Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In 2019, Landsbankinn ranked 6th out of 376 banks in the ESG rating of Sustainalytics, developed expertise in green bonds, entered into a collaborative effort to develop a method to measure the carbon emissions of financial undertakings and signed new Principles for Responsible Banking.

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Social responsibility is an important aspect of Landsbankinn's operation and strong emphasis is placed on integrating CSR principles in the Bank's strategy.

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 will contribute to increased sustainability in Icelandic industry and community 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.

Indicator of responsible banking

Lilja Björk Einarsdóttir, CEO of Landsbankinn, today signed new Principles for Responsible Banking at the UN General Assembly in New York. Landsbankinn thereby joined a coalition of 130 banks from around the world. The Principles are intended to strategically align financial activity with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Taking place at the start of the UN General Assembly, the official launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking marked the beginning of the most significant partnership to date between the global banking industry and the UN. The Principles were developed by 30 international banks under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) of which Landsbankinn is already a member. By signing them, the banks commit to focusing their efforts where they have the greatest impact – in their core business – and set, publish and implement ambitious targets to scale up positive and address any negative impacts in line with global and local goals. This is the first global framework that guides the integration of sustainability across all business areas of banking activity.

Sustainable Development Goals incorporated in CSR policy

Landsbankinn is committed to adhering to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in its operation. Emphasis will be placed on working to achieve three of the SDGs: Goal 5 on gender equality, goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, and goal 12 on responsible consumption and production. The chosen SDGs all relate to the Bank’s activities and as such allow the Bank to maximise the positive impact of its work on the environment and the community. 

Landsbankinn is ranked 6th out of 376 European banks assessed by Sustainalytics

In October 2019, Landsbankinn received an ESG risk rating from Sustainalytics, reflecting an in-depth assessment of company risk exposure to material ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues. Landsbankinn received a score of 17.5/100 which means its exposure to financial risk from ESG issues is deemed low. Landsbankinn is ranked 6th out of 376 European banks assessed by Sustainalytics.

There is increasing demand for third-party verification of companies’ ESG performance and several investors require independent evaluation of the Bank’s social responsibility. Assessments of corporate ESG performance provide a measure of a company’s exposure to and management of several key issues such as the environmental impact of its operation, its treatment of human resources, suppliers, customers and society.

  • Landsbankinn is committed to adhering to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in its operation.

Article on Umræðan**In Icelandic

Detailed CSR report

Landsbankinn's Report on Social Responsibility is published annually in accordance with principles of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This year’s report will be published to the Bank’s website no later than 27 March. The report also functions as a Communication of Progress report to the UN Global Compact.

The report contains comparable information year-over-year. It is comprehensive and has been recognised as the best CSR report of the year by Festa, Excellence Iceland and the Iceland Chamber of Commerce. The report addresses the corporate social responsibility projects the Bank is working on and its policy on social responsibility and social performance indicators. The text endeavours to provide an insight into successful accomplishments and pin-point room for improvement.

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. Landsbankinn was one of the founding members of Festa, Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, in 2011 and of IcelandSIF, a forum for sustainable investment, in 2017.

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.

Continued focus on responsible investment

Landsbankinn's policy on responsible investments reflects work practices that have been shaped in recent years, as well as the challenges the future holds. The next steps for Landsbankinn will include integrating ESG issues in the process of investment decisions in a structured manner, both as relates to listed and unlisted equities and bonds.

In July 2019, Reitun ehf., Landsbankinn and Landsbréf signed a service agreement providing for Landsbankinn and Landsbréf to obtain ESG ratings for issuers of equities and bonds in portfolios under management by the latter two companies. This agreement takes the next step in introducing procedures for responsible investing, continuing along the path which the Bank and its subsidiary Landsbréf have set for themselves in recent years.

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 so in recent years.

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.

  • International asset management firm LGT Capital Partners, Landsbankinn’s partner, is a global leader in the field of responsible investment.

Article on Umræðan**In Icelandic

Expert knowledge of green bonds

Over the past few years, the Bank has developed and built expert knowledge of green bonds. Green bonds allow for the financing of environmentally friendly projects. Interest in green bonds has increased steadily in Iceland in recent years, in line with exploding interest abroad. Increased awareness of climate and environmental issues and pressure from the public has encouraged countries, municipalities and private companies to place greater weight on these issues.

In 2019, Landsbankinn Markets worked with Municipality Credit Iceland towards the certification of its green bond framework. By offering green loans, the MCI aims to encourage municipalities to more selectively choose environmental-improving projects that minimise climate change.


In 2019, Landsbankinn joined PCAF, a global partnership of financial undertakings that work together to develop and implement a harmonized approach to assess and disclose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The carbon accounting method is intended to allow financial undertakings to measure and analyse emissions from their credit and asset portfolios (Scope 3). The initiative originated in the Netherlands and since then, open-source methodologies to measure carbon emissions have been developed for banks in North America. Work is currently under way to develop an international method to allow financial undertakings throughout the world to measure carbon emissions in a scientific and harmonised manner. Landsbankinn participates in PCAF’s development of the international method which is a 3-year project.

  • Municipality Credit Iceland has received a certification of its green bond framework.

Article on Umræðan**In Icelandic

Environmental issues in Landsbankinn

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. Landsbankinn is currently in the process of reassessing and sharpening its focus.

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. In 2019 work finished in implementing 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 four years.

Landsbankinn is working to install LED lights throughout the its facilities. The Bank has greatly reduced its electricity usage in recent years. Environmental issues are discussed in more detail in Landsbankinn´s CSR report.

Focus on equality

In March 2019, Landsbankinn received legally required equal pay certification and has since operated in accordance with a certified equal pay system. 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. Landsbankinn has long placed a great deal of emphasis on equality, see the chapter on human resources.