• Suni Harford appointed Group Executive Board member responsible for Sustainability & Impact
  • UBS to develop a detailed climate action plan setting science-based targets
  • UBS further tightens environmental standards for financing carbon-related assets to pursue our net zero ambitions

Zurich, 22 April 2021 – UBS Group AG has announced tougher environmental standards and will develop a detailed road map for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across all its operations by 2050. Our firm has long been on the path to a more sustainable future, as evidenced by our leading sustainability ratings as well as our strong sustainable finance business performance, and this is the next step in our journey. We’re appointing a Group Executive Board sponsor to lead our efforts on climate and sustainability, setting new financing standards and further evolving plans to support our clients’ transition to a low-carbon world. As a founding member, we’ll work closely with peers in the Net Zero Banking Alliance toward a lower-carbon global economy.

Suni Harford, President of UBS Asset Management (UBS AM), has been appointed Group Executive Board sponsor for Sustainability and Impact, where she will lead these efforts across the firm in line with our net zero commitments, in addition to her current responsibilities. Suni has played a central role in driving the expansion of UBS AM’s sustainable investing capabilities and the integration of ESG into the firm’s investment processes. She joined UBS in 2017 as UBS AM’s Head of Investments and prior to this worked at Citigroup for almost 25 years. Suni is also a co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Investing.

Today, with the publication of our Net Zero statement, we’re outlining our climate ambitions for the future that build on more than two decades of sustainability leadership and cover our company, our clients, communities and our employees.

Our company

We’re committed to leading by example to be credible partners to our clients.

  • Executive alignment. All members of the Group Executive Board will have ESG-related objectives aligned with our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Environmental footprint. By 2025, we’ll target net zero direct (scope 1) and energy indirect (scope 2) emissions by purchasing and producing 100% renewable electricity. We’ll work toward offsetting our historical emissions back to the year 2000 based on credible and transparent carbon offsets and investments in nature-based solutions.
  • Treasury portfolio. We’ll mobilize capital through the investment choices of our company, and commit to invest in sustainable funds and assets where we have the discretion to do so. We plan to issue an inaugural UBS green bond.

Our clients

We’ll work to raise awareness among our clients about the risks and opportunities surrounding climate, and manage our financing relationships in line with social and environmental criteria.

  • More insight, more choice. We’ll provide investing clients with more information and analytics on net zero investing and climate risk and opportunity, and further integrate sustainability into our investment processes.
  • Supporting client transition. We’ll assist financing clients to transition to a lower-carbon economy which will help them access the capital markets more effectively. Client relationships will be subject to review against our established Environmental and Social Risk framework, as well as the client’s progress toward stated company transition objectives.
  • Tighter financing standards. Our exposure to carbon-related assets on our banking balance sheet is already relatively low, at 1.9% or USD 5.4 billion as at 31 December 20201. We’ll set clear, science-based targets further aligning our financing portfolio with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. And we’re making changes to our ESR framework to further reduce the risk appetite for carbon-related assets.

Our communities and employees

How we interact with the larger world matters. We’ll work to address wealth inequality through a sharpened focus of our client and corporate philanthropy and employee-led Community Affairs activities on health and education – two key levers in forging a fairer, more prosperous society. We’ve set an ambitious goal to raise USD 1 billion in donations for our client philanthropy foundations and funds by 2025.

As a responsible employer, we’ll continue to shape a diverse and inclusive organization that is innovative, provides outstanding service to our clients, offers equitable opportunities and is a great place to work for everyone. We’ll hold ourselves accountable for our progress.

We’ll publish a comprehensive climate action plan later this year setting science-based targets, including intermediate milestones.

Group Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers: “We want to set the industry standard for sustainability with clear commitments to helping people and the planet. Suni Harford is a champion of sustainability with a strong track-record having embedded sustainable investing across our Asset Management division. She’s ideally positioned to lead our efforts across the firm as we, and our clients, transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Suni Harford, President of UBS Asset Management and Group Executive Board sponsor for Sustainability and Impact: “We’re preparing a detailed roadmap to net zero which places climate at the core of our sustainability strategy. It’s high on our clients’ agendas and we want to do more to help them on this journey.”

UBS Group AG

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS's strategy is centered on our leading global wealth management business and our premier universal bank in Switzerland, enhanced by Asset Management and the Investment Bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient, and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30% of its employees working in the Americas, 31% in Switzerland, 19% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 20% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs over 68,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

UBS Group AG

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