The importance of corporate sustainability in a world in crisis mode

corporate

The importance of corporate sustainability in a world in crisis mode

Ebba Lepage - Head of Corporate Sustainability

Ebba Lepage

Head of Corporate Sustainability

There’s strength in numbers. And that certainly rings true as companies work towards a more sustainable economic model. Right now, we’re battling the COVID-19 crisis - a pandemic causing great suffering to the world population whilst severely challenging the global economy. The importance of corporate sustainability has indeed proven itself. In such a global crisis, it is clear which companies have a strong corporate sustainability framework in place and which do not.

COVID-19 is causing great suffering to the world population whilst severely challenging the global economy. The importance of corporate sustainability has indeed proven itself

This unexpected emergency is not the first one we, at Lombard Odier, have faced throughout our history. Thus, we have had a crisis plan in place for a number of years. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have made it possible for employees to work from home in safety, with all the technological support needed, ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff and securing business continuity in the interest of our clients.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of solidarity and mutual help.  An example is the participation of Lombard Odier and other institutions in the Geneva University Hospitals Covid-19 Task Force, which allowed for the shipment of planeloads of medical equipment to the Geneva Canton and its hospitals


Building a better future

The transition towards a sustainable economic model requires companies to have solid corporate sustainability frameworks in place.  But we do not work alone. We are a part of a broader social and environmental ecosystem and as a signatory to the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, Lombard Odier adheres to its Ten Principles. We are also proud to have achieved B Corp certification in 2019. In our view, companies that are taking measures to become more sustainable will be better positioned to respond to the many unstoppable trends and changes in motion today.

As a certified B Corp we participate in a global movement of over 3,200 companies across 150 industries in more than 70 countries, which fits well with our independent ownership model and entrepreneurial mind-set. B Corp is one of the most recognised private certifications granted to companies with the highest standards of corporate sustainability practices. The certification process reviewed five key areas: Governance, Employees, Community, Environment and Customers. Each area was, in turn, thoroughly analysed so that our actions and achievements could be precisely determined.  We appreciated this process because a neutral third-party assessment showed us our strengths and where we have room for improvement.


Companies at the heart of the transition

Our investment strategy was recognised as a positive factor in regards to our B Corp certification. Our conviction is that sustainability will be the main driver of future returns. We believe that the most sustainable companies are going to outperform – they are the winners of tomorrow. Since 1997, we have been integrating sustainability into our products and constantly refine our approach and analysis.

We believe that the most sustainable companies are going to outperform – they are the winners of tomorrow

Our recently launched Climate Transition Strategy reflects our approach that companies who are transitioning towards a net zero world stand to benefit from significant growth opportunities. Our focus on creating best-in-class sustainable ­­­­­­­investment solutions was recognised and we were awarded “Best of the World” Honoree 2019 in the customer category.

Going further

We have integrated a sustainable framework into our supply chain and have long supported social improvement through our philanthropic and community efforts. We are, for example, a founding partner of the EPFL Center for Digital Trust where a multi-data source project to identify missing persons is under way. Furthermore, we continuously provide financial support in the medical and educational fields; we have joined forces with Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to fund cancer research. Internally, our colleagues engage and spend time volunteering in their local communities. In Switzerland, employees volunteer using our partnership with Alaya, a social engagement platform. Other offices worldwide, from London to Singapore and Nassau, also volunteer their time locally. As the impact of COVID-19 spreads, we expect to see an increased need for these efforts. 


Reducing our footprint

Reducing our CO2 footprint is of the utmost importance and we continue our efforts in the Environment category.  In Geneva, we have reduced our electricity use by 1/3 over the past decade.

Last year, worldwide, we recycled 78 tons of paper and 3 tons of plastic. In addition, our 1 ton of recycled coffee capsules would equate to 21 bicycles if manufactured from recycled aluminium. In 2019, we saw a 17% increase in train travel and a 15% decrease in plane travel.  But we can, and will, do more.

The B Corp assessment contributes to our roadmap for continuously improving our sustainability initiatives. We encourage our employees to participate in the B Corp network to share best practices with other companies.

The B Corp assessment contributes to our roadmap for continuously improving our sustainability initiatives

The outreach between B Corps during the current pandemic was immediate, as was the reiteration that now we must not waver from the transition to a sustainable economy.  We firmly believe that the world is moving towards a more sustainable economic model, but we also recognise that all stakeholders must work together to achieve it.

Important information

This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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