In an interview with myclimate, Alessandro Monsurrò, Head of Marketing KAM Personal Banking at UBS explains why Topsy's commitment to the climate is not a one-off, and how important the topic is to UBS in general.
Mr Monsurrò, how is it that a mascot who originally wanted to motivate children to save has now taken up the cause of environmental protection?
Motivating children to regularly pay their savings into the bank and so learn how to handle money is still the main goal of our children's programme. To make sure these abstract messages are taken on board by the 3-8 year old target group, we have been consistently incorporating them in fun and educational storytelling formats for years. Following the four seasons (2015), the big expedition (2016) and Topsy's sports year (2017), the focus of 2018 is on the environment. We liked the idea of telling exciting stories that also contribute to the bank's sustainability goals. Ultimately, society as a whole also benefits from this.
Why did you decide to involve myclimate in this UBS customer programme?
The expectations in Topsy's environmental year were high because, among other things, we wanted our savings fox to have an impact in every region. This is why we decided to host a series of events where our youngest banking customers and their parents could find out more about environmental protection. myclimate gave us specialist support in organising an exciting treasure hunt, which was held at 20 events involving around 1000 participants. In addition, we were able to develop online environmental tips, crafting instructions for recycled material, online games and many other activities together. The expertise of our long-standing partner helped ensure the quality the content we shared, as well as acting as a widely accepted indicator of credibility.
In what form does UBS get involved in climate and environmental protection in its business operations?
We manage our environmental programme with an environmental management system according to ISO standard 14001. Our environmental programme includes investment in sustainable property and efficient information technology, energy and water efficiency, paper and waste reduction and recycling, the use of environmentally friendly products (such as renewable energy and recycled paper), business travel and employee commuting. We are reducing our own ecological footprint by increasingly sourcing renewable energy. As a member of the global RE100 initiative, this means obtaining 100% renewable energy by 2020.
What do you say when UBS is accused of being part of the climate problem and not part of the solution?
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The transition to a resource-saving economy is in all of our interests. Banks undoubtedly play a key role in this transition to a resource-saving economy. We must have answers as to how we respond to challenges. At UBS we are well aware of this responsibility and have therefore developed a comprehensive strategy to support the transition process and thereby counteract climate change in recent years.
Was the Topsy environment year a one-off, or is the fox still environmentally aware and climate-conscious?
It was clear to us from the start that by announcing the start of the environmental year, we were making a landmark decision and entering into a long-term commitment. The focus of Topsy's adventures will indeed shift to new areas, but environmental aspects will be taken into account in future and will always be important to the savings fox and his friends.
UBS has been working with myclimate for over ten years. The bank regularly offsets the CO₂ emissions resulting from business flights with myclimate, most recently with the programme, "Cooking with Corn Cobs Instead of Coal" in China. UBS is also a funding partner of the newly launched myclimate education project, "Jobs for Future", which is aimed at young people choosing a career. For many years, UBS employees have also had the opportunity to support myclimate projects in their annual employee donation programmes.