Banking sector initiative for a more sustainable construction sector

Report this content

Handelsbanken has joined six other banks in an initiative to increase the focus on sustainability in the construction sector. A uniform set of guidelines will be implemented in Sweden at the respective banks in late 2021.

Financial crime and illegal labour in the construction industry lead to significant negative effects for society, in the form of a loss of tax income and difficulties monitoring whether human rights are respected at construction sites. In their role as a credit provider to construction companies and property companies, banks have the capacity to make a difference through the terms and conditions they apply to their lending.

In recognition of their social responsibilities, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, SBAB, SEB, Sparbankerna and Swedbank are now working together with construction companies and property companies to further enhance sustainability in the construction industry.

Göran Stille, Head of Financing at Handelsbanken, comments:

“By participating in this sector-wide initiative, we at Handelsbanken want to shoulder a larger responsibility and make greater efforts to improve sustainability in the construction sector. As ever, our ambition is to be close to our customers and their day-to-day operations. This is an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships and gain a deeper insight into the construction industry and the challenges it faces. Together with our customers, we hope to be able to be a positive force in the future development of the sector.”

Each bank has long had its own processes aimed at preventing products and services from being exploited for financial crime. This initiative introduces new requirements on borrowers as part of the banks’ credit processes. The banks have agreed on uniform guidelines in lending to construction companies and property companies. Among other things, these aim to ensure that borrowers have control over production and achieve greater oversight of the labour used throughout all supply chains, as well as guaranteeing that any sub-contractors comply with all applicable regulations.

“We welcome any and all initiatives that aim to level the playing field for all sector participants and advance the integrity of the construction sector. Construction companies have a zero tolerance approach to irregularities and fraud in the labour market. Sustainable social development and construction is dependent on solid co-operation between different players. This initiative by the banks is a key piece of the puzzle in this shared work,” says Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, CEO of the Swedish Construction Federation.

For more information, please contact:
Anna Blomstergren, Head of Sustainable Financing at Handelsbanken, + 46 70 225 98 05.

Claes Thunblad, National Competition Co-ordinator, Swedish Construction Federation, +46 72 206 11 95.

For more information, please see