Progress on our own assets
As a firm, responsibility starts with what we do with our own assets.
Investing our balance sheet
In February 2020, we announced the decision to eliminate Pictet Group’s balance-sheet exposure to fossil-fuel producers and extractors (defined as companies deriving more that 25% of their revenues from the relevant carbon-intensive activities, including oil and gas, and thermal coal.).
Being a first mover on this topic was not without challenges. There was no blueprint in the market to help guide our implementation. This work offered valuable learnings that later informed our work on target setting.
Since the end of 2020, our balance sheet is effectively fossil-fuel free. This was achieved by selling treasury positions in oil and gas producers amounting to more than CHF250 mn. We also no longer use our balance sheet to seed investment strategies with fossil fuel producers and extractors and have never offered commercial loans to any such organisations.
In order to ensure continued compliance with this commitment, we use data from a recognised external provider to update the list of excluded companies on a semi-annual basis. We also conduct regular spot checks to ensure data integrity.
Our employees are our most crucial asset, as well as our public face and amplifiers of our core values.
Throughout the year, we engage with our colleagues on climate-related topics through our employee intranet, formal training sessions and an agenda of various climate-related content, including an annual sustainability week. We also facilitate opportunities to get involved in local actions, from tree planting to beach clean-ups.
As regards to employee mobility and travel, we have developed and expanded our video conferencing systems to reduce non-essential business travel. We also encourage commuting by public transport and bicycle through office-specific initiatives, including:
- Free recharging stations for electric bikes and cars;
- Free public transport for employees who give up their parking spot;
- A partnership with GenèveRoule, a local association that promotes cycling and socio-occupational integration in Geneva, offering e-bike loans to employees.
Managing our direct environmental impact
In our own business activities we are taking every possible step to cut our carbon footprint by employing the most advanced building technology, reviewing every aspect of our operations and reducing the environmental impacts of our infrastructure and employee mobility.
Advocacy and partnerships
As a signatory of both the Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, we will continue to drive change within the financial-services community and strengthen our policy work around the climate topic.
We support the SwissCEO4Climate initiative, which calls on the Swiss government to take more meaningful legislative action in support of achieving the Paris Agreement goals.
We have signed the Global Investor Statement on the Climate Crisis, which is the strongest ever call by global investors for governments to raise their climate ambitions and implement meaningful policies to support investment in solutions to the climate crisis.
As the ultimate risk capital, philanthropy can plan a key role in funding climate solutions.
While markets have made good progress on allocating capital towards climate-change mitigation, less focus has gone to adaptation solutions, e.g., around water. This is where philanthropic capital can make a big difference.
In 2021 and 2022, the Pictet Group Foundation funded a project by Ceres on driving investor and corporate leadership on valuing water. The outcome was the Valuing Water Finance Initiative, a global investor-led effort to engage 72 companies with a high water footprint to value and act on water as a financial risk and drive the necessary large-scale change to better protect water systems.