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While our first and final duty is to our clients, everything we do entails responsibilities towards our employees, our communities and the world in which we invest and live. Our sense of responsibility has contributed to and arises from our long history of stability and continuity.
In the long run, responsibility towards our communities and the wider world is fundamentally about sustainability. For an enterprise that has always thought in terms of future generations, sustainability is natural to our way of thinking.
These wider responsibilities start with our most important asset, our people. In 1921, Pictet was one of the very first banks to introduce a system of profit-sharing for the majority of its staff. Our adherence to organic growth – preferring sustained growth over decades to rapid growth through mergers and acquisition – has helped foster stability and long-term trust. Indeed, our rate of staff turnover of just 4.5% and well below the industry standard testifies to this commitment.
We are also committed to managing our operations in line with best sustainable practice. We have set a target of cutting our global CO2 emissions by 40% by the year 2020, and our initial target of lowering emissions by 12% by 2012 has been met. Pictet’s headquarters combine ecological economy with the latest technology, which has allowed us to reduce our environmental impact significantly. Outside Switzerland, we aim to ensure that our buildings are as efficient as possible, even enhancing existing premises so that they outstrip local standards.
Socially responsible investments (SRI) have been a part of our product range since long before the trend emerged in the industry. In 1997 we began looking at broadly diversified SRI and have since developed two distinct approaches: SRI core equity portfolios (best-in-class) and sector and theme funds. By focusing on environmental themes or sectors that are key to the concept of sustainability we have been able to innovate. For example, our Water fund launched in 2000 was not only the first but is today the largest in its sector. We were also pioneers with the launch of our Timber fund in 2008. This fund seeks to create value for investors through shares of companies operating in the financing, plantation and management of forests and wooded regions.
The Partners of Pictet have always made a significant, if discreet, contribution to the communities with which we engage, both locally and globally. In 2009 they decided to formalise and expand all the Pictet Group’s philanthropic activities by establishing the Pictet & Cie Charitable Foundation.
In 2008 Pictet created the Prix Pictet, a global photography prize dedicated to the subject of sustainability, especially as it relates to the environment. This prize aims, through outstanding photography, to deepen our awareness of the changes taking place in our world and to raise public awareness of the urgent need to take action.
Ultimately, we wish our staff to take pride in working for Pictet, our clients to take pride in having a privileged relationship with us, and as a company to take pride in the positive contribution we make to the society around us.