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Management of ESG and climate change related risks

The Intesa Sanpaolo Group, in line with the principles outlined in the Code of Ethics, is aware of the importance of a correct and responsible allocation of resources, according to criteria of social and environmental sustainability. Therefore, it promotes a balanced development aimed at redirecting capital flows towards sustainable investments to balance interests such as the preservation of the natural environment, health, work, the well-being of the community as a whole and the safeguarding of the system of social relations.

Also the Rules for the environmental and energy policy and the Principles on Human Right provide for the consideration of the environmental, social and governance risks associated with the activities of customer companies in the investment and lending decisions by the Group.

To this end, the monitoring of these risks provides for:

  • their inclusion in the Risk Management framework, with particular reference to the governance of Environmental, Social and Governance Risks in lending transations, to the Management of reputational Risks and to the management of the Most Significant Transactions
  • their assessment as part of the processes relating to the implementation of the Equator Principles and Reputational Risk Clearing
  • a specific focus on reputational risks and Climate Change risk within the "Risk Appetite Framework"
ESG risks in loans: policies and guidelines

The Group has developed specific Guidelines for the governance of environmental social and governance risks regarding lending operations which define the general criteria aimed at excluding the financing of companies and/or projects with particularly relevant environmental, social and governance impacts.

Intesa Sanpaolo, in the evaluation of lending transactions, undertakes not to finance companies and projects that are characterised by their negative impact on:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • wetlands under the Ramsar Convention
  • IUCN protected areas I to VI

In addition, the Bank undertakes not to finance companies and projects if these are located in areas of active armed conflict, or if evidence emerges, such as legal proceedings brought by the competent authorities, relating to:

  • human rights violations
  • forced or child labour practices

The sector policies regulating the financing to specific sectors of activities characterised by more relevant ESG and reputational risk profile are referred to this general framework.

The sector policies currently in force are the policy in the armaments sector (“Rules on the granting of credit and transactions in the armament sector”), the coal policy (“Rules for lending operations in the coal sector”) and the rules for the unconventional oil and gas sector ("Rules for lending operations in the unconventional oil & gas sector"). 

Moreover, within the Risk Management Framework the transactions with customers operating in sensitive sectors are subject to risk clearing, comprising an evaluation of ESG and reputational risk profile. Sensitive sectors are defined as those sectors that present a relevant ESG risk, including climate risk; a specific focus is provided for in relation to Most Relevant Transactions and to transactions subject to the application of the Equator Principles, voluntary guidelines for the management of social and environmental risks in project finance.

Also the assessment of creditworthiness conducted for corporate customers includes socio-environmental aspects. In particular, an innovative rating model has been developed in collaboration with Confindustria Piccola Industria and validated by the ECB. In the model, social and environmental aspects can also have a positive impact, leading to an improvement in the rating. In addition to the usual economic and financial assessments, the model aims to make it easier to access credit, with more favourable financial terms, by highlighting the intangible qualities of the business, such as trademarks, patents, quality and environmental certifications, research and development activities, innovation and digitalisation, development and competitive positioning projects, management of business risk and being part of a supply chain.

Further details

Guidelines for the governance of environmental social and governance risks regarding lending operations

Rules on the granting of credit and transactions in the armament sector

Rules for lending operations in the coal sector

Rules for lending operations in the unconventional oil & gas sector

ESG risk management: potential impacts and mitigation actions

The Group has implemented specific processes and responsibilities to understand and manage risks in such a way as to ensure long-term soundness and continuity, extending the benefits to its stakeholders. Below is an overview of the main ESG risks that are significant due to their potential impact on company activities and the related mitigation measures.

