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The year 2020 was unlike any other in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic had severe effects on families, markets, economies and society. It changed how we think about and deliver healthcare, education and technology, while reconfiguring how we engage with each other, our environment and our communities.
The crises of 2020 crystallized the importance of embracing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards not as an impediment to economic prosperity, but as an essential ingredient. Applying an ESG lens to business strategy is crucial to generating great results for clients, employees, shareholders and society at large.
Financial institutions such as ours have an important role to play in society.
As a global company operating in some 50 countries, we at Credit Suisse continuously reflect on our own place in the world, particularly in the past year. Financial institutions such as ours have an important role to play in society, whether it is providing capital, participating in financial markets, facilitating infrastructure development or managing wealth.
Persevering through 2020 for Credit Suisse included transitioning to a remote working readiness of around 90%, providing antibody testing to our staff, maintaining our liquidity and capital positions during the market disruptions and providing loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. We are also proud that our employees raised approximately CHF 25 million through a donor-matching program to support charities working to mitigate the hardship caused by the pandemic.
As we adapted to the challenges of the pandemic, we made important changes to our business strategy, including the creation of a single, global Investment Bank, the merger of the Risk and Compliance functions, and accelerated digitalization. Crucially, in July 2020 we created SRI – Sustainability, Research & Investment Solutions – elevating our efforts around ESG in order to deliver a comprehensive, systematic strategy across the bank.
This report is an integral part of our ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and we are delighted to share with you details of our ESG strategy in the context of our enhanced efforts that started in July 2020. Based on our engagement with stakeholders across the ESG ecosystem, this report has several new features to enhance our transparency regarding the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) recommendations and, for the first time, select SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) disclosures.
We have already made great progress thanks to the engagement and dedication of our colleagues around the world. We have much more to do in order to ensure we deliver on our ambitions that match the scale of the challenges we all face to secure a more sustainable planet, a more inclusive society and long-term economic prosperity.
Thank you for engaging with us as we continue to drive our sustainability strategy at Credit Suisse. We are excited to be on this journey together with you.
Board of Directors
CEO Sustainability, Research & Investment Solutions
Iris Bohnet and Lydie Hudson discuss the year in ESG at Credit Suisse: