Pursuing sustainable choices in the environmental sphere is an increasingly pressing issue for those companies that are aware of the impact directly or indirectly generated by their business activities. Intesa Sanpaolo considers environmental protection as an integral part of its business strategy and for years it has been committed to promoting responsible resource management in order to reduce its carbon footprint and evaluate – with the utmost care - the consequences of its economic activities on the environment. The responsibility towards the territory and the community implies an integrated approach encompassing all areas of the bank’s operations and proves to be all the more significant in consideration of the very role played by the bank as financial intermediary.
In order to boost and support the green economy, over the years Intesa Sanpaolo has developed a wide and diversified range of financing and advisory products dedicated to all types of customers, whether in Italy or abroad.
According to the most recent ABI Report on Banks and the Green Economy, from 2007 to 2013 the banking system financed around 27 billion euro worth of projects related to the production of renewable energy and geared to energy efficiency, to which the Intesa Sanpaolo Group contributed approximately 11 billion euro.
Despite the reduction in incentives, the offer of loans targeting the corporate, small business and retail customer segments wishing to invest in energy savings and renewable sources continued in 2014.
In terms of personal loans to retail customers, in 2014 almost 500 “Prestito Multiplo esigenze ecologiche” loans were disbursed for a total of over 12 million euro.
As regards professionals and businesses, the short- and medium/long-term loans continued in support of projects associated with the use of photovoltaic panels, biomass plants, hydroelectric plants and energy efficiency works. In May, measures were taken to simplify and streamline the range of environmental loans for small business customers. In fact, due to the end of the incentives scheme and of the operating method based on the assignment of credit to the GSE, the Energia Business loan was eliminated with the management of photovoltaic business transferred to the existing product in the catalogue, Sostenibilità Business, which also includes the loans that benefit from the incentives through the Conto Termico scheme.
In general, loans for renewable energies are showing a downward trend as a result of both the difficult economic period and the dramatic reduction in state incentives.
In addition, the Energy Desk of Mediocredito Italiano, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group bank that brings together medium/long-term loans, lease, factoring and agribusiness and food management in a single business, continues to focus its attention on energy efficiency, also participating in work groups to discuss the issue with the competent institutional authorities and structuring partnerships on dedicated financial proposals with leading Italian operators. The Mediocredito medium/long-term loans for renewable energies are always preceded by an examination of the project which constitutes consultancy for the customer and support for the bank’s credit assessment at the same time. Among other things, this examination forecasts the environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions avoided thanks to the project. In the lease area the Leasenergy product has diminished significantly in importance due to the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the photovoltaic sector and in line with the energy sector in Italy, where a clear fall in new contracts has been recorded. There are a total of around 1,700 existing lease contracts, which contribute to the construction of plants for the production of over 2.2 Gigawatts of energy from renewable sources.
As part of the Sustainable Energy and Leasenergy programme, Mediocredito Italiano provides “tailor-made” financial solutions and specialist advisory services dedicated to businesses that invest in plants for the generation of energy from renewable sources or in energy efficiency processes. Since the end of 2012 an operating lease product for financial reasons to support investments in public and private lighting has also been available.
The development of products related to the current partnerships with the Regional Financial Corporations Finpiemonte, Finlombarda and Veneto Sviluppo, as part of investment programmes developed by SMEs in the Industrial, Energy and Innovation/Environment sectors, has continued. During the year around 40 million euro was granted. The Intesa Sanpaolo Group and Lombardy Energy Cluster, the association that represents a network of over 90 Lombard businesses dedicated to the generation, transmission and distribution of energy, signed an agreement in May 2014 to share technology expertise, scientific skills, specialist consultancy services and financial resources with the aim of fostering the creation of research, innovation and internationalisation projects in the energy sector.
In the area of non-profit organisations, Banca Prossima provides credit support for energy efficiency projects with solutions that help customers optimise the financial flows generated by the investment and thus reduce financing costs. The financial solutions proposed by Banca Prossima offer customers a wide range of customisation options: organisations can choose a loan in which the repayment instalment equals the cost savings obtained thanks to their specific energy investment plan, meaning that that net cash flow for the customer is equal to zero. The loans have a maximum duration of 10 years and enable the customer to obtain up to 80% of the cost of the project to cover fixed investments but also intangible investments. The interest rate immediately reflects the benefits of the improved efficiency levels: indeed, the investment makes the non-profit organisation more sustainable and thus reduces its risk level and credit access cost. In 2014, Intesa Sanpaolo Start Up Initiative also proposed initiatives dedicated to the Cleantech, transport and construction sectors, with specific focus on technologies dedicated to environmental sustainability.
Intesa Sanpaolo renewed its membership of the Desertec Industrial Initiative association, which this year carried out a number of international-scale studies (Desert power: getting started) on development potential in the sector and on measures to be taken to make use of the potential of desert areas, as indicated in the Desertec project vision.
In an especially difficult economic context that is increasingly depleting the resources available to individual States for infrastructure and social measures, the availability of Structural Funds has acquired increasingly strategic importance and their timely and efficient use has become more and more challenging. EQUITER is among the Group companies that have been taking on this challenge for some years now: apart from committing its own venture capital in the environment, infrastructure and utilities sectors, it also manages three closed-end funds, established with a capital base of approximately 190 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund, dedicated to financing urban development and energy retrofit projects. As part of the Jessica initiative, set up with support from the European Investment Bank and the regional authorities of Sicily, Sardinia and Campania, EQUITER selects projects capable of repaying the capital financed by helping to overcome market inefficiencies and failures that inhibit access to sufficient funding. The projects can include a wide array of measures: urban redevelopment, the revitalisation of disused or deteriorated areas, the upgrade of mobility systems, the creation of urban parks and social gathering centres, or the improvement of energy efficiency. However, it is important that these are implemented in strict compliance with the values that characterise EU measures: social inclusion, sustainable growth, environmental protection, and the dissemination of legal, safety-conscious actions.
All the company departments involved in environmental issues meet regularly at the “Green Table”, an interdepartmental work group coordinated by the CSR Unit which discusses current topics and offers the opportunity to share new regulatory measures and internal best practices. The 2014 meetings focused on the Expo and environmental sustainability, with the participation of the Expo Sustainability Manager, on the sustainable bonds market, on energy efficiency measures at public authority level, and on the new energy efficiency legislation, including the obligations deriving from Law Decree 102/2014 and the 2014 national energy efficiency plan.
The Group’s International Subsidiary Banks also provide a wide range of products and services in support of the green economy. In 2014, Privredna Banka Zagreb disbursed 28.8 million euro for the purchase or construction of properties with energy class above B and for the improvement of the energy efficiency of existing properties through the insulation of building enclosures and re-roofing, as well as for the installation of solar panels or geothermal plants. Slovak bank VÚB also financed SME energy efficiency measures of a total value of over 7.7 million euro. Several banks entered into agreements with public and private funds specialised in energy efficiency promotion. For example, Banka Koper, always actively engaged in the area of green products, disbursed over 9 million euro to its retail customers in 2014 as part of an agreement with the Slovenian public environmental fund. Banca Intesa Beograd works with KFW Bank, a German development bank, to finance energy efficiency initiatives and in 2014 granted almost 2 million euro to SMEs and over 1.1 million euro to the public sector. Considering that some economies are less focused on the industrial sector, the international subsidiaries are also very active as regards loans to the agricultural sector. Approximately 70 million euro was disbursed in 2014, over 57 million of which by Banca Intesa Beograd.
In 2014, over 2.3% of all Intesa Sanpaolo loans regarded the renewable energy sector, agriculture and environmental protection, for a total of around 643 million euro.
Loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy