Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


Social responsibility is an important aspect of Landsbankinn's operation and strong emphasis is placed on integrating CSR principles in the Bank's strategy. In 2018, it was decided that Landsbankinn would follow three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as well as new Principles for Responsible Banking from UNEP-FI.

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Vision in corporate social responsibility

Landsbankinn's policy on social responsibility is to contribute to sustainability in Iceland, to be a dynamic force in society and operate in accordance with the principles of good corporate governance.

We will take the initiative to form partnerships with companies, institutions and organisations to develop economic activity and infrastructure which contributes to increased sustainability in Icelandic industry and society with the aim to utilise as best as possible the available opportunities for the maximum future benefit of Icelanders and Iceland. Together we can create new business opportunities that emphasise sustainability.

In 2018, it was decided that Landsbankinn would follow three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as well as new Principles for Responsible Banking from UNEP-FI intended to align the banking industry with the SDG.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals

Towards the end of 2018, a decision was made to focus on three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Landsbankinn’s operation: Goal 5 on gender equality, goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, and goal 12 on responsible consumption and production.

The United Nations presented their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015, replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set around the turn of the century. The SDG are more numerous and specific than the MDG and focus on the pressing challenges facing the entire world. The aim is to achieve the SDG before 2030 and it is clear that many different parties must unite in their efforts for this to be successful.

Goal 5 - Gender equality

Landsbankinn has over many years made a point of ensuring that men and women receive equal pay for equally valuable work and enjoy the same job opportunities. The Bank has set itself the goal of ensuring at least 40% representation by both genders in the Bank's management teams. Landsbankinn has twice been awarded the golden seal of PwC's Equal Pay Audit and in 2018 the Bank worked to achieve the legally required equal pay certification. Implementation of an equal pay standard at Landsbankinn in fact means that the Bank has enacted a control system which ensures that handling and decisions about wages is based on objective factors, free of gender-based discrimination. Final review of Landsbankinn took place in January 2019 and was carried out by BSI in Iceland, a professional certification body. The final review confirmed compliance with all provisions of the standard and recommended that Landsbankinn be certified under the Equal Pay Standard. Final confirmation of the certification is expected to be forthcoming in coming weeks.

In 2011, Landsbankinn signed the Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business (WEPs), an international venture by UN Women and UN Global Compact. In becoming a signatory, the Bank undertook to work towards gender equality in-house, in accordance with seven guiding principles, to empower women in the workplace and increase participation by women in business.

Participation in Capacent’s Equality Indicator in 2018 takes the Bank beyond the scope of equal pay, with all employees participating in the project. The Equality Indicator evaluates equality issues within the Bank through careful analysis and sets clear goals for the future. The goal was to achieve a comprehensive overview of equality matters with key factors being corporate culture, communication and work environment, strategy and organisation, wages and role models. 

More information about equality at Landsbankinn are presented in the chapter on Human Resources.


Goal 8 - Decent work and economic growth

Goal 8 promotes sustained and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Landsbankinn supports this goal in various aspects of its operation.

The Bank provides financial services to small and medium-sized enterprises by, for instance, channelling funds from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB); Landsbankinn signed a new seven-year loan agreement with NIB in 2018, the terms of which provide that Landsbankinn re-loan the funds to small and medium-sized enterprises and environmental projects in Iceland.

Landsbankinn has approved sector policies that incorporate guidelines on corporate social responsibility for the following industries: fisheries and seafood, real estate companies, construction companies, holding companies, the travel industry, commerce, services, IT and telecommunications. In 2018, the Bank extended credit to projects that reduced emissions to a significant degree, for example to renewal of the fishing fleet, digitalisation of land-based fish meal plants and a farmers’ initiative to recover wetlands.

Landsbankinn contributes to the improvement of access to banking and financial services for all with the country’s largest branch network and most ATMs.

Landsbankinn’s study and community grants help boost local culture - more information on the study and community grants are presented in the chapter on Partnership and Support.


Goal 12 - Responsible consumption and production

Goal 12 focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Landsbankinn contributes to responsible consumption and production through various aspects of its activities and has a wide-reaching effect on the community.

In its efforts to reduce food waste, general garbage production, boost recycling and decrease waste in general, Landsbankinn has made rapid headway towards becoming a paper-free bank, reduced waste and garbage from its activities and now runs a Nordic Swan ecolabelled canteen.

To reduce the emission of compounds and chemicals into the atmosphere, water and soil, Landsbankinn has offered retail customers favourable terms on funding of ecofriendly vehicles and reduced its own fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, uses ecolabelled cleaning products and sanitary towels, offering transportation grants to employees and offsetting carbon emissions from all work-related employee travel both domestically and abroad.

Landsbankinn promotes sustainable practices in its procurement and takes its business to local suppliers, with 94% of all procurement in 2018 being from domestic suppliers.

Landsbankinn’s Report on Social Responsibility has been published annually since 2012 and fulfils the Core Provision of GRI. The Report’s chapter on the environment contains further information about paper use, waste treatment, fuel use, carbon offsetting and other environmental issues. 

The six Principles for Responsible Banking

Towards the end of 2018, Landsbankinn decided to endorse UNEP FI’s new Principles for Responsible Banking intended to align the banking industry with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. .

The Principles were introduced at a meeting of UNEP FI in Paris in November 2018 and Landsbankinn is the first Icelandic bank and among the first endorsers of the undertaking. The Principles for Responsible Banking have been sent for global public consultation and will first be available for signature in September 2019.

The Principles were developed by 28 international banks under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) of which Landsbankinn is already a member. UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and 200 financial undertakings, focused on the impact of the financial system on the environment and society.

