Our role in addressing climate change

We recognize climate change as one of the most significant risks facing our planet. Climate risk is central to our sustainability agenda at Credit Suisse, as we look to limit the impacts that result from the transitional or physical effects of climate change. We continue to work on the measures required to address climate change, in support of a transition towards lower-carbon operations and products.

As a global financial institution, we recognize the important role that we play in combating climate change through support of the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient global economy. To achieve this, we believe global financial flows should be in line with the Paris Agreement objective to limit the rise in global temperature to within 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with the aim to achieve a rise of no more than 1.5°C.

Based on the Paris Agreement, and the subsequent Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), many countries have committed to implement transition plans that lower their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We support this commitment and, during 2021, demonstrated our support by joining the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) and Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). The latter was launched in April 2021 and is part of the UN Race to Zero, with the aim of reinforcing and supporting the implementation of decarbonization strategies, with a focus on those sectors with the highest levels of emissions.

In December 2020, Credit Suisse announced its 2050 net zero emission ambition and committed to develop interim 2030 science-based carbon reduction goals for key sectors. The first of these sector climate strategies was set in 2021, with the remainder expected by the end of 2022. In doing so, we have sought to align to the draft technical guidelines of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the NZBA. We contributed to setting standards for the industry, including our decision to align our portfolio to an ambitious below 1.5°C, rather than 2°C, goal. As final guidance emerges, we expect to continue to shape our roadmap to achieve our net zero ambitions.

Planet video

Learn more about our approach to climate change and its impacts on the planet in this video.

In 2021, Credit Suisse articulated its framework and approach to tackle climate change in our internal Global Climate Change Policy. This policy outlines our commitment to align our business strategy with the Paris Agreement and provides a robust framework for managing climate change, leveraging both our Client Energy Transition Frameworks (CETF) and Sector Policies and Guidelines. Our time-bound commitment on thermal-coal related activities and our position on coal financing are both presented in this policy. Detail of this is included in this report (see Organization and Governance). A summary of Credit Suisse’s policies is available here.

Credit Suisse pursues a three-pronged approach in addressing climate change and climate-related risks.

  • First, we are working with our clients to support their transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient business models, and integrating climate change into our risk management models as part of our Climate Risk Strategy Program.
  • Second, we are focusing on delivering sustainable finance solutions that help our clients achieve their goals and contribute to the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Third, we are working on further reducing the carbon footprint of our own operations and supply chain.

As we seek to achieve our net zero ambition, we have made significant progress in reducing both lending exposure and emissions associated with our financing activities in the oil, gas and coal sectors. During 2021, we drove our lending exposure to coal down by 39%, with estimated emission reductions in oil, gas and coal upstream and downstream sectors of 41%. Our preliminary progress, as detailed in this chapter, is an endorsement of our strategy that puts the support of client transitions at its center and is an example of our climate commitments being translated into action, as we seek to build a more sustainable future.