Contents strategy

Thinking and acting sustainably have always been integral elements of Oberbank’s value-based strategy. As an independent regional bank, we are deeply rooted in our markets and support local communities and businesses.


Our values form the central basis for our strategy. This has allowed us to maintain our independence for more than 150 years. Because this is the only way to ensure that Oberbank, in its actions, can strike a balance between the interests of customers, employees and shareholders – now and in the future. All other strategic goals pursued by Oberbank are aligned with this principle. It serves as the foundation for our unusually successful development in now five countries – Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.


A modern sustainability strategy with clear goals and successful sustainability management are of great importance for the further development and future success of Oberbank. The sustainability strategy is therefore a fixed component of Oberbank’s overall banking strategy.


Oberbank not only follows existing guidelines, but also sets its own high standards for compliance with ethical principles. These are set out, among other things, in our Code of Conduct for all employees. Exclusion and positive criteria for our financing operations are also a key aspect.


Commitment to the Austrian Corporate Governance Code (ÖCGK)

As a listed company, Oberbank AG is committed to the ÖCGK as amended from time to time.


To corporate governance


Code of Conduct for employees

The Code of Conduct applies to all Oberbank employees. Oberbank is expressly committed to always acting in a responsible, ethical and appreciative manner, both internally and externally. This generally relates to dealing with people, be it employees, customers or stakeholders. But it also means taking into account ecological and economic aspects and finally dealing responsibly with all legal framework conditions. Ethical principles are the foundation of each and every decision and action.


To the Code of Conduct for employees


Code of Conduct for suppliers

In addition to the general Code of Conduct for employees, Oberbank also has a Code of Conduct for suppliers and business partners, which extends the rules and measures mentioned in the Code of Conduct to the collaboration with external partners. All suppliers of Oberbank AG must comply with these principles, which include compliance with the law, respect for human rights, various environmental regulations and the prohibition of corruption and bribery.


Strictly excluded business

Oberbank distances itself from industries, companies and business practices that, in its view, could result in unacceptable impacts on the environment, social aspects and governance (ESG). The following exclusion criteria based on sustainability aspects are mandatory for new customer business as well as for new fields of business that existing customers may enter into, and they are not subject to any option for approval.


Oberbank will not enter into a business relationship and/or will distance itself from individual companies if violations of labour law and human rights, or illegal and controversial business or environmental practices are known or become known in the course of the business relationship.


1. Oberbank will not enter into a business relationship and/or will distance itself from companies if violations of labour law and human rights or the employment of children are known or become known in the course of the business relationship.





Labour rights violations

If there is a violation of at least one of the four fundamental principles of the “ILO – Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work” (Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work)


  • Freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  • Forced and compulsory labour
  • Child labour
  • Discrimination in the workplace


e.g. if working conditions, especially with regard to minimum wages, working hours, safety and health are unreasonably poor, forced labour is practised, or minimum standards are systematically bypassed.

Human rights violations

If human rights are violated in the meaning of nationally and internationally recognised legal bases (e.g. ECHR, UN Charter of Fundamental Rights, etc.).


These include, among others, interference through political arbitrariness, torture, restriction of privacy and freedom of expression, or systematic interference with religious freedom, such as activities that negatively affect indigenous peoples and their livelihoods.

 Illegal business practices

Products or activities that are considered illegal under applicable laws or other provisions of the respective national legal system or international conventions and agreements (e.g. money laundering, fraud, corruption, financing of terrorism, etc.).

Controversial environmental behaviour

Controversial environmental practices that violate applicable national environmental laws and international environmental agreements and are incompatible with general sustainable values and the preservation and promotion of biodiversity (e.g. systematic behaviour leading to contamination or pollution, projects with a major negative impact on the environment, encroachment on protected areas).


2. Oberbank considers the following economic activities and industries to have an increased ESG risk potential and excludes them.



