With a view to responsible management, the banks are called upon from multiple parties to be answerable for the decisions they make when granting loans to controversial sectors such as arms, nuclear energy, fossil fuel extraction, etc. In particular, pressure campaigns and public opinion and customer awareness campaigns are becoming more frequent, aiming to steer bank’s decisions.
Intesa Sanpaolo is aware of the importance of correctly and responsibly allocating credit, and focuses specifically on the in-depth study of issues associated with the most sensitive sectors.
In recent years in-depth studies of the coal, waste-to-energy and water industries have been conducted and circulated within the Group (the water study was also made publicly available).
Among the sensitive sectors monitored by the Bank on an ongoing basis, production and trade of military weapons hold particular importance. In fact, this is a complex and controversial area that since 2007 Intesa Sanpaolo has decided to manage through a restrictive internal policy.
In accordance with the values and principles in the Code of Ethics, the Bank has decided to take on its responsibility as financial intermediary, sharply limiting its participation in activities that involve the production and trade of military weapons. In particular, specific operating methods to limit and control the granting of loans and other financial services to companies in this sector were defined, and all transactions relating to import/export of military weapons was suspended, despite being authorised by Italian Law 185/90.
Intesa Sanpaolo has also specified in its policy certain particularly controversial sectors with which it intends to refuse business: arms banned by international treaties, such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, cluster and scatter munitions, weapons containing depleted uranium and anti-personnel mines.
Concrete application of the policy includes a number of exceptions that consider the interests of national defence, also in light of an integrated European defence. The Bank has therefore decided to support Inter-governmental Programmes between countries that respect democratic principles and to authorise imports and domestic activities in favour of the national armed forces and relative designated entities.
Our commitment of consistently standing by our decisions has always been recognised and appreciated by the associations responsible for monitoring the arms sector and the related financial flows. In fact, authorised transactions progressively decreased over the years to reach zero in 2012. In 2013, the last year in which Italian Law 185/90 granted authorisations, the amount was less than 1 million euro (see the “Controversial Sectors” @).
In 2014, support continued with regard to the International Subsidiary Banks, for which a specific internal policy was issued in 2010. Each Bank, through an appropriately trained delegate, monitors and reports to the Corporate Social Responsibility Unit on a quarterly basis regarding all information on operations during the period, in accordance with the principles of the policy.