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Support to the Circular Economy

The Circular Economy is fundamental for an economic development that generates positive environmental and social impact. The circular model is based on the redesign of industrial processes and business models to generate economic and competitive advantage for companies, with a regenerative approach towards natural capital. Its objectives include the generation of a virtuous cycle in the use of resources, overcoming the linear model which involves extraction, production, sale and waste. The Intesa Sanpaolo Group promotes the spread of the model, drawing on the support of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the main promoter of the global transition towards the Circular Economy. The collaboration with the Foundation, of which Intesa Sanpaolo is now Strategic Partner, continues through a three-year agreement 2022-2024. Intesa Sanpaolo will continue to redefine business strategies in an innovative way, ensuring financial support for investments to facilitate the redesign of the industrial system. The activity is considered of primary importance also for the 2022-2025 Business Plan.

Loans in support of the Circular Economy

In order to provide tangible support to companies involved in the transition process, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, within the time-frame of the 2018-2021 Business Plan, has decided to provide a credit plafond of up to 5 billion euro (6 billion euro following the operation with UBI), aimed at companies which adopt the circular model with innovative procedures, granting the best conditions for accessing credit.

Since the launch of the credit line, 7.7 billion euro has been disbursed (including 1.2 billion euro of Green Mortgages to retail customers), 5.5 billion euro of which in 2021.

In 2020 the credit line was also made available to the International Subsidiary Banks Division, which in 2021 made use of it in both the Circular Economy and Green areas to the tune of around 22 million euro, over 19 million of which for SMEs, with 21 transactions carried out by 6 banks in the division and 2 million euro connected with a deal for the Corporate segment.

Over the years a tranche of the credit line has also been allocated to support businesses that invest in the production of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable farming and biodiversity, while another tranche has been dedicated to Green Mortgages for the acquisition of new energy-efficient homes (class B and above) or the redevelopment of homes with consequent improvements in the energy efficiency class.

As regards the credit process, on the basis of specific Circular Economy criteria defined together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center is responsible for providing a technical assessment on the level of circularity of the initiatives proposed by businesses.

Out of a total of 800 applications from Corporate customers, reviewed by the Innovation Center since the launch of the credit line, around 300 projects with circular criteria and valued at over 3.9 billion euro and around 100 projects with green criteria valued at more than 2.6 billion euro had been funded by the end of 2021.

Support has been provided for numerous company projects for activities such as the replacement of critical and fossil fuel materials with recycled or organic materials, the reuse of urban organic waste for the production of biomethane and compost and the recovery of CO2, the revamping of renewable energy plants with the extension of their lifetimes and the increase in their production capacity, and the recovery of industrial waste for its reuse in new product lines.

The commitment to the circular economy was confirmed in the 2022-2025 Business Plan by promoting the dissemination of this model, renewing the partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and announcing €8 billion of credit lines for the circular economy. In the first half of 2022 approximately 933 million euro were disbursed within the framework of the plafond dedicated to the circular and green economy, which provides for specific incentives.

The evalutation with the Circular Economy Standard

During the year, the experimental assessment of businesses along their value chain also continued (over 100 businesses have been interviewed since the start of the initiative) with the use of the Circular Economy Standard, an instrument used to measure the level of circularity; 12 in-depth webinars on Circular Economy issues were also held for businesses in collaboration with the Regional Governance Centres and the IMI CIB Division, and as part of the ESG Workshop initiative.

The Circular Economy Lab - Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center

The transition to a Circular Economy continued, also with the contribution of the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, a Group company which oversees all the Circular Economy activities.

The Circular Economy Lab (hereinafter, CE Lab), launched in 2018 thanks to a Framework Agreement between Intesa Sanpaolo and Fondazione Cariplo with the goal of supporting and assisting the transformation of the Italian economic system and disseminating new models of value creation in the collective interest, accelerating the transition to the Circular Economy, was relaunched with the renewal of the partnership signed in July 2020.

The training on the Circular Economy

In order to disseminate and share these criteria within the Bank, an online training course targeted at over 50,000 Group’s people has been organised and updated. Training activities also continued in 2021, producing the following results: over 400 Group’s people were involved in specific in-depth analysis activities; 20 learning objects were developed; over 450 students participated in circular lectures. With regard to the Banks of the International Subsidiary Banks Division, during the year 5 online sessions were held for the Managers and Relationship Managers of the Corporate&SME functions.

The Start up Initiative Programme

With regard to start-ups, 2021 saw the continuation of the Startup Initiative which selects the most promising innovative start-ups, provides them with coaching on approaching the market and introduces them to the stakeholders of the innovation ecosystem. The selection process integrates the circularity criteria in the overall assessment. An Italian start-up in the bioeconomy sector was heralded as Circular Economy success story.

UNEP FI among the Intesa Sanpaolo's partnership

In the area of partnerships and collaborations, the meetings of the Alleanza Italiana per l’Economia Circolare (Italian Alliance for the Circular Economy), promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo, also continued. In 2021 UNEP FI launched a new initiative to promote the best circular economy practices in the banking sector and Intesa Sanpaolo, through the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, actively contributed to the working group which concluded its activities in mid-December with the publication of “The Guidance on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Target Setting” report as part of the Principles for Responsible Banking. ntesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center has been part of UNI Technical Commission 057 since 2019, which works on the definition of voluntary certification standards of circular economy.

Latest news and projects

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