In 2018, Intesa Sanpaolo created a €5bn fund to support sustainable development through business loans for companies and projects supporting Circular Economy practices. So far, €1.2bn has been loaned to 95 such initiatives.
The idea was born of the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center in Milan. Established as the bank’s corporate governance department, it is now a company in its own right – owned in full by Intesa Sanpaolo – and reflects the scale of the sustainable banking revolution by its very existence.
Guido De Vecchi, executive managing director, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, admits that the last month has been challenging, given that Covid-19 has precluded much global business activity. But generally, he says, companies are moving towards sustainable practices as a way of boosting competitiveness and securing a place in the market for the long term.
When a company or project makes an application for funding from the Circular Economy fund, the Innovation Center team evaluates it.
“If the team judges the project to be circular and the client commits to a set of Circular Economy KPIs, the company will be able to access credit under the best possible conditions,” says De Vecchi.
Circular Economy lending: building a new world through finance
Three people behind sustainability work at Intesa Sanpaolo explain the criteria used to decide who gets funding, why investors need educating on sustainability and why innovative thinking is more important than ever.
“It’s already pretty evident how the future will be shaped around our ability to co-operate at a private and public level in finding an innovative approach to the reconstruction of our economies and communities”
“We are all on a learning curve. The issuers, investors and supervisors. But the speed of this learning curve is increasing”
“The Circular Economy is part of the group’s broader commitment to sustainability… It is a key point for our stakeholders as well”
Last updated 3 November 2021