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 2014 the Italian 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.

In 2015, 3% of all Intesa Sanpaolo loans regarded environmentally-friendly projects including renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental services, for a total of around 1,495 million euro. The figure is on the rise compared to 2014 both due to an increase in this type of loans to businesses, and to improved reporting methodology on the corporate segment, which introduced a more detailed classification of the purposes and environmental interventions to report and provided for a collection of ad hoc data on this segment thanks to managers’ reports.

Loans for environmental purposes 

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.

As for personal loans to individuals, disbursements for environmentally-friendly purposes continued in 2015 through the product "Prestito Facile esigenze ecologiche”. 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.

As part of the Sustainable Energy and Leasenergy programme, Mediocredito Italiano, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group bank that brings together medium/long-term loans, lease and factoring services, 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.

The Energy Desk of Mediocredito Italiano continues to focus on energy efficiency, by also participating in work groups to discuss the issue with 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 supported by an examination of the project which constitutes consultancy for the customer and support for the bank’s credit assessment at the same time. Moreover, a new credit policy was defined, with the aim of encouraging investment in energy efficiency and energy-saving, supported both by energy-consuming companies and by ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) in favour of private individuals and the Public Administration.

In 2015 the "Sustainable Energy" dedicated loans were 47, for a total of 140 million euro.

In the lease area, the decline of the Leasenergy product (7 new contracts worth 48.5 million) continues in line with the lease energy sector in Italy. A total of almost 1,800 existing lease contracts is in place, which contributed to the construction of plants for the production of over 2.2 Gigawatts of energy from renewable sources. The new 2015 lease contracts will result in annual emission savings estimated at 16,220 tonnes of CO2.

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. Moreover, in 2015 it renewed the existing operating agreement with Federesco (National Federation of ESCOs) designed to activate the energy redevelopment process within the Third Sector. The agreement allows customers of Banca Prossima to request a free pre-assessment of their plants and an overall analysis of their energy situation by the Energy Service Companies associated with Federesco and certified Unicei 11352, evaluate possible savings derived from specific energy efficiency actions, carry out the suggested actions thanks to loans with repayment instalments in line with the expected savings and consequently contribute to increasing the overall sustainability of their social practice. During 2015, in order to assist its customers throughout this process, Banca Prossima has trained, on the topic of energy efficiency, 22 employees of the Bank throughout the country, who are therefore, for the non-profit clients, the contact persons on savings and energy efficiency issues.

In addition to the dedicated products and advisory services, the green economy is supported by specific local conventions. In 2015 Carisbo, Cassa di Risparmio di Forlì e della Romagna and Banca Monte Parma (now Intesa Sanpaolo) signed the Convenzione Fondo Energia Emilia Romagna (Emilia Romagna Energy Fund Convention) to support investment for improving energy efficiency, the production of energy from renewable sources and the construction of technological systems that allow for the reduction of energy consumption from traditional sources by the Emilia Romagna region companies.

The Group’s International Subsidiary Banks also provide a wide range of products and services in support of the green economy.

In Serbia, Banca Intesa Beograd works with the German development bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) to grant loans to small businesses and small enterprises for energy efficiency, environmental protection and renewable energy activities. In collaboration with the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), it offers loans to households and small and medium enterprises to improve energy efficiency. Additional funding to SMEs for energy efficiency are provided with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The Croatian bank PBZ offers loans to individuals wishing to purchase or build class A+, A, B residential buildings or to those wishing to implement energy efficiency measures in existing buildings through the insulation of building enclosures and re-roofing, as well as for the installation of solar panels or geothermal plants.

In Slovakia, VÚB Banka provides support to renewable energy through co-financing for their development in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the EBRD, as well as financing for energy efficiency in the renovation and reconstruction of residential buildings.

