UBS in society

Driving change that matters

Enslaved at 19

Predators used social media to blackmail her into sex trafficking, in San Diego. Stories like hers inspired a new prevention More program to teach about human trafficking, and stop it from happening.

Protecting oceans

Life below water is one of the biggest influencers of life on land. Learn what threats face marine life, how we can address them More and how to tell if something sounds fishy.

Why we get involved

Driving change in the world needs leadership. As one of the world's largest wealth managers, we have a responsibility to take a leading role in shaping a positive future – for all of us and the generations to come.

We're developing new financial products that have positive impact on the environment and society. With partners and clients we're constantly innovating in the field of philanthropy. And we're continuously establishing new standards of doing business sustainably.

Myths and facts

Our climate strategy

Myth 1

UBS doesn’t care about the climate – the only thing that matters to them is profit.

Fact

An intact climate is in everyone’s interest and we are aware of the consequences of climate change. This is why we have a climate strategy that applies across the entire bank. Economic growth and consequently also of our bank is fundamentally possible only by managing environment-related topics responsibly. We promote sustainability on many fronts.

Myth 2

UBS isn’t interested in climate change, and especially not where investment strategies are concerned.

Fact

Wrong. We know that climate change harbours risks for our clients. We are in a position to outline these risks and help our clients to handle them. A notable example is our Climate Aware Fund. The portfolio is oriented towards companies that are better prepared for a low carbon future. The fund reduces its exposure to, rather than excluding, companies with higher carbon risk. This allows to pursue a strategic engagement with these companies in order to encourage their management to transition towards a low carbon economy. Asset Management has implemented an engagement program with 50 oil & gas and utilities companies underweighted in the fund.

Myth 3

UBS is not interested in efforts to transition to a low-carbon world. On the contrary, it actually benefits from doing business with climate offenders.

Fact

Comprehensive standards for environmental and social risks govern our relationships with our clients and suppliers, including clear criteria on what types of transactions we will not finance. For example, we’ve been so cautious when it comes to palm oil that we stopped financing companies in that industry years ago. And we do not finance new coal-fired power plants. We have drastically scaled back our financing of companies which have a negative impact on the climate – down 60% from 2017. It is important for us to keep shifting towards sustainability in such decisions. What’s more, we often have cases where we actually achieve more when we work together with companies to engage in more sustainable strategies than just pulling out altogether.

Myth 4

UBS doesn’t feel compelled to take a leading role in greater climate protection.

Fact

Quite the contrary. We are well aware of our responsibilities and want to take a leading role in climate protection. For example, we aim to be the leading provider of sustainable investment solutions, expanding our range of products and raising awareness among clients and investors. Starting of course on our own doorstep, by halving the number of kilometres flown worldwide from one billion (2007) to 515 million (2018) for example, and since 2007, we’ve been offsetting all of our emissions from business air travel. We have also committed to covering 100% of our energy needs from renewable sources by the end of 2020. This is already the case in Switzerland.

Myth 5

By financing the 47 biggest “climate-killer” firms, Credit Suisse and UBS caused twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as all the inhabitants and industries of Switzerland in 2017 alone.

Fact

We regard this statement as false and misleading since it is based on questionable calculations. Last year we financed companies developing renewable energies with over USD 55 billion. We also sold climate-related, sustainable investments to clients worth USD 80 billion.

What we do

Reshape finance

Innovative financing can be good for society, good for the environment, and give good returns. In fact, we think they all go hand in hand.

Pioneer in philanthropy

We know how to make measurable, scalable and lasting impact.

Support communities

We encourage employees to put their valuable skills to use for entrepreneurship and education.

Manage our actions

We challenge ourselves and our peers to raise the bar, work in sync with each other, and be open about the impact our actions have on society and the environment.

What we have achieved

2.8 million

Children reached by the UBS Optimus Foundation in 2018¹

36%

Employees who volunteered in 2018. Over 25,000 employees¹

100% 

Electricity from renewable energy in Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Luxembourg and Austria.¹

313 billion

Core sustainable investments under management (+72%) in 2018 (USD)¹

#TOGETHERBAND

We're proud to have joined forces with sustainable accessories brand BOTTLETOP to raise public awareness and action for all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 100% of profits go to life-changing projects working towards the goals.

How we support the SDGs

Explore the real life stories of how we contributed to the 2030 UN Goals. Simply use the filter options below.

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Read our reports

Our reports, standards and commitments are available for all to see. We believe it's important to be upfront and honest. And while we're proud of how far we've come, we also know there's still a lot more for us to do.

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Invest for good

If you are a private investor, see how to invest for returns and drive change through sustainable investing

Sustainable and impact investing

If you are an institutional investor, let's redefine the way you think about sustainable investing

Impactful philanthropy

Breakthrough solutions to pressing social issues. See how you can have an impact

UBS Global Visionaries

Social enterprises that work to achieve the UN Sustainable development goals

1 UBS Group, GRI Report 2018, Sustainability Reporting Information.