1 SZKB and sustainability
as an integral part of
Schwyzer Kantonalbank (SZKB) is an independent institution under Cantonal public law and wholly owned by the Canton of Schwyz. Founded in 1890, SZKB conducts the business of a universal bank. The central pillars of its existence are defined in the Cantonal Law on the Schwyzer Kantonalbank (current version as of 17 February 2010). This law also defines the geographical scope in which SZKB does business.
«Section 9 Geographical scope of business
- The geographical scope of business primarily includes the Canton of Schwyz.
- Business in the rest of Switzerland and abroad is permissible if the Bank does not incur any disproportionate risks and the satisfaction of the money and credit needs within the Canton is not impaired by this activity.
- As a rule, the Bank’s foreign assets may not exceed 5% of the total balance sheet.»
SZKB’s headquarters is located in Schwyz.
SZKB consistently implements all regulatory requirements and supports the ambitions of the Federal Council, the supervisory authority and the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) of creating a sustainable financial centre.
SZKB is aware that in its role as a bank, it has special significance for sustainability. The Bank therefore seeks to integrate sustainability into all of its activities.
SZKB’s approach to sustainability is based on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with SZKB committed to all 17 of these SDGs.
In mid-2021, a broad dialogue was conducted with selected employees from various hierarchical levels and different departments. In the presence of the Chief Executive Officer and other members of the Executive Board, the participants discussed and evaluated the 17 SDGs and how they relate to SZKB’s business activities. On the basis of this materiality analysis, SZKB decided to focus its activities on seven SDGs in order to make the greatest possible impact.
SDG no. 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
With regard to its employees, this goal is of particular concern to SZKB. To work efficiently and perform the demanding tasks of a bank, people need to be healthy – both physically and mentally. As a bank, SZKB can actively support the health and well-being of society through prudent investment decisions.
SDG no. 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality
education and promote lifelong learning opportunities
Sustainability must become integral to the consciousness and daily actions of each individual. Internally, SZKB focuses on the action area of lifelong learning and continuing education in regard to all topics relating to the core business and sustainability. Externally, imparting financial literacy to all generations plays a central role for SZKB, as people have goals and challenges that differ at every stage of life.
SDG no. 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower
all women and girls
SZKB wants to attract, nurture and retain the best minds – regardless of gender. As an attractive employer of all genders and generations, SZKB promotes women into management positions and strives for parity. Externally, SZKB
serves as a role model, motivating girls and women to be independent. The different needs of the clients are recognised and taken into account in the provision of advisory services.
SDG no. 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote
inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster
For SZKB, sustainability drives innovation in its own products and processes as well as those of its corporate clients. SZKB encourages socially responsible digital transformation and transparent processes. By providing financial support for projects, SZKB fosters the development of sustainable technologies in the Canton.
SDG no. 12 – Ensure sustainable consumption
and production patterns
Internally, this goal relates to operational ecology at SZKB branches in particular, and the supply chain also plays a major role. Through the selection of products it buys, SZKB seeks to foster environmental and socially responsible methods of production.
SDG no. 13 – Take urgent action to combat
climate change and its impacts
Climate change is a challenge for humanity that can no longer be averted. To contribute to the minimisation of climate change, SZKB is actively shaping the energy transition in the Canton and making its contribution to reducing emissions. This is possible within the framework of operational ecology. However, banks have the advantage of the leveraging effect of money, and this must also be used in the interest of climate change. The climate in Switzerland is becoming warmer, wetter and more extreme, and it is important to provide support for projects that increase resilience in preparation for the future. SZKB keeps these developments in mind when making financing decisions.
SDG no. 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation
and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable
Sustainability is a challenge that must be addressed through cooperative action by all major actors of society. SZKB needs partners to bring sustainable projects to fruition. At the same time, SZKB wants to be perceived as a strong partner of the stakeholders of the Schwyz region who are seeking to foster sustainability. SZKB actively utilises network memberships to share experiences and continuously expand knowledge. SZKB also understands SDG 17 to include social and environmental commitment in the Canton.
United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of particular relevance to SZKB
In 2022, SZKB drafted Strategy 2023ff., which contains a variety of different specifications regarding sustainability. In particular, operational ecology and sustainable investment management must be strengthened, and sustainable solutions in the area of financing must be implemented in a timely manner.
In 2022, SZKB made significant progress in addressing the issue of sustainability. The following should be mentioned in particular:
- In its new Strategy 2023ff., SZKB gave even greater consideration to sustainability and initiated a variety of different projects to implement it.
- SZKB rolled out a new remuneration model and revised its rules and regulations for personnel.
- SZKB created a Sustainability Report for the first time.
- SZKB had its CO2 footprint certified for the first time and was awarded the label «Certified CO2 optimised by Swiss Climate».
- SZKB implemented various measures to reduce CO2emissions, particularly in the area of electromobility.
- SZKB carried out a supply chain assessment. This involved identifying possible risks of violating the ESG criteria and raising awareness among the responsible purchasers in procurement areas associated with elevated risk.
- SZKB participated in the PACTA test and received estimates on the environmental impact of its real estate financing and investments for the first time.
- SZKB bolstered its internal and external communication regarding sustainability.