Real Estate Strategy is linked to our Sustainability Strategy. When selecting and renovating office buildings, we systematically focus on environmentally friendly and energy-efficient measures to achieve energy savings. These include high energy standards and good insulation of the building shell. Vontobel has been purchasing electricity from renewable sources for all its locations globally since 2013. Since 2021, all buildings on the Zurich Campus have been heated and cooled using heat pumps that are fed with water from Lake Zurich. Vontobel’s operations have been carbon-neutral since January 1, 2009 (Scope 1, 2 and 3). By purchasing CO2 emission certificates amounting to our annually emitted greenhouse gas emissions, we support projects that save the same quantity of emissions. The Corporate Sustainability Committee once again selected a climate neutrality project with a focus on rainforest conservation and the protection of biodiversity in 2021.
Promotion of young talent
The Vontobel Graduate Trainee Program (GTP) has been promoting the successful integration of young talents within our organization since 2011. In October 2021, the largest group of trainees to date started the program, which was extended to cover all business areas for the first time. On its tenth anniversary we are now running trainee programs in all our international locations. We set ourselves ambitious targets in terms of employee diversity when hiring graduates. For example, almost half of the trainees that we have won are women. The program includes a development plan that contains various networking and further training opportunities.