Approach & Reporting Message from the CEO and the Chairman
Urs Rohner, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Tidjane Thiam, Chief Executive Officer, on Corporate Responsibility.
2017 was a crucial year of delivery in the three-year restructuring plan we launched at the end of 2015. Our strategy is to be a leading wealth manager with strong investment banking capabilities. In a changing and often challenging operating environment, we made good progress against our five key strategic objectives during the year: We continued our efforts to (i) strengthen our capital position, (ii) deliver profitable growth, (iii) reduce our fixed cost base, (iv) rightsize and de-risk our trading activities, and (v) resolve our key legacy issues. The indispensable and deep restructuring we engaged in requires us to take certain difficult decisions – particularly in the context of our cost program – as we transform our business and position it for long-term success. Where it is necessary to adapt the size of our workforce as part of these measures, we are committed to acting in a fair and responsible way.
A Business Founded on Trust
We work hard to earn the trust of our stakeholders day after day. Credit Suisse strives to be a reliable and professional partner to our clients around the globe and to generate attractive returns for our shareholders over the long term. At the same time, we recognize that for many stakeholders, a bank's reputation is today often as important as its performance. At Credit Suisse, we are committed to ensuring that we operate with integrity and have effective governance structures, as well as maintain a rigorous compliance and control framework. All our employees and members of the Board of Directors are obligated to adhere to Credit Suisse's Code of Conduct. In early 2017 we launched our new Conduct and Ethics Standards, which promote a shared understanding and expectations in terms of our culture and conduct across the Group. Underscoring the importance we assign to the area of compliance, we created in 2015 a Compliance and Regulatory Affairs unit operating as an independent Executive Board-level function and overseeing all compliance and regulatory matters at Credit Suisse.
Responsibilities Beyond Banking
We have a broad understanding of our corporate responsibilities as a global bank. In this context, we recognize the importance of international agreements such as the UN Global Compact that promote responsible business practices. We are also committed to addressing social challenges: In collaboration with selected partner organizations, we support initiatives that generate a positive economic or social impact in areas such as financial inclusion, microfinance and education. In addition to receiving funding, these partners benefit from the skills and expertise of our employees. We allow each employee to devote up to four days per year to support social projects. We are proud that in 2017, a total of 18,410 of our employees around the world dedicated more than 184,500 hours to volunteering.
2017 also marked the 15th anniversary of impact investing at Credit Suisse – a field in which we have long played a pioneering role. A milestone during the year was the establishment of our Impact Advisory and Finance Department in the CEO Office, which aims to facilitate projects and initiatives across the Group that have a positive economic and social impact, as well as generating a financial return – thus benefiting our wealth management, institutional and corporate clients.
Protecting the Climate and the Environment
Environmental and climate protection is one of the pillars of our corporate responsibilities. We strive to conduct our business in an environmentally sustainable manner. As part of these efforts, we apply internal policies and guidelines governing certain sensitive industries when assessing potential transactions and client relationships. Our approach is also reflected in the development of products and services focusing on green finance. At an operational level, we promote the efficient use of resources within our organization and reduce the direct impacts of our activities on the environment and the climate through our global environmental management system. We have been operating on a greenhouse gas neutral basis at all our locations around the globe since 2010.
Dialogue with Our Stakeholders
We believe that an active dialogue is essential to build relationships of trust. We listen to the views of our clients and cultivate an ongoing exchange of opinions with a wide range of other stakeholders, including regulators and policymakers, the media and non-governmental organizations, to gain a clear understanding of what they expect from us as a bank. In this way, we can gauge the topics that matter to them and we have an opportunity to present our own viewpoint. Our reporting on corporate responsibility is designed to be part of this constructive dialogue and we welcome your comments on any of the topics discussed here.