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As a bank, ING has an impact on biodiversity and at the same time is exposed to risks related with biodiversity loss. In terms of impact, this mostly is made through our loans to companies. Companies may negatively affect biodiversity through their operations, like by changing the integrity of a natural ecosystem. In terms of risk, many businesses also depend on the services that nature provides, such as agricultural companies that need insects to pollinate their crops. The loss of biodiversity, which includes insect populations, poses risks to these companies. As a financier we’re exposed to those risks as well.

There is a strong connection between biodiversity loss and climate change. There is also a strong connection between both of these and human rights, as they both present risks to people.

To manage these risks ING has identified the sectors food and agriculture, construction, mining and energy to be highly exposed to biodiversity risk. Biodiversity is integrated into our environmental and social risk (ESR) policy framework and biodiversity risk analysis takes place at both the client and deal level, including project finance.

A specific topic of interest is deforestation. Reducing deforestation is a priority for protecting biodiversity and can make major contributions to climate mitigation. That’s a reason why ING does not finance operations located in or significantly impacting UNESCO heritage sites, Ramsar wetland sites or areas designated for protection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN I and II areas). This restriction applies to transaction assessments during credit approval. For more information, read our stance on deforestation. ING conducts enhanced due diligence before financing projects requiring significant land-use change, and for operations impacting IUCN Category III and IV sites or potentially vulnerable ecosystems. In 2022 we expanded this to include ‘Key Biodiversity Areas’, which are home to critical populations of the world’s threatened species.

ING is a signatory of the Equator Principles. To help advance the minimum standard for due diligence and to support responsible risk decision-making, we’ve contributed to the development of the new Equator Principles (EP) 4 framework. For project finance in scope of an EP assessment, ING applies the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards 6 on biodiversity.

From risk to opportunity

While we strive to address the risks of biodiversity loss, we also look for opportunities for positive impact. We need to manage risks related to biodiversity loss and help clients find opportunities to do business in a way that’s in harmony with nature.

You can read more on ING’s approach to biodiversity

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