The modern world depends on energy for everyday needs ranging from food production to the transport of goods and people, to heating and lighting. Not wasting it is as important as how it’s generated.
Here’s our view on various ways energy is generated and on energy efficiency.
ING finances the generation of electricity, with 49% of our project financing plus other lending awarded to renewable energy (wind, solar, water and geothermal power) around the whole world in 2015.
In November 2015 ING decided to end financing of new coal-fired power plants and thermal coal mines worldwide, effective immediately. We also said we would no longer finance any new clients whose business is over 50 percent reliant on operating coal-fired power plants or thermal coal mines.
As part of our responsibility to existing clients, we are honouring standing commitments, as financing a coal-fired power plant is a long process. We had already made commitments to four projects before we announced our new policy, including Punta Catalina (Dominican Republic), Cirebon II (Indonesia), and two others we can’t yet disclose due to confidentiality reasons
It’s important to realise that we had a coal policy before the decision in November 2015, which guided us in funding projects that met high technical as well as social and environmental standards, such as the Equator Principles. We stand behind the choices we made then, even though we wouldn’t make them now under our current policy.
Going forward, we will continue to reduce our global credit exposure to thermal coal-related businesses. Over the years we had already decreased the percentage of coal-fired power stations in our project financing portfolio from 18% in 2011 to 13% at the end of 2015, and we’ll continue to report on this openly and transparently.
Nuclear energy has a small carbon footprint, but there are risks attached. What about accidents, and nuclear waste? In principle, our policy allows us to invest in nuclear energy. Yet so far, we haven’t been directly involved in financing any nuclear power stations. We have very strict standards for loan applications in this area, vetting things like relevant technology, region (whether or not it is an earthquake-prone area) and country (political and economic stability).
Geothermal power is the renewable energy that can be created by the difference in temperature between the earth’s surface and heat reservoirs deep under the ground. This is typically done in Indonesia and Iceland, but also closer to home in Belgium and the Netherlands where it’s mainly used to regulate the temperature in buildings and greenhouses. ING finances these types of projects globally.
Using less energy saves costs and decreases CO2, which is better for the environment. We’re committed to helping our clients in all sectors transition their business to be more energy efficient. Besides that we all can benefit from it, it´s an important step in combating climate change.
At ING, we monitor and manage our own environmental impact closely. We invest in making our operations and ways of working more energy efficient, source renewable energy whenever we can and have been offsetting our carbon emissions since 2007.
Our goals for our own direct footprint on the environment is as follows:
- We will reduce our CO₂ emissions by 20% in 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce global residual waste by 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our water footprint by 10% by 2017 and 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).