Responsible investments. Sustainable returns.
More and more investors desire products and services that incorporate environmental, social, and governance aspects. We offer a broad range of investment products and services that aim to benefit society and the environment, including impact products and green bonds.
A growing number of individual clients, charitable foundations and institutional clients such as pension funds are seeking to combine financial returns with positive social or environmental impacts. Credit Suisse continues to expand its range of products and services that focus on environmental and social benefits.
In 2017, we established the Impact Advisory and Finance Department (IAF), which aims to facilitate projects and initiatives that have a positive economic and social impact as well as generating a financial return. IAF reports directly to the CEO and directs and coordinates activities across the Group. By enabling and advancing impact investing and sustainable business activities across the Group, IAF seeks to benefit wealth management, institutional and corporate clients.
Impact investing is about actively placing capital in enterprises that generate a financial return and make a measurable, positive impact on society and/or the environment. Credit Suisse's impact investing business includes around USD 3.3 billion of assets under administration (assets in investment funds and vehicles administered by Credit Suisse) and over USD 670 million in client holdings as of end-2017. 2017 also marked the 15th anniversary of impact investing at Credit Suisse.
To make more balanced and sustainable use of the world's natural resources, there is a clear need to access new sources of energy, raw materials, and clean technologies. The financing of investments that support environmentally sustainable development – a sector known as green finance – is thus gaining in importance and scale.
Our green finance activities cover a wide range of asset classes designed to positively impact the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, drawing upon the expertise of various specialist departments across our divisions. In the area of wealth management, for example, our offering comprises a number of funds focused on sustainability and sustainable real estate as well as products and services in conservation finance. In investment banking, we provide advice for buyside and sellside clients in mergers and acquisitions, project and corporate finance, as well as debt and equity underwriting of public offerings and private placements. Credit Suisse has been involved in around 100 transactions with a value of USD 77 billion in the area of renewable energy since 2010. Furthermore, we supported clients on a number of green bond issuances in 2017. In our Global Markets division, Credit Suisse's HOLT team is working on incorporating data on carbon emissions into its equity research platform, with the aim of allowing investors to assess carbon intensity and carbon-adjusted returns in conjunction with operating performance. Finally, Credit Suisse Energy Infrastructure Partners, an investment manager specialized in investments in the European energy sector, focuses on direct investments in the capital-intensive elements of the value chain, such as energy transmission, generation, storage and efficiency.
Another area of green finance is Green Bonds. Green Bonds are a fixed income solution to contribute to combating climate change and environmental degradation. A Green Bond is like any other bond, except that the use of proceeds is limited to projects or assets that deliver clear environmental benefits. At Credit Suisse, we finance various activities that accelerate our clients' transition towards becoming more sustainable. Some of our clients' activities are funded through our new Green Bond program, which is governed by our Green Bond Framework. The framework is consistent with the Green Bond Principles, which we endorsed in 2014, and is designed to meet the highest standards of transparency and disclosure. In 2017, we helped the Swiss waste management company "Helvetia Environnement" to place its first corporate green bond in 2017, and we supported the Swiss Canton of Geneva in issuing the first municipal green bond denominated in Swiss francs.
Sustainable investment has been a fast-growing market segment in recent years, with an especially strong increase in demand from institutional investors, charitable foundations and younger clients. Institutional investors in particular have been identified in studies by think-tanks and academics as driving the increasing demand for sustainable investment.
Throughout 2017, we conducted sustainability-related research across our divisions. For example, Investment Solutions & Products Research in the International Wealth Management division published several research updates on sustainability topics. In May 2017, the team launched a set of research themes called Supertrends. These are long-term trends we expect to be of importance particularly to investors with a multi-year investment horizon.
The Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) is Credit Suisse's in-house think-tank. It studies long-term economic developments, which have a global impact within and beyond the financial services sector or which may do so in the future. The CSRI publishes original research on topics ranging from economics or monetary policy to gender equality and consumer behavior.
In investment research, we publish global economic assessments and market outlooks in a range of reports. In 2017, one of our core research publications for clients examined the role of corporate governance in family-owned companies.
Credit Suisse also addresses environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics through thematic research. Credit Suisse Global Markets Equity Research has developed a method to calculate the probabilities of achieving implied returns in infrastructure investments. Credit Suisse HOLT, a team in Equities focused on corporate performance and the valuation of listed companies, offers a governance framework that systematically scores 2,500 incentive plans based on their alignment with wealth-creating principles and pay-for-performance best practices. Investors gain insights into a firm's strategy, changes to that strategy and the quality of its board.