Commitment to sustainability continued and developed
Commerzbank’s new “Corporate Responsibility Report 2009”, which gives a detailed account of 2007 and 2008, is scheduled to be published in autumn 2009. In the following overview we provide examples of our commitment to sustainability and report on current developments in this area.
Developments in the domestic and international financial markets had a major impact on 2008, particularly in the second half of the year. Commerzbank was and continues to be affected - as we explain in other sections of this report. Nevertheless Commerzbank is still firmly committed to taking its corporate responsibility seriously and putting it into practice. It is our conviction that sustainable action can make a crucial contribution to enhancing the value and securing the future of Commerzbank.
Examples of our activities for promoting sustainable action
We financed our first mid-sized projects in the field of renewable energies back in the 1980s. With its diversity of products and services, including in particular corporate and project financing along the entire value chain of renewable energy, Commerzbank is today one of Europe’s leading banks in this sector. Our comprehensive expertise in financing renewable energies is concentrated in our centre of excellence. In 2008 we actively pursued the expansion of our competence centre and the internationalization of our business with a particular focus on Asia and the US.
The EntrepreneurialPerspectives initiative addresses current topics and issues that entrepreneurs in Germany face on a daily basis. The results of two studies in the past year “Climate protection – opportunities and challenges for small and mid-sized companies” and “The changing values of business”, which we published in collaboration with TNS Infratest, were discussed extensively in numerous dialogue events at our regional branches with entrepreneurs, business associations, politicians and academics. This initiative has created a mutually beneficial network for the participants.
With our appointment of the first environmental manager at a major German bank in 1990, we heralded a new era in corporate environmental management. Today environmental protection is integrated in practically all our processes – such as building operation, structural engineering measures, procurement and logistics. In 2008 we developed an environmental management system which is being certified at the beginning of 2009.
Commerzbank has identified strategic areas of action for itself to help limit the impact of climate change. One important area of activity is corporate environmental protection which includes continual efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions. To help achieve this goal Commerzbank increased the percentage of its electricity from renewable energy sources to 61% of its total consumption throughout Germany in 2008. This percentage will be gradually increased to 100%. A further strategic area of action is integrating the topic of climate change into our core business. We would like to use our financial services to make a sustainable contribution to climate protection, in particular by promoting renewable energies.
The “Internship for the Environment”
Every year Commerzbank provides 50 students with the opportunity to complete an “Internship for the Environment”, a three or six-month internship at a German national park, nature reserve or biosphere reserve. In the past 19 years, over 1,000 students have participated in an “Internship for the Environment”. In 2007 the German UNESCO commission named this project an official “Decade Project” as part of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
Diversity enriches our lives and our day-to-day work relationships at Commerzbank, which is why for many years now we have instituted numerous practice-based measures to promote individuality in our company. Examples of our commitment include our support of employee networks and our Kids & Co. day care centre.
The Commerzbank Foundation
The endowment of the Commerzbank Foundation, which was founded in 1970, has grown to over 50 million euros since its inception. The funding policy has focused on three major areas: education and research, art and culture, and social projects. It generally supports nationwide, centralized institutions such as the Christian Association of Youth Villages, the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, a German foundation dedicated to music, and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Grants provided by the endowment total around two million euros each year.
Together with the German Olympic Sports Foundation (DOSC), Commerzbank has been supporting volunteer work in sports since 2000. Because volunteering is an important pillar of our society, in 2007 Commerzbank expanded its activities to other areas of community life and entered into a co-operation with the National Network for Civil Society (BBE).
Campus of Excellence
The Campus of Excellence initiative launched by Commerzbank in 2005 promotes networking between high-achieving school pupils, college and university students, outstanding managers and young journalists and contacts from higher education, research, professional associations and business. Now more than 70 partners support this initiative for excellence, which is currently the only one of its kind. Participants include well-known industrial companies, colleges and universities, many regional and national partners and representatives from various European countries.