en
    “Our employees are proud of our B Corp certification” an interview with Ebba Lepage, our Head of Corporate Sustainability

    in the news

    “Our employees are proud of our B Corp certification” an interview with Ebba Lepage, our Head of Corporate Sustainability

    Interview with Ebba Lepage by Ingris Seithumer published on 27 October 2021 on Heidi News

    Ebba Lepage is Head of Corporate Sustainability at Lombard Odier. This private Swiss group, a major player in wealth and asset management, was the first international banking institution to gain a B Corp certification, a sustainability label awarded to companies that incorporate social, societal and environmental objectives in their mission and their economic model.

    Read the interview below.

     

    Lombard Odier Group was B Corp certified in 2019. Why did you embark on this process?

    Firstly, it is important to remember that sustainability is in our bank’s DNA. Lombard Odier is a family business founded in 1796, which has served its clients for seven generations. If it had not always been committed to taking good care of its employees, clients and community, it would undoubtedly no longer exist today. At the turn of the 21st century, several issues arose simultaneously, with environmental, social and governance criteria assuming increasing importance in our investment policy. We also needed to formalise our internal actions, our values in terms of how we treated our employees, and our environmental approach. How we conduct ourselves as a business is just as important as the products we sell. It was important for us to find a framework that reflected our business and our company as a whole.

    How we conduct ourselves as a business is just as important as the products we sell

    Why B Corp?

    B Corp certification, which has been gaining international recognition since 2007, well outlined our achievements. The certification requirements concern our business, as well as our human resources, our governance, our suppliers, etc. “Re-certification” takes place every three years and we are now preparing for the next one in 2022.

     

    Are the B Corp certification requirements sufficiently stringent to bring about major changes in companies for a more sustainable world?

    Yes, the criteria are strict and provide a good framework for companies. Companies who become B Corp certified have already put in place a solid framework of responsible behaviour, but as a B Corp company, you always try to improve even more.

    I notice every day that our employees are proud of this certification and all the values and actions that underpin it

    What effect has this approach had within the bank?

    In order to obtain B Corp certification, we have to amend our articles of association to incorporate social and environmental aspects. This makes our approach official and we must ensure that we take into account the impact of each of our decisions on our stakeholders. This means that everyone in the organisation is involved. To ensure our employees are fully engaged, we must train, inform and educate those who are in contact with clients and those who are not. I notice every day that our employees are proud of this certification and all the values and actions that underpin it. It is also very important for our future employees and our young candidates. They must feel that we are committed to values that they share.

     

    What difficulties have you encountered?

    Our teams are now split between several old buildings in Geneva and Lancy. This situation limits the possibilities of improving their well-being or our energy efficiency. We cannot wait to move to our new Bellevue headquarters in 2023. We will then be able to bring all our employees together in one highly sustainable building, where the environment will be better for our staff, with plenty of light and space, the most suitable materials, a fitness area etc. We are also going to develop green transport, by providing electric bicycles, for example. Our new building, being sustainable, will reflect our philosophy. Over and above B Corp certification, we are also committed, among other things, to improving our carbon footprint, and in 2020 we published our first Corporate Sustainability Report.

    We cannot wait to move to our new Bellevue headquarters in 2023. We will then be able to bring all our employees together in one highly sustainable building

    What does that mean in practical terms?

    Our carbon emissions essentially come from energy use and our employees’ travel. With regards to the energy issue, we are going to have numerous solar panels and collect rainwater etc. It’s a huge undertaking. We also work with our suppliers to ensure that they adopt a sustainable approach, which is not always obvious. On the travel front, even before COVID we had reduced our air travel by 17%, giving preference to train travel. We are now aiming to strike the right balance between virtual meetings and travel because, as a bank, meeting our clients face-to-face is an important part of what we do.

    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.

    Read more.

     

    let's talk.
    share.
    newsletter.