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.


To the Code of Conduct for suppliers and business partners


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).


Financing and account business

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.


Asset management

In the asset management, the following exclusion criteria do not apply, but rather special Minimum Standards tailored specifically to asset management.


Any products that do not fulfil the Minimum Standards are excluded. For sectors that entail higher sustainability risks – coal, controversial and conventional weapons, tobacco, adult entertainment and raw materials – the Minimum Standards define limits that must be complied with (e.g. no direct investment in companies whose share of revenue from coal mining exceeds 5%).


The Minimum Standards must be observed for discretionary asset management and active product recommendations from the product governance advisory universe. Therefore, only those securities that meet Oberbank's Minimum Standards are available to customers advisors.


Proprietary Trading

In case of new investments by Oberbank, the following exclusion criteria must be fully observed. Compliance with the exclusion criteria in the area of own investments is also laid down in Oberbank's investment policy.


Example of government bonds: Oberbank does not purchase government bonds from countries that have not ratified the Paris Climate Agreement. If a country withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, Oberbank does not acquire any new government bonds from this country as of this date; however, bonds acquired before the withdrawal are still held.


1. General exclusion criteria

Oberbank does not enter into business relationship and/or will distance itself from companies if labour law and human rights violations (including the employment of children), illegal business practices or controversial environmental behaviour are known or become known in the course of the business relationship.




Labour law violations

when at least one of the five fundamental principles of the ILO - Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work is violated:


  • Freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining

  • Prohibition of forced and compulsory labour

  • Prohibition of child labour

  • Prohibition of discrimination in the workplace

  • Health and safety 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

when human rights are violated in the meaning of nationally and internationally recognised legal bases (e.g. European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, UN Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, etc.).


These include, among others,

  • interference through political arbitrariness,
  • torture,
  • restriction of privacy and freedom of expression,
  • human trafficking,
  • systematic interference with religious freedom, such as activities that negatively affect indigenous peoples and their livelihoods, or projects such as the construction and operation of large dams that demonstrably disregard the rights of the local population

 Illegal business practices

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

Controversial environmental behaviour

Controversial environmental practices that violate applicable national or international environmental laws and agreements (e.g. Bern Convention*, Ramsar Convention**, Convention on Biological Diversity***)  and are incompatible with general sustainable values and the preservation and promotion of biodiversity.

This includes, for example, systematic behaviour leading to contamination or pollution, projects such as the construction or operation of large dams with a major negative impact on the environment and biodiversity, or encroachment in ecosystems and protected areas (e.g. Natura 2000 protected areas**** and other protected areas in the Oberbank markets*****).

* Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

** Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

*** Convention on Biological Diversity

**** For the Natura 2000 areas in the Oberbank markets, see the links for Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

***** According to Verein Österreich, Austria's protected areas include six national parks, 48 nature parks, one UNESCO biosphere park and one UNESCO World Heritage region. According to the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, there are 8,902 nature reserves in Germany, including the Pomeranian Bay, the Ammer Mountains, the Lower Oder Valley National Park and the Lüneburg Heath. In the Czech Republic, there are five national parks (including Šumava and Krkonoše) as well as numerous nature reserves; see the information provided by the Czech Tourist Board. According to the Slovakian National Tourist Board, there are nine national parks (including Tatra, Pieniny, Small and Great Gatra) as well as numerous protected mountains, gorges and bodies of water. According to the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, Hungary's nature reserves include the Balaton Highlands National Park, the Danube-Ipoly National Park and the Aggtelek National Park.



2. Sector-specific exclusion criteria

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

  • Construction of new and refurbishment of existing nuclear power plants

  • Mining and enrichment of uranium, plutonium, thorium and mixed oxides of plutonium and 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)

Gems and conflict minerals

  • Extraction (mining) of conflict minerals****** or blood diamonds*******  or similar


  • Companies that are active in the fishing industry or process or sell fishery products and do not compliy with nationally and internationally recognised standards (e.g. EU Species Protection Regulation, MARPOL Convention, Marine Stewardship Council, FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries)

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 trade in parts of such animals.

  • Arranging hunts or the hunting of such animals

  • Activities with live animals carried out for research purposes (animal testing) to test end products in the area of consumer goods and other non-medical products (e.g. cosmetics, detergents) that involve the risk of causing harm and suffering to the animals involved and are not legally required according to the respective national legal system.

High volume fracking and extraction of oil sands


Crude oil

  • Companies whose business purpose is high-volume fracking

  • Extraction of oil sands

  • New purpose-bound business activities for new unconventional oil projects aimed at expanding the oil infrastructure (e.g. shale oil, oil sands, Arctic oil********, ultra-deepwater oil)


  • Extraction (mining) and production of coal

  • Energy generation from coal

  • Construction of new and refurbishment of existing coal-fired power plants

    New business with companies whose primary business purpose is trading in coal

Controversial and heavy weapons

  • Production of and trade in controversial and heavy weapons, 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 industry and comparable industries (“red light district”; adult entertainment)

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

  • Among other things, the following are excluded:

    - the production of pornographic content of any format (e.g. films, magazines, etc.),

    - the offering of sex tourism,

    - the operation of brothels and

    - the distribution of pornographic content (revenue limit: 10%)


  • Mining activities without a permission

Betting and gambling

  • Companies that operate in or offer illegal gambling

****** 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

******* Definition according to the Kimberley Agreement: smuggled diamonds that have financed or are financing various wars in Africa.

******** The Arcitc Monitoring & Assessment Programme (AMAP) defines its scope and thus the geographical region of the Arctic as follows: "High Arctic, extending to the sub-Arctic areas of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States, including associated marine areas".


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:



The following are excluded

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 set out in the 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 the freedom of the press and the media freedom is massively restricted (blacklisted by “Reporters without Borders”)


Countries subject to UN-, US- or 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.


4. Dealing with corporate groups

Within a group, those companies whose business activities violate the above exclusion criteria are excluded or not financed. The other companies in the group remain eligible for financing.


Oberbank Sustainable 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)


The revised version of our Sustainable Lending Framework came into force in January 2024. The reason for the revision of our Sustainable Corporate Lending Framework was the publication of environmental objectives three to six of the EU Taxonomy. The scope of application was also changed: Whereas the first edition of the framework only covered corporate financing, this framework also includes retail financing in the scope of the project evaluation and audit.


Oberbank Sustainable Lending Framework 2024 (Englisch)