Industry / Criterion

Exclusion of

Nuclear energy

  • Production and predominant distribution of nuclear energy
  • Mining and enrichment of uranium
  • Handling or trading in radioactive waste or hazardous waste or receiving commissions from such trading.
  • Radioactive materials, except for medical materials and quality control equipment, where the radioactive source is trivial and adequately shielded.

Illegal substances (narcotics)

  • Production of or trade in narcotic drugs that are not permitted for consumption under the respective national legal system.

Harmful substances

  • Prohibited chemical compounds or chemical compounds that are being progressively banned and other harmful substances (e.g. hazardous or highly hazardous pesticides or pharmaceuticals, such as unbound asbestos fibres, among others).

Gems and conflict minerals

  • Extraction of conflict minerals (e.g. tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold, which are mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbouring states, among others. This region is heavily affected by armed conflict, with the warring parties often financing themselves through the control of mines) or blood diamonds (definition according to the Kimberley Agreement: smuggled diamonds that have financed or are financing various wars in Africa) or similar.


  • In the event of non-compliance with nationally and internationally recognised standards and agreements.

Trade in protected animals or export leather, as well as animal testing

  • Trade in endangered or specially protected animal species, or in animal species covered by the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), or in parts of such animals.
  • Arranging hunts or the hunting of such animals
  • Activities with live animals carried out for research purposes that involve the risk of causing harm and suffering to the animals involved, for the purpose of testing end products in the field of consumer goods (e.g. cosmetics, detergents) that are not legally required according to the respective national legal system.

High volume fracking and Extraction of oil sands


Crude oil

  • Exclusion of financing with companies whose business purpose is high-volume fracking and/or exclusion of financing for the extraction of oil sands, as well as no new purpose-bound business activities for new unconventional oil projects (shale oil, oil sands, Arctic oil) aimed at the expansion of the oil infrastructure.


  • Exclusion of financing with regard to the extraction and production of coal as well as energy generation from coal
  • Exclusion of new business with companies whose primary business purpose is trading in coal

Controversial and heavy weapons

  • Exclusion of financing with regard to the production of and trade in controversial and heavy weapons – these include e.g. biological/chemical weapons, cluster munitions, nuclear weapons, landmines.

Embryo research

  • Companies whose business activities are directed towards consumptive research on human embryos (this does not include: in vitro fertilisation).

Pornography (adult entertainment)

  • Unacceptable behaviour includes in particular the denigrating and degrading portrayal of individuals or sexual acts.

    Among other things, the production of pornographic content of any format (e.g. films, magazines, etc.), the offering of sex tourism and the operation of brothels are excluded.

    Furthermore, the distribution of pornographic content (revenue limit: 10%) is also excluded.


3. Exclusion criteria for countries

In keeping with the principle of regionalism, Oberbank focuses on companies in those countries in which it is active or which have their registered office in the EU or belong to a UNIDO member state. In addition, we do not engage in proprietary transactions with central governments, which are excluded by the following criteria:




FATF list


EU liste of high-risk countries

Countries on the black, dark grey or grey list of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).
Countries on the EU list of high-risk countries (Regulation (EU) 2020/855).

Climate protection

Countries that have not ratified the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Freedom of the press and media

Countries in which press and media freedom is massively restricted. (Reporters without Borders blacklist).


Countries subject to EU sanctions unless specifically defined policies and procedures are in place at Oberbank to migrate the risks in question to an appropriate extent and in a legally compliant manner.



Oberbank Sustainable Corporate Lending Framework

To contribute to the sustainable development of our environment and our society the Oberbank Sustainable Corporate Lending Framework was developed as a new basis for analysing lending operations in terms of their environmental sustainability. It is aligned with the assessment criteria of the EU taxonomy as well as our exclusion criteria (see exclusion criteria).


The objective of this framework is to define clear sustainability criteria for investment and project financing in the corporate client sector. Furthermore, a second party opinion was obtained from the International Shareholder Services Inc.(ISS).

Oberbank Sustainable Corporate Lending Framework (English)
Second Party Opinion von ISS ESG (English)