ING and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
As a financial institution, ING’s role is to support and encourage economic, social and environmental progress, leading to a better quality of life. We believe in taking the long view and going beyond mitigating harm to driving real sustainable progress, which is why sustainability forms an integral part of our strategy.
The United Nations also plays a big role in encouraging sustainable progress. ING has partnered with the UN since we signed the UN Global Compact in 2006. We were committed to the former Millennium Development Goals and are now also supporting the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs were adopted by world leaders and came into force in January 2016. The goals recognise that ending poverty must go hand in hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs.
We indirectly contribute to many SDGs through the clients and specific projects we finance and the financial services we offer. However, we can have the most impact on the goals that are most aligned with our portfolio and strategic priorities.
As a bank committed to empowering our customers and accelerating sustainability within our company as well as with our customers and in society, our primary focus is therefore on the goals on promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth (goal 8) and sustainable consumption and production (goal 12). These SDGs resonate with ING’s approach to sustainability.
We aim to report on our contribution to several SDGs in our Annual Report, including our primary contributions to SDGs 8 and 12.
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
ING aims to empower our customers, partly by offering products, services and tools that make it easier for them to handle their money matters and make better financial decisions. Better decisions improve both their daily and future finances, but we also believe financially empowered people contribute to a healthy economy and help drive social progress.
Here are just a few examples of how ING’s financial empowerment contributes to sustainable and inclusive economic growth:
- Our “Power for Youth” partnership with UNICEF aims to reach 335,000 adolescents in less-developed countries—helping them develop the social and financial knowledge and skills they need to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and their communities.
- An early-warning mortgage warning system in the Netherlands offers help to customers at risk of defaulting—before they get behind on payments.
- ING co-founded the Think Forward Initiative, which brings together experts, disciplines and data to figure out how to help people manage the financial challenges and risk of the modern era so they can become—and stay—financially fit.
- ING Groenbank directs 10% of its balance sheet towards financial inclusion activities with microfinance as a main component. Since the start of our microfinance activities, we’ve empowered more than 900,000 small business owners. See our report, “A billion to gain”.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
As a large global bank, ING’s role is to facilitate and finance positive change, which means we make careful choices in how, where and with whom we do business. We finance projects that help our clients’ businesses become more sustainable and that contribute solutions to environmental and social challenges.
Here are just a few examples of how ING is contributing to sustainable consumption and production patterns:
- We monitor and manage our environmental impact closely and are transparent about the climate impact of our operations. We are committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity for all buildings we operate by 2020 and will reduce our CO2e emissions, global residual waste and our water footprint each by 20% by 2020.
- ING successfully issued a five-year EUR 500 mln and three-year USD 800 mln green bond in November 2015. The money raised is being used for loans in six categories: renewable energy, green buildings, public transport, waste management, water management and energy efficiency.
- We screen every single potential transaction and client against strict environmental and social risk criteria.
- We know the circular economy plays a vital role in a sustainable future and joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to share and further broaden our knowledge to drive the development of new business models. Read our report on the circular economy, “From assets to access”.