Sustainability Loan: credit for sustainability investments by SMEs

The image accompanying the News on S-Loans, ESG-Linked loans dedicated to investments in sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises, portrays a group of young men and women with different somatic features, laughing together informally leaning on chairs and desks of a modern and equally informal work environment

For small and medium-sized companies investing in improving their sustainability profile, Intesa Sanpaolo has developed the Sustainability Loan (S-Loan), an innovative financing solution dedicated to the ESG transition of companies: S-Loans feature a bonus mechanism that allows the company to obtain a discount on the cost of the loan upon achieving specific objectives (KPIs) in the ESG (environmental, social and governance) area.

Since the launch of the first ESG S-Loan in 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo has diversified its offerings both in terms of new KPIs dedicated to customer objectives and new products that can be associated, launching the Diversity S-Loan in April 2021, the Climate Change S-Loan in July 2021, the Agribusiness S-Loan and Tourism S-Loan in November 2021 and the CER S-Loan in March 2023. There are now six types of S-Loan available, depending on the sustainable development objectives pursued by each company.

Intesa Sanpaolo has also decided to amplify the social impact of each S-Loan disbursed by making a donation to a solidarity project identified on its crowdfunding platform, For Funding, stimulating the same companies to donate in turn.

Intesa Sanpaolo's S-Loans received the MF Innovazione award at the MF Banking Awards 2022 in the category "Financing for private and business customers": the award is organised by MF - Milano Finanza to highlight the most innovative banking products in Italy and trends in the field.

Results and indicators

Between 2020 and 2021, 715 projects worth approximately €1.2 billion were funded through S-Loans.

Approximately 70% of the companies that sought to improve their sustainability profiles chose an environment KPI. In particular, the most adopted pairs of indicators were:

  • introduction of a procurement policy that integrates environmental considerations and development of programmes to increase employee welfare
  • share of revenue dedicated to community support activities and development of programmes to increase employee welfare.

Intesa Sanpaolo supports the projects and investments of its corporate clients in the ESG arena: the new 2022-2025 Business Plan calls for new credit of €88 billion for the green economy, circular economy and ecological transition.

Intesa Sanpaolo’s S-Loans:

S-Loan ESG 

S-Loan ESG, with six KPIs for the 360° improvement of sustainability performances regarding: the procurement of renewable energy or bioenergy and the introduction of a procurement policy that takes account of Environmental considerations; activities to support the community organised on the basis of a multi-year programme and the development of programmes to engage customers and/or suppliers in sustainability issues, for the Social area; training activities for employees on environmental/social sustainability and the development of welfare programmes to improve the well-being of employees, for the Governance area.

S-Loan Diversity

S-Loan Diversity, with four different KPIs for promoting gender equality and the role of women in the socioe conomic context: promotion and launch of initiatives and good practices for facilitating and improving female participation in the community; launch of initiatives to drive up female employment rates in companies; definition and implementation of internal policies designed to guarantee gender equality in the business context; introduction of corporate welfare programmes for female employees which promote equal opportunities.

S-Loan Climate Change

S-Loan Climate Change, which offers six KPIs for developing the company business in an environmentally-friendly way, investing in projects designed to combat climate change and reduce the company’s emissions. The new KPIs regard the procurement of renewable energy, the introduction of “Green Procurement Policies”, the achievement of Carbon Neutrality, respect for the standards of sustainable construction and sustainable architecture, the conversion of fleets through the introduction of vehicles with reduced environ- mental impact and the launch of initiatives to protect and restore biodiversity.

S-Loan Agribusiness

S-Loan Agribusiness, which includes six KPIs for joint-stock companies in the sector interested in protecting themselves against the risks of climate change and in taking advantage of the opportunities that derive from  the adoption of more sustainable business models. The KPIs are focused on the specific needs of agrifood industry businesses and regard the reduction of water consumption, the transition towards organic farming models, quotas of company vehicles and/or farm vehicles with reduced environmental impact, the adoption of Agriculture 4.0 solutions for saving energy and/or reducing water consumption, the quota of electricity and/ or heat energy self-produced using renewable energy systems and finally the adoption of technologies and processes for the traceability of products.

S-Loan Turismo

S-Loan Turismo, based on six KPIs for joint-stock companies in the tourism sector, such as the purchase of electricity from renewable sources or bioenergy, the reduction of energy consumption, the quota of company vehicles with reduced environmental impact, the redevelopment/construction of real estate to respect sustai nable construction standards, the reduction of water consumption, the achievement of Carbon Neutrality with regard to the company’s activities (Scope 1 and 2).

S-Loan CER

S-Loan CER, with two KPIs for companies that want to invest in projects to improve energy self-sufficiency by building renewable energy plants and sharing self-produced energy in a Renewable Energy Community.

Moreover, in relation to the type of financing combined, the selected S-Loan solution can be associated with the main government guarantees: Guarantee Fund, SACE Guarantee Italy and SACE Green Guarantee.