Sustainability in governance

In view of the many environmental and social challenges globally, and their pressing relevance, we regularly and critically assess our environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and practices.

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We continue to integrate sustainability topics in our employee life cycle activities – with the explicit ambition of being an employer of choice, as well as expanding our sustainable finance offering across UBS. Our sustainability-oriented governance enables us to support the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs), while fostering corporate responsible behavior. Our firm’s sustainability and corporate culture activities are overseen at the highest level of our firm and are founded in UBS’s Code of Conduct and Ethics. We draw on insights from external experts and our stakeholders to challenge our thinking – we put great emphasis on learning the views and values of our stakeholders with regard to the business activities of UBS and its role in society.

Code of Conduct and Ethics

The code is the basis for all UBS policies, guidelines and statements relating to each employee’s personal commitment to appropriate and responsible corporate behavior. It includes all of our human resources policies, guidelines and procedures, and our commitment to the health and safety of employees and external staff.

Sustainability-related training and raising awareness

We actively engage in education and increasing awareness on corporate responsibility and sustainability topics, and we promote employees’ understanding of our firm’s sustainability-oriented goals and progress toward them. Through employee volunteering programs, we help raise awareness of UBS in Society and its mission and impact.

We’ve recently updated our environmental and social risk policy, we also strengthened our commitment to climate action and in my role as Chief Risk Officer I make sure that the firm delivers on our commitments.

UBS in Society

UBS in Society is a dedicated internal organization for all our activities and capabilities related to sustainable finance (including sustainable investing), philanthropy, climate and human rights policies, our environmental footprint, and community investment. The UBS in Society constitutional document defines the principles and responsibilities to support the SDGs and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Environmental and social risk (ESR) policy framework

Our environmental and social risk framework is deeply rooted in our culture. It governs client and suppliers relationships and applies firm-wide to all activities. The framework is integrated into our management practices and control principles, and is overseen at the most senior level of our firm.

Industry standards and benchmarking

We actively engage in regular discussions about corporate responsibility and sustainability issues with specialists in peer banks, and more widely through trade bodies and associations. Sharing experiences and assessments of corporate responsibility and sustainability issues helps us to compare and improve our strategy, approach and tools.

Stakeholder feedback

Every two years, we conduct a materiality assessment that draws on formal and informal monitoring, from our dialog with stakeholders and from relevant external studies and reports. As part of the assessment, we consider stakeholder views on key topics pertaining to UBS’s economic, social and environmental performance and impacts. We also invite stakeholders to directly share their views through our biennial online survey. We plan to undertake a stakeholder survey again in 2021.

Our commitment

We want to be the financial provider of choice for clients who wish to mobilize capital toward the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the orderly transition to a low-carbon economy.

UBS Sustainability Report

We strive to report openly and transparently about our firm’s sustainability strategy and activities, consistently applying our firm’s information policy and disclosures principles. The core medium for our sustainability disclosure is the Sustainability Report 2020, supplemented – as referenced in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Context Index – by other relevant information that can be found in the UBS Annual Report 2020 and

UBS Annual Report 2020 and Sustainability Report 2020 can be found on

Our ambitions for sustainability

A leader in sustainable finance

We achieved an ambitious sustainable goal a year ahead of schedule: we surpassed the commitment to direct at least USD 5 billion of client assets into SDG-related impact investments, mobilizing USD 6.9 billion of capital at the end of 2020.

A recognized innovator and thought leader in philanthropy

We’re bringing our clients, partners and extensive network together to support SDG-focused initiatives. We do this through evidence-based grant-making and innovative social finance, finding the most effective ways to use capital to drive social change. In 2020, we increased charitable contributions to UBS Optimus Foundation by 74 percent, raising USD 168 million in donations.

An industry leader in sustainable business practices

We are committed to reducing our own environmental impact, consciously managing UBS products, services and in-house operations. For the sixth consecutive year, UBS has been named the industry group leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (the DJSI).

An employer of choice

Employees are our most valuable asset. We want to attract new talent and develop and empower our existing staff. In 2020, for the 12th year running, we were named one of the Top 50 World’s Most Attractive Employers by employer branding specialist Universum.

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