UniCredit announces its "Green Deal": The Group commits to reducing its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020
supporting the "20-20-20" goal set by the EU
UniCredit Group and WWF signed a strategic international partnership agreement aimed at integrating environmental sustainability and climate change into the banking business in accordance with Group CEO Alessandro Profumo's vision of making the Group become the European leader in terms of sustainability. The first ambitious goal UniCredit has set is to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020, thus supporting the EU energy goal - also known as '20-20-20' - defined in the "Climate & Energy Package".
"Our Climate Change strategy", said UniCredit Deputy CEO Paolo Fiorentino, "is based on the introduction of specific policies integrated into the banking business, as well as on the development of our Environmental Sustainability Program along three main paths: the reduction in internal emissions resulting from the Group's banking activities, the reduction in financed emissions related to lending activities, and the implementation of specific initiatives and projects aimed at strengthening the environmental identity of all Group employees. In addition, we will also support sector initiatives and international protocols focused on the same goals."
UniCredit's "environmental roadmap" therefore includes activities to achieve a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions generated by the Bank's offices and branches by 2020 (mid term goal -15% emissions by 2012). Such internal emissions will be monitored and, if targets are not fully achieved, the Group will implement specific offsetting projects to close the gap to the announced target. This will be done using high-value credits, the "Gold Standard". The first step will be the assessment of the actual "carbon footprint" of the Group, evaluating by means of a "Carbon Audit" the direct emissions resulting from the Group's banking activities (internal emissions).
The second strategic and integrated pillar is a strong focus on financed emissions, coherently with the commitment mentioned, particularly promoting energy efficiency and renewables' lending, as the Group is well aware of the key role a banking institution can play through financial leverage in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. For this reason, in 2009 the Group, together with WWF, plans to develop an innovative model in the banking industry that will measure the actual environmental impact of the loan portfolio in terms of GHG emissions, and therefore make it possible to steer lending decisions according to these criteria, thus enabling the Bank to contribute to the development of the Green Economy.
Within this framework, the first innovative product promoting energy efficiency has been developed in partnership with WWF: House Efficiency is a loan product targeted, at this preliminary stage, at Group employees in Italy. It will be launched over the next few days and later extended to the other countries where the Group operates. It is an inexpensive loan supported by energy consulting services. This loan product will generate real benefits such as savings on energy bills and CO2 emission reduction, which will be monitored and certified for reporting.
- For example, for the residential sector in Italy: based on the available data (consumption / energy savings), in order to reduce CO2 emissions by one ton every year on average, a family would need to invest €4,000 in energy efficiency measures at their homes, whereas SMEs would reduce their annual CO2 emissions by 12 tons by investing €10,000.
- This means that €1 million in green loans granted for energy efficiency can help achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions; more specifically:
- in households: around 250 tons - as a basis for comparison consider that 250 tons of CO2 emissions saved correspond to the emissions of around 110 cars over one year, that is, 1.6 million km travelled (1).
- in SMEs: around 1,200 tons - as a basis for comparison consider that 1,200 tons of CO2 emissions saved correspond to 300 round-trip flights between Rome and New York for one person (1).
"With this partnership we intend to support UniCredit in its virtuous plan to progressively integrate environmental issues into the Group strategies. This year WWF celebrates the Year of Climate 2009 and we are glad to contribute with our knowledge and experience to the implementation of this ambitious program. The commitment of a leading European banking group to reducing its carbon emissions is favorably welcome. Steering the investment and credit line portfolio to provide credit facilities and financial support for the most virtuous sectors can play a strategic role in tackling climate change", said Michele Candotti, Director General of WWF Italy.
"2009 is a crucial year for climate change, as world leaders will be called to take action to tackle global warming agreeing on a global deal for climate that should be finalized at the Copenhagen COP" added Kim Carstensen, Leader of WWF Global Climate Deal Initiative.
"Even in a context such as the current one," continued Paolo Fiorentino, "we cannot forget that we must develop our business by acting responsibly, as we know that sustainability is the key to our future and the future of our children, and that environmental protection is for us not only a commitment but also a significant business opportunity".
Rome, 6 maggio 2009
UniCredit Media Relations
+39 02 88628236
WWF Press Office Italy
+39 06 84497377