Sustainability is not only a feature of DZ BANK’s core business. We also try to minimize our impact on the environment at our offices. Our engagement in this area ranges from efficient building technology and green travel to sustainable purchasing and end-to-end management of resources and waste. At the same time, through our climate strategy, we are setting ourselves ambitious targets aimed at making us more efficient. The activities we are undertaking to protect the environment are intended to show our colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders just what improvements are possible.

Responsibility at boardroom level

Ultimate responsibility for sustainability lies directly with the Chief Executive Officer of DZ BANK AG, Wolfgang Kirsch. Dr. Christian Brauckmann, member of the Board of Managing Directors responsible for IT and Organization, is in charge of environmental matters. Kurt Friebertshäuser has been DZ BANK's environmental management officer since 2013 and is primarily responsible for coordinating all environmental activities and achieving the climate target.

Environmental protection: A matter for all divisions

DZ BANK aims to apply the principles of climate protection in every one of its divisions. The specific areas of action are the energy efficiency of our buildings, employees’ paper consumption, business travel, and the running of our cafeterias. In the cafeterias, we use local produce, offer eco-friendly dishes, and – as is the case throughout the bank – are continually working on ways to reduce water consumption. Moreover, organic waste is recycled and converted into a clean source of energy by food waste company ReFood.

Our overarching objectives for environmental protection in the bank include optimizing the consumption of resources, making greater use of renewable energies, and thereby reducing our direct and indirect CO2 emissions. Where it is not possible to avoid CO2 emissions, we want to increasingly offset them in order to minimize our environmental footprint.

But climate change is not only a consideration in our internal processes; it also affects product development. We see ourselves as a provider of funding for the switch to renewable energy sources and offer products and advisory services that reflect this. DZ BANK's current lending volume in the renewable energies segment is approximately €4.7 billion. The cooperative financial network as a whole is one of the main funding partners for the energy transition in Germany.

Environmental protection in the lending process

Our lending process includes a sustainability check, which considers not only environmental standards but also social and ethical principles. The investigations that we carry out in sensitive areas are particularly thorough, and we have implemented sectoral rules for forestry, extractive industries, dam projects, and maritime industries that we regularly improve and update. In addition, special investment certificate products cater to our customers who wish to invest specifically in sustainability. We also support issuers that want to use green bonds to raise capital for socially responsible, environmentally friendly, or sustainability-oriented projects and markets.

Equator Principles

In January 2013, DZ BANK made a commitment to implement the Equator Principles, a set of guidelines drawn up by international project finance institutions, and to report on its activities in this regard. In signing up to this voluntary undertaking, we have assumed responsibility for the environment and society.

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Project finance

Continuous improvement in environmental performance

DZ BANK endeavors to improve its environmental performance and environmental management on an ongoing basis. Based on specific environmental policy targets, our environmental management system enables us to determine meaningful data and therefore continuously monitor environmental impacts. We set ourselves medium-term targets as part of our sustainability program that help us to progressively improve our environmental footprint.

Increasing awareness of climate protection

The involvement of our employees, customers, and suppliers is critical to the achievement of our targets. Only if everyone understands why climate protection is such a high priority at DZ BANK can we work together toward our targets. That is why we regularly pass on environmental tips to our employees, insist that our service providers are disciplined in protecting the environment, and show our customers how important climate change is to us by engaging in relevant activities.

Overall, we are on the right track with our sustainability activities. This is regularly confirmed by the sustainability rating received from the sustainability ratings agency oekom research AG, which has awarded its prime status for particularly sustainable companies to the DZ BANK Group since 2011. Following the merger of DZ BANK and WGZ BANK and the consolidation of the two banks' prime ratings by oekom research, the DZ BANK Group continues to hold prime status (i.e. a rating of C+).

Lessening our impact on the environment

DZ BANK’s aim is to keep the environmental impact of its business activities to a minimum. The greatest potential for doing so is at our headquarters in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. Environmental experts at DZ BANK are relentlessly utilizing this potential, thereby helping to shrink our environmental footprint and cut costs.

Eco-friendly catering at our Frankfurt office

What we choose to eat has a big impact on the environment. After all, it is not only CO2 emissions that are a factor in climate change. Methane produced by animals also contributes to the greenhouse effect. In August 2015, we introduced the KlimaTeller – an eco-friendly menu for cafeterias, refectories, and staff restaurants – at our Frankfurt office. We are the first company in Frankfurt to have introduced the KlimaTeller in its cafeteria. The KlimaTeller dishes minimize CO2 emissions because of the ingredients that are used and their method of preparation. They do not feature beef or other red meat, for example, or dairy products with a fat content in excess of 15 percent. Every day, our cafeteria offers two to three dishes that meet the KlimaTeller criteria. It gives employees the chance to do their bit for the environment just by eating their lunch. At the same time, we are helping to raise awareness of the connection between our food choices and the effect these can have on the environment.