Why sustainability?

A brief introduction from Huw van Steenis

We use the word sustainable a lot. Skim through this publication and you’ll find it, or a derivative of it, used 92 times. This is for good reason: at UBS, sustainability is moving into the mainstream as a critical component for our clients and stakeholders. Across the firm, we are seeing clients turn to us for advice on how they can finance the transition to a lower-carbon economy, support sustainable finance and better risk manage their portfolios and businesses.

We believe the transition to a lower-carbon economy will require large-scale reallocations of capital and investment in infrastructure – perhaps as much as USD 100 trillion globally over the next decade. We want to help our clients take advantage of these opportunities, as well as manage the numerous risks associated with this transformational challenge. We are looking to create more scalable sustainable and impact investing solutions that seek to deliver competitive financial returns, and to advise our corporate clients on risks to their business models, while driving positive environmental, social and governance outcomes.

Sustainability is a firm-wide priority, focusing on climate change and a range of 21st-century risks, and it is also a strategic growth opportunity. Building on UBS’s global wealth management experience, we want to bring the full strength of the firm to benefit our clients.

UBS has been pursuing these developments and we made significant progress throughout 2019. Within this publication, you can read about some of the milestones we have achieved – from the growth of our multi-asset sustainable investing mandate to our expanding work with institutional clients pioneering new technologies to a global movement we have launched to make our industry more inclusive and diverse overall.

Transitioning our world to a lower-carbon economy and continuing to drive improvements in larger society is a long-term initiative. We are still in the early stages of the journey. We recognize that there is not one right thing to do but we will be relentless and open minded in enhancing what we do for clients, shareholders and stakeholders on this transition.


Huw van Steenis
Senior Advisor to the CEO
Chair Sustainable Finance Steering Committee, UBS

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