Issue
Potential risk
Potential impacts
Mitigation measures
Integrity in corporate
conduct

Compliance risks
with applicable legislation 
(corruption, money,
laundering, taxation, free
competition, privacy,
labour law) and ineffective
response to regulatory
changes
Risk of providing
employees with insufficient
or no training
Reputational risks

Fines and penalties,
limitations to conducting
business
Damage to reputation and
brand
Compliance system divided
into different levels to monitor
the compliance risk, with
specialised functions
Internal control system
Definition of corporate internal
regulations 
Admission to the cooperative 
compliance scheme with the Italian Revenue Agency
Specialist training for employees 
Introducing a whistleblowing system 
Guidelines for the governance 
of environmental, social and 
governance risks in lending 
activities and associated self-regulation 
policies for sensitive sectors 
Adherence to UNEP FI's 
Principles for ResponsibleBanking (PRB) 
Service quality and
customer satisfaction
Unfair commercial
practices
Inadequate customer
service levels
Inadequate customer
communications
Loss of access to
services
Customer 
dissatisfaction with loss 
of competitiveness, 
customers and market 
shares leading to 
reduced profitability
Disputes and complaints 
Fines and penalties 
Damage to reputation and 
brand
Model focussing on the level of
service, on personalised advisory services,
and on transparency
Process of clearing for new
products and services
Careful and proactive
management of complaints
Dialogue with Consumer Associations
Initiatives aimed at ensuring 
accessibility to services
Business continuity plan
Innovation, digital 
transformation and 
cybersecurity 
Ineffective transition 
from traditional to 
digital channels
IT risk
Business continuity 
in the event of an 
emergency, blocking 
or malfunctions
Loss of 
competitiveness, 
customers and market 
shares leading to 
reduced profitability
Disputes and 
complaints
Fines and penalties
Damage to reputation 
and brand
Prevention of IT risk 
Careful assessment of emerging risks 
Development of an innovative offering/ 
solutions 
Physical network integration with online 
structures 
Dissemination of the digital culture 
Innovations aimed at ensuring 
accessibility to services for people with 
disabilities
Financial inclusion and 
supporting production
Inadequate offering of 
products/services to 
customers 
Reputational risks
Loss of 
competitiveness, 
customers and market 
shares leading to 
reduced profitability 
Damage to reputation 
and brand 
Offering development in favour or 
financial inclusion for vulnerable people 
Development of solutions in support of 
the third sector 
Offering development to
support production
Sustainable investments
and insurance
Assessment and control
of ESG risks in the
investment portfolios
Investments in controversial
sectors
Reputational risks
Failure to comply with 
regulations
Loss of competitiveness,
market shares and
customers who are
conscious of ESG aspects,
leading to reduced
profitability
Damage to reputation and
brand
Fines and penalties

Integration of ESG factors into the 
Investment process
Development of the range of ESG 
funds
Company engagement activities
ESG training 
Internal control system
Subscription to PRI (Principles 
for Responsible Investment) 
and the Principles of 
Stewardship 
Subscription to PSI (Principles 
for Responsible Insurance)
Community support Reputational risks
Damage to reputation 
and brand
 
Development of investments and 
partnerships with a social impact in the 
community 
Development of training and work 
projects for the next generations 
Initiatives supporting the promotion of 
culture for social cohesion 
Development of institutional initiatives 
in support of the community
Employment protection Conflicts and related 
labour dispute risks
Disputes
Strikes with impacts on
service continuity for
customers
Employee dissatisfaction
with impacts on
productivity
Responsible management
of corporate restructuring
processes, with the reallocation
of employees to other activities
New hires to promote
generational change
Management of labour dispute risks
System of labour relations
Retention,
enhancement, diversity
and inclusion
of the Group’s people
Inadequate employee
growth and motivation
Incapacity to acquire and
maintain talents 
Termination of 
the employment 
relationship with 
managers holding 
relevant roles
Insufficient focus on 
diversity and inclusion issues
Employee dissatisfaction
with impacts on productivity
Lack of adequately trained
and qualified personnel
Inadequate customer
service levels
Damage to reputation 
and brand
 
Investments in training activities
Talent management programmes
Recognition of employees' merit
Succession plans for business 
continuity
Initiatives to enhance diversity and 
inclusion, including training with a 
specific focus on the topic
Diversity & Inclusion Principles 
Sexual orientation and identity 
diversity regulations
Rules for combating sexual harassment
Adhesion to “Women’s Empowerment
Principles”
Health and safety
of customers and
employees
Accidents in the workplace
Occupational diseases
Risks associated 
with the COVID-19 pandemic
Robberies
Employee dissatisfaction
with impacts on productivity
Damage to persons 
arising from the 
COVID-19 pandemic
Damage to persons and objects
during robberies
Damage to reputation 
and brand
health and safety training
Certification of the health and
safety management system
(ISO 45001) in all branches and
buildings in Italy
Assessment and management
of infection risk
Risk assessment for
workplaces and work processes
Development of specific organisational, 
training, technical and medical solutions 
to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
Preventing and combating
robberies
Employee well-being
Inadequate employee 
motivation
Work/life balance 
difficulties
 
