The FINANCIAL -- ProCredit Bank Georgia is continuing its efforts to establish a sustainable approach to energy efficiency and the environment. Within this framework, the Bank has implemented in-house energy and resource efficiency measures, which apply to both the technology used in the institution and the behaviour of staff.
“We pay very close attention to the environmental impact of our activities and make every effort to minimize this impact. In addition, we are actively engaged in various environmental protection measures,” Ioseb Rostomashvili, Head of the Environmental Management Unit, told The FINANCIAL.
The environmental management system used by ProCredit banks is designed especially for financial institutions within the ProCredit group and is based on three core principles. Furthermore, ProCredit is the only bank in Georgia that has an Environmental Management Unit, which is reflection of the bank’s dedication to environmental and social responsibility. This unit is responsible for coordinating the activities related to the three pillars and for ensuring the proper implementation of the bank’s environmental policy. The Environmental Management Unit plays an important role in raising the environmental awareness of staff, clients and the general public. The responsibility of the unit covers not only the development and implementation of the bank’s internal Environmental Management System, but also sets standards for the disbursement of “eco loans” and is involved in the financing and support of projects in energy efficiency.
“ProCredit Bank is putting in place an approach to better understand and improve the sustainability of its own energy use and environmental impact. The new head office, for example, was built using environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient materials, such as special low-emissivity glass, Rockwool insulation, etc. The building is designed to make maximum use of available daylight, thereby reducing energy consumption, and all of the materials used in construction meet EU quality standards. One of the most important tools for managing energy efficiency is the BMS (Building Management System), which regulates the heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems in the building. Environmental issues are an essential component of the training provided to ProCredit Bank staff at the local, regional and international level,” Rostomashvili said.
The Bank has implemented an environmental management system based on continuous assessment of the loan portfolio according to environmental criteria, an in-depth analysis of all economic activities which potentially involve environmental risks, and the rejection of loan applications from enterprises engaged in activities which are deemed environmentally hazardous and appear on our institution’s exclusion list. By incorporating environmental issues into the loan approval process, ProCredit Bank is also able to raise its clients’ overall level of environmental awareness.
ProCredit Bank aims to promote economic development that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. In 2012 the bank introduced a green finance programme consisting of energy efficiency loans for private individuals as well as for businesses. Within this framework, ProCredit Bank offers its clients financial services for investments in energy efficiency (EE), renewable energies (RE) and other environmentally-friendly “green” (GR) projects. The aim of these activities is to decrease the negative impact of our clients’ business activities on the environment and to use its green finance services and approach to increase public awareness and understanding with regard to environmental protection. This initiative also focuses on building relationships with suppliers of environmentally-friendly equipment and services and on encouraging them to offer products which bear energy efficiency labels.
“Since introducing this new approach, ProCredit Bank has been actively cooperating with suppliers and has set up special information stands at their businesses, which provide informational materials about energy efficiency for the public. ECO loans provide support for many different business sectors, such as agriculture and production, in which the introduction of energy-efficient equipment could not only improve efficiency, but also increase the quality of production, thus decreasing the negative impact on environment.
ECO loans can be used by private clients to increase the comfort of their homes and at the same time reduce their utility bills,” said Rostomashvili.