As a family-owned bank, UBP considers responsible investing (RI) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be two sides of the same commitment to creating a sustainable world.
Discreet and effective commitment has always been a moral imperative for us. At the initiative of our founder, Edgar de Picciotto, and following his example, we have made it a point of honour to embody his sense of social responsibility when carrying out the Bank’s business.
In response to the major social and environmental issues the world faces, we see it as our role, as a financial intermediary, to help channel capital towards responsible investment solutions that also offer real potential to generate financial returns. We give just as much importance to controlling our carbon footprint with our CSR strategy, while promoting sustainable development through support to community initiatives, sponsorship and patronage.
Our RI strategy is governed by the Responsible Investing Committee (RICO) and our CSR initiatives are managed by the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee (CSRCO).
RICO’s mission is to define, implement and supervise UBP’s Responsible Investment Policy, overseeing the integration of sustainability criteria into our entire investment universe and ensuring the exclusion, watch and inclusion lists have been applied. As for the CSRCO, its task is to define, implement and supervise the Bank’s CSR approach, ensuring all CSR aspects – environmental, human resources, and community engagement – are covered and addressed.
Both RICO and CSRCO are directly supervised by UBP’s Executive Committee.
UBP firmly believes in the importance of responsible wealth and asset management. We signed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) in 2012. In 2018, we joined Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) and Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG), and in 2020 we once again asserted our commitment by joining leading sustainability initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).
We showed our determination to address major climate issues in particular by taking the PACTA 2020 climate sustainability test and by supporting the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
UBP’s overarching responsible investment policy is applicable to all our assets under management with the exception of execution-only assets and third-party funds. Also, some of our flagship funds – like those invested in European, emerging-market and Japanese equities – now follow a sustainability approach.
Our Bank is also a pioneer in impact investing, which we believe is an increasingly important element of portfolios since it seeks to invest in sectors and companies that have a positive effect on the planet and society while offering attractive long-term return potential. To date UBP’s Impact Investing platform comprises two strategies, one focused on developed market equities and one on emerging markets.
As a responsible firm with an awareness of the impact our activities can have on our environment, we pay close attention to controlling our social and carbon footprint. This priority is shared with all our staff through our CSR policy.
Taking the view that a target needs to be measured if it is to be achieved, UBP has started calculating its carbon footprint, with the intention of offsetting it in 2021 and reducing it by 25% by 2025. We have an ambitious ten-year programme for renovating several of our buildings in Geneva, in order to significantly reduce UBP’s carbon footprint by optimising their energy efficiency.
This process is part of a broader move to make UBP’s activities more sustainable by reducing electricity, paper, water and plastic consumption, while increasing recycling, across all our sites. This commitment has already started to be recognised, as shown by the éco21 certification awarded to UBP by Geneva utility company SIG in 2020.
Equality and equal opportunities are a high priority for UBP’s human resources management. Meritocracy and equal rights are leading principles at the Bank, and any form of discrimination is firmly condemned.
As regards career development, we have intensified our focus on offering employment and learning opportunities to young people by launching our Graduate Programme, which comes in addition to our Leadership Development Programme, UBP’s advancement scheme designed jointly with IMD Business School in Lausanne.
Individual community support is also encouraged at UBP. Staff are given one day off a year for donating their time and expertise to a charitable cause of their choice. They each have a profile on the network Alaya, an online platform connecting companies’ staff with local and international charities that run projects with a high social impact. Users offer those charities their skills, on-the-ground support or help with collecting funds and other donations.
UBP has always backed cultural, educational, and research projects through donations and sponsorships. In our support for cultural ventures, our particular focus is on artistic creation and young talent. We support a number of institutions and artists in theatre, classical music, and cinema.
Our vision is a long-term one and so we also invest in helping to train the bankers of tomorrow. Our partnership with INSEAD Business School in Paris and Singapore attests to our commitment to high-level education and the transmission of excellence from one generation to the next. This alliance enabled INSEAD to endow the De Picciotto Chair in alternative investments in 2003.
As part of our promotion of artistic creation and young talent in Geneva, we have partnered up with the Camerata Venia orchestra.