Employee dissatisfaction
with impacts on productivity
Loss of skills as result of
employee exits

Risk assessment of subjective
and social conditions
Assessment of work-related
stress
Work-life balance initiatives
Offering of solutions for welfare and 
quality of life in the company
Development of climate surveys

Transition to a  
sustainable, green and 
circular economy
Management of social
and environmental risks
in loans
Transactions or loans in
controversial sectors
Reputational risks
Loss of 
competitiveness, market 
shares and customers 
who are conscious of 
ESG aspects, leading to 
reduced profitability 
Problematic loans or 
need for provisions 
Damage to reputation 
and brand
Non-performing loans or 
needs for provisions 
Damage to reputation and 
brand


Assessment of ESG, climate change 
and reputational risks within the Risk 
Appetite Framework
Rating model which also includes 
intangible aspects of companies 
Risk clearing processes which 
include environmental, social and 
governance aspects 
Equator Principles for project 
finance

Guidelines for the governance
of environmental, social and
governance risks concerning lending
operations and associated self-regulation
policies for sensitive
sectors
Opinions involving the
assessment of social-environmental
factors
Inclusion of ESG factors into the credit 
framework
Development of a specific offering to 
facilitate the transition with dedicated 
plafond 
Employee and customer training and 
engagement 
Development of study and research 
projects

Management of risks related to climate change

Intesa Sanpaolo takes into account the social, environmental and governance risks, associated with the activities of its customer companies and the economic activities it invests in and pays particular attention to the in-depth study of sustainability issues related to sectors considered sensitive, i.e. those with a significant socio-environmental risk. In this context, the Bank pays particular attention to the risk arising from climate change (both physical risk and transition risk). Key activities in climate risk management  concern:

  • the identification, assessment and measurement of such risks; 
  • the implementation, development and monitoring of a company-wide risk management framework, including risk culture, risk appetite and credit limits.

Within the Risk Appetite Framework (RAF), the Group has introduced a specific reference to climate risk, working to develop its integration into the existing risk management framework with particular reference to credit risk and reputational risk. 

The potential impacts, the related time horizon (short, medium, long) and the mitigation and adaptation actions taken for each potential risk observed are identified annually, with reference to both indirect and direct risks.

Indirect risks related to climate change

Potential risks
Timeframe* Potential impacts
Actions

Transition

Changes in public policies 
Technological changes
Changes in customer/
consumer preferences

Short/medium/long
term
LOANS
Reduction of business
or increase in costs for
customer companies
with possible
consequences on
creditworthiness and
solvency
ASSET MANAGEMENT
Consequences of
climate change on
companies in the
portfolio with consequent
reduction in the
value of assets under
management
Documentary impacts
Impacts on the offering 
of products and services 
to customers 
Impacts on internal and 
IT procedures
Reputational impacts
LOANS
Assessment of ESG and climate
risks on loans in sensitive sectors
Inclusion of environmental risks
when assessing creditworthiness
Assessment of the materiality of 
ESG risks in business sectors 
Counterparty ESG scoring
Implementation of self-regulation 
policies for the assessment 
and management of the socio-environmental 
risk of loans in sensitive sectors 
Energy transition support through  
funding to the Green Economy ,
Circular Economy and ecological transition
Participation in Net-Zero initiatives 
with objectives to reduce financed 
emissions

ASSET MANAGEMENT 
Assessment and control of ESG risks in
the investment portfolios
Implementation of sustainability 
self-regulation policies 
Participation in Net-Zero initiatives 
with reduction of the emissions 
associated with investments 
Active monitoring of evolving  
regulations and internal policies 
IT investments 
Adaptation of the range of 
products and services
Transition
Changes in public policies
Technological changes
Changes in customer/
consumer preferences
Short/medium/long
term
 