The Slovenian Banka Koper, which has always been actively engaged within the area of loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy, provides funding to private customers on the basis of the agreement with the Slovenian Environmental Public Fund - Eco fund, with the aim of facilitating investment in environmentally friendly buildings. Eco Fund is the largest Slovenian financial institution and promotes investments that comply with the national action plan for the environment and the European Union's environmental policy.

Intesa Sanpaolo Romania provides financial support, including through state and European funds, to small and medium-sized farms in the seasonal phases and supports young people and start-ups in rural areas.

Banca Intesa Russia offers its customers a line of credit for the treatment of waste water and the modernization of compressed air systems.

Finally, Intesa Sanpaolo Albania has entered into an agreement with IFC (International Finance Corporation), with the aim of developing the Albanian market of renewable energy, with special focus on small hydro power plants. It is also significantly developing the agribusiness sector, supporting the growth of local agricultural supply chains (from producer to distributor) with advisory services and loans.

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 an 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: aside 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.

2015 saw the continuation of the constructive dialogue on the environment and renewable energy of 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. In 2015, three meetings were held: in the first one the "Waste to Energy" study was presented by the CSR unit to the other functions, in order to better understand the social and environmental risks of loans in the area of waste processed to produce energy; in the second one the new internal policy dedicated to Energy Efficiency was presented by Mediocredito. Finally, in November a meeting was dedicated to the contribution of the "green" loans of Intesa Sanpaolo to the development of the country based on the analysis made by the Italian Banking Association, and to the approach of the Group on the issue of circular economy.

The circular economy

The Circular Economy unties economic growth from the consumption of exhaustible natural resources through the efficient use of the current stock of raw materials and products and promotes the recovery of natural capital. The goal is to avoid the destruction of value inherent in the current model, constructed according to the linear sequence of supply-production-sales-consumption-waste and to contribute in an immediate and concrete manner to combat climate change.

The three key principles of Circular Economy are:

  • optimization of the yield of productive resources through the re-design of products and services placed on the market so that the components are reusable (potentially endlessly) at the end of the cycle of use;
  • conservation and recapitalization of natural capital thanks to the exclusive use of renewable energy;
  • minimization of negative external output with the ambition to gradually get, thanks to mechanisms for recovery, reuse and recycling, to zero-waste production scenarios.

Intesa Sanpaolo cooperates with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the reference institution at international level in the field of Circular Economy. In June the Bank became member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to enter the Circular Economy acceleration sharing platform and in December it became a global financial partner of the Foundation. In its role as a global partner, Intesa Sanpaolo intends to help redefine the business strategies and business models of its customer companies, to make them evolve in an innovative and sustainable way and to ensure financial support for investments in support of the re-design of the industrial system.

Studies and research on the green economy

Intesa Sanpaolo has always been committed to the development of study and research projects in the environmental field.
In 2015 the Bank contributed to the Start City project, the analytical study on Italian metropolitan cities promoted by the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) and carried out by The European House-Ambrosetti.
The study analyses the drivers and vocations for the sustainable development of the Italian metropolitan cities and supports the importance of a more widespread application of the logics and principles of the circular economy within the framework of policies to support growth.

In December 2015, the Intesa Sanpaolo’s Research Department, in collaboration with Assobiotec, the association of biotech companies, presented in Turin the Second Report on Bio-economy in Europe. The study describes an important aspect for the Italian economy: the estimates show that the bio-economy is already worth more than 244 billion euro in production, equal to 7.9% of the national total, and employs about 1.5 million workers.
Moreover, it features high growth potential in the coming years, also thanks to the presence of a core team of players in the downstream supply chain of bioindustry. The development of an economy that grows while respecting the environment and reducing dependence on non-renewable resources must be a priority for our country, also because it triggers more innovation.
To achieve this goal, biomass production, which in recent years has declined in Italy both in absolute terms and per capita, will become increasingly crucial. It will be important to increase productivity, but also to reclaim used land and, above all, to better use the waste from current processes, as part of a supply chain rationale and with a view to increasing the circularity of production systems.