The Principles set the global standard for what it means to be a responsible bank and will ensure that banks create value for both their shareholders and society. They provide the first global framework that guides the integration of sustainability across all business areas of a bank, from strategic to portfolio to transaction level. The transparency and accountability mechanisms in the Principles require signatories to manage what matters most, set public targets and report back on progress.

Further information on the six Principles for Responsible Banking.

Award for best CSR report

Landsbankinn's Report on Social Responsibility is published annually in accordance with principles of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The Report is comprehensive and contains comparable information year-over-year. The Report on Social Responsibility also functions as a Communication of Progress report to the UN Global Compact. The Report addresses the corporate social responsibility projects the Bank is working on and its policy on social responsibility and social performance indicators. The Report endeavours to provide an insight into successful accomplishments and pin-point room for improvement.

In June 2018, Landsbankinn received recognition for the best CSR report of 2018. This is the first time this award is granted. The panel of judges found Landsbankinn's Report on Social Responsibility to be exemplary and that from reading the report, found it clear that the Bank’s CSR policy is shaped with extensive input from employees and that CSR is an integral part of the Bank’s operation. 

Landsbankinn's CSR report

Landsbankinn prepares an annual Report on Social Responsibility in accordance with the criteria of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which is published on its website in tandem with its Annual Report.

Landsbankinn was one of the founding members of Festa, Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, in 2011. The Bank has been a signatory of the UN's Global Compact since 2006. The UN Global Compact is a joint venture by the UN and the private sector to align business operations with the UN's principles. The objective is to encourage businesses to actively work according to the guidelines of corporate social responsibility. 

Emphasis on the integration of social responsibility in core operations

Since 2013, Landsbankinn has made concerted efforts to implement a policy on responsible investment to allow the Bank to make social responsibility integral to investment decisions. Landsbankinn became a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) in early 2013. Landsbankinn's policy on responsible investment is based on the guidelines set by UN PRI. Members of UN PRI oblige themselves to publish a Communication of Progress report on their adherence to the guidelines and the Bank has done so in recent years.


Developing expertise on responsible investment

In 2018, strategic efforts were made to expand and deepen the Bank’s experts’ knowledge of the methodology of responsible investment. All fund managers with the Bank who are involved in investment decisions have completed education courses organised by UN PRI. The Bank has also worked to promote awareness of a new asset class, green bonds. Newly cultivated in-house expertise has been leveraged to educate key issuers about this interesting new approach and the Bank expects the asset class to grow in coming years.

Next steps

Landsbankinn recently concluded a review of its policy for responsible investment, first adopted in 2013. The updated policy now reflects work practices that have been shaped in recent years, as well as the challenges the future holds. ESG factors will, for instance, become part of investment decisions in an organised manner, both for listed and unlisted companies, as well as securities.

Supplementary guidelines for investment analysis

Landsbankinn Economic Research has in the past couple of years gathered strategic information about the operation of listed companies with regard for sustainability and social responsibility. This work is based on a standardized questionnaire that pertains to the main elements of ESG factors. The questionnaire represents Landsbankinn's first steps to gathering information about how listed companies approach these matters. Responses to the questionnaire were made available to investors via Economic Research's website in 2017. To date, the responses are only for the attention of investors and the department does not evaluate the answers. In the long term, the aim is to give more weight to these issues in the evaluation of investment opportunities. The aim is to implement social responsibility principles in general analysis work in the future, in line with the Bank's obligations under the tenets of responsible investment.



  • Umræðan covered green bonds in November 2018

Green bonds - Invested in green future**In Icelandic

Landsbankinn founding member of IcelandSIF

Landsbankinn was one of 23 founding member of IcelandSIF, the Icelandic Sustainable Investment Forum. Hrefna Ösp Sigfinnsdóttir, Managing Director of Markets, chairs the Board of Directors of the association, established in 2017.

The aim of IcelandSIF is to promote awareness and discussion about the methodology of sustainable and responsible investment. IcelandSIF is intended to function as a neutral platform for debate and instruction on responsible investment. 

Environmental issues front and centre

In 2015, Landsbankinn participated in the climate change project of Festa and the City of Reykjavík along with 102 other companies. The project was part of an action plan set in relation to the Paris summit on climate change and entails that the companies oblige themselves to set goals and action plans for social responsibility for the next 10 years.

Concerted efforts have been made to implement waste sorting in all Landsbankinn workplaces. This has been accomplished at headquarters and in all branches in the capital area, as well as in the Suðurnes peninsula, South and West Iceland. Work is under way to implement waste sorting in branches and outlets in North Iceland. The ratio of sorted waste keeps increasing and the goal is to sort almost all waste produced by Landsbankinn in five years.

Landsbankinn is working to install LED lights throughout its facilities. The Bank has greatly reduced its electricity usage in recent years.

Reduction of carbon emissions

Emissions from the Bank’s vehicles decreased by 10% between 2017 and 2018. In the past two years, emissions from the Bank’s vehicles have decreased by a total of 40%. Eco-friendly vehicles made up 36% of Landsbankinn’s fleet in 2018, with the addition of four eco-friendly passenger cars in early 2017. Five older cars will be exchanged for eco-friendly vehicles, according to plan. The aim is for all vehicles in Landsbankinn's fleet to be eco-friendly by 2025 and even sooner, judging by the progress so far.


The Bank’s key goals in environmental matters

  • All Landsbankinn vehicles are to be eco-friendly.
  • Waste sorting shall be implemented at all Landsbankinn workplaces.
  • Landsbankinn shall limit electricity use, in so far as possible.
  • Eco-labelled products shall be used in operations, in so far as possible.