ING raises €27bn in funding for growth of sustainable clientele

Dutch multinational banking group ING has revealed the efforts it has implemented to finance the shift to a low-carbon economy, which has seen the company fund more than €27bn to clients aiming to solve environmental challenges.

ING revealed that for the first two quarters of 2016 it had enabled clients to “transition to becoming more sustainable” by financing projects totalling €27.8bn. This equates to a year-on-year increase of 16.7% and means that ING is closing in on its 2020 funding target of €30bn.

“Throughout the business cycle, we strive to support our clients’ financing needs and to drive sustainable progress through our business activities,” ING’s chief executive Ralph Hamers said. “Our core lending book grew by €14.8bn during the second quarter of 2016, with growth well diversified across geographies and industry sectors.

“Our financing of sustainable projects and clients that are environmental outperformers rose to €27.8bn, including deals in renewable energy and sustainable buildings in the second quarter.”

According to ING, the majority of the funding – dubbed “sustainable transitions financed (STF) – was down to an increased assessment of the sustainability of clients as well as funding new projects.

One of the landmark projects that ING acted on was the £2.6bn Beatrice offshore windfarm, situated in the Outer Moray Firth off the coast of Scotland. ING acted as joint bookrunner for the project, which is one of the largest private investments made into Scottish infrastructure. Once operational, the windfarm will power around 450,000 homes.

Circular banking

The company, which is 79% of the way towards achieving its STF goal, also issued its first green bond in November 2015. Proceeds from the bond have been fully allocated, with a quarter going to new sustainability projects. ING estimates that the impact of the green bond will lead to an annual avoided emissions total of 656 kilotonnes of carbon equivalent.

Earlier this year, ING became the latest global institution to join the Circular Economy 100 (CE100), the innovation platform launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate circular economy ambitions.

Through the CE100 platform, ING aims to grow its knowledge and network by collaborating with experts, partners and fellow members to promote the circular economy and unlock business opportunities to help clients transition towards more sustainable business models.

Speaking exclusively to edie, ING’s global head of sustainable finance Leonie Schreve dared companies to embrace the circular economy, claiming that there is a need to look at the “longer and more sustainable models because it is better business”.

Matt Mace

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