Reputational impact,
negative perception
from Stakeholders and
in particular from SRI
investors due to nil or
inadequate management
of such risks
Possible exclusion from
sustainability (ESG)
indices or a worse ESG
position or lower rating

Inclusion of environmental risks
when assessing creditworthiness
Implementation of self-regulation
policies for the assessment
and management of the socio-environmental
risk of loans in
sensitive sectors
Stakeholder engagement initiatives
Participation in international
working groups on climate change
issues
Participation in Net-Zero initiatives 
with objectives to reduce financed 
emissions
Transition
Changes in environmental 
regulations
Introduction of new
greenhouse gas emission
limits or new related
reporting systems
Short/medium term
Financial implications
of environmental
regulations and emission
limits and/or taxes
imposed on customers
operating in certain
economic sectors
Offering of dedicated financial
solutions and specialist advisory
services for customers in the field
of renewable energies and energy
efficiency
Participation in working groups
and initiatives relating to climate
change
Active collaboration with policy
makers to highlight the need for
stable and clear environmental
regulations
Transition
Introduction of regulation on
climate risks for the financial
sector
Short/medium term
Reduction of Group
revenues deriving from
excessive exposure to
more vulnerable sectors
to climate risk
Inclusion of climate risk in risk
management systems
Rebalancing of portfolios
Supply of products and services
connected with transition
Changes in customer/
consumer preferences
Short/medium term
Reduction in Group
revenues due to the
increased competition
generated by the
growing demand for
ESG products and the
fall in demand for non-ESG
services/products
Offering of products and services
for the Green economy, Circular 
Economy and the ecological 
transition
Green and ESG bond issues
Physical
Extreme weather events
(floods, heavy snowfall,
whirlwinds)
Short/medium/
longterm
Financial implications
for corporate and retail
customers damaged
by extreme weather
events, with possible
consequences on their
creditworthiness and solvency
 
New subsidised loans intended to
restore damaged structures
Suspension or moratorium of
repayments of loans issued to
damaged customers

* 0-2 years short term; 2-5 years medium term; over 5 years lon g term

Direct risks related to climate change

Potential risks
Timeframe* Potential impacts
Actions
Transition
Changes in environmental
regulations
Short/medium term
Possible fines in
the event of failure
to comply with new
regulations
Constant and precautionary
monitoring of possible changes to
national and European regulations
 
Transition
Introduction of new
greenhouse gas emission
limits or new related reporting
systems
Increased cost of raw 
materials
Short/medium term
Costs for upgrading
heating and air
conditioning systems
and for new monitoring
tools
Costs related to eventual 
taxes connected 
with greenhouse gas 
emissions
Increase in costs of
energy supply
Own Emissions Plan 
implementation and monitoring 
Energy efficiency actions 
Increase in the use of renewable 
energy sources 
Preventive actions to replace old 
systems with next-generation 
systems with a low environmental 
impact, as well as consumption 
monitoring systems during the  
renovation of branches and buildings 
Transition
Changes in environmental
regulations and standards
that the Group voluntarily
adheres to (ISO standards)
Short/medium term
Costs of changing the
processes of certification
in the event of changes
to standards
Continuous and precautionary 
monitoring of possible changes in
standards
Participation in specific training
courses and workshops
Physical - acute
Extreme weather events
(floods, landslides, heavy,
snowfall, whirlwinds)
Short/medium/long
term
Possible damage to the
Bank’s infrastructure and
possible disruption of
activities
Precautionary assessment of the
hydrogeological risks for buildings
Adoption of a business continuity
plan and measures to prevent/
mitigate/manage physical damage
to the Bank’s structures
Physical - chronic
Increase or reduction in
average temperatures
Medium/long term
Increase in energy
supply costs connected
with greater heat or
electricity consumption
Energy efficiency actions 
Increase in the use of renewable
energy sources
Preventive actions to replace old
systems with next-generation
systems with a low environmental
impact, as well as consumption
monitoring systems during the
renovation of branches and
buildings
ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 
certification for the management of 
environmental and energy issues

* 0-2 years short term; 2-5 years medium term; over 5 years lon g term

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