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 an insight into our total power generation lending portfolio. We also provide our views on various ways energy is generated, energy efficiency and on our own power consumption.
ING finances the generation of electricity, with renewables accounting for 59% of power generation lending outstandings at year-end 2019. This includes wind, solar, water and geothermal power.
Ahead of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, we decided to stop financing new coal-fired power plants (excluding a standing commitment to the project Cirebon II in Indonesia). We have since declined multiple coal-related projects and transactions.
In December 2017, ING decided to accelerate the reduction of our financing to coal power generation, committing to reduce our exposure to close to zero by 2025. As a result of these policies, lending to individual coal-fired power plants decreased by 43% in 2019, and decreased from €607 million at year-end 2015 to €131 million at year-end 2019.
By the end of 2025, we will no longer finance clients in the utilities sector that are over 5% reliant on coal. We will however continue to finance non-coal energy projects for these clients in support of their energy transition. Essentially, we are aiming for zero coal by 2025.
ING’s coal policy refers to the thermal coal used in power generation because it can readily be substituted by gas until clients transition to renewables such as wind and solar. However, when smelting steel a different kind of coal is used to fire up the process: coking coal. The world cannot do without this yet, which is why ING is focusing on thermal coal.
Nuclear energy has a small carbon footprint, but there are negative nuclear waste-related environmental impacts, as well as safety risks with very high impact. In principle, our policy allows us to finance nuclear energy. Yet so far, we haven’t been directly involved in financing individual nuclear power plants. We apply strict standards for loans to utility companies operating nuclear power plants, capturing the risks related to reactor technology, potential earthquakes and political and economic stability in the country of operation.
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 type of energy is generated in Indonesia and Iceland, but also in Belgium and the Netherlands where it’s mainly used to heat buildings and greenhouses. ING finances these types of projects globally.
Sustainable hydrogen plays a significant role in the energy transition, especially for the sectors that are more difficult to decarbonise, like transport/logistics and steel. However, even with investment growing, hydrogen still faces challenges. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy remains expensive, while issues remain about storage and transport infrastructure, which is holding back widespread adoption.
We support a number of pilot projects in hydrogen and are closely following technology developments. We will continue to work with our clients on the development and financing of hydrogen.
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.
For instance, in ING Real Estate Finance we use innovation to provide sustainable solutions to clients. Tools like the ‘energy-robot’ and our sustainability app provide insights that help our clients decrease their energy usage in buildings, making them more energy efficient. More info: https://www.ingwb.com/insights/ing-ref/ing-ref-duurzaam
Our own energy footprint
We want to lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy production. To do so, we monitor and manage our own environmental impact closely. We’ve been offsetting our carbon emissions since 2007. We’ve reduced our overall energy consumption, increased efficiency and increased renewable electricity to 98% of total electricity consumption.
These are our targets, updated in April 2020.
- We exceeded our previous target to reduce our own total CO2e emissions. They fell by 57% in 2019 from 2014, while our target was 50%.
- Now we have split our CO2e reduction targets into two categories to be more effective and transparent about our progress.
- We will reduce our CO2e emissions from our buildings and data centers by 80% by year-end 2022, and 90% by year-end 2030.
- We will reduce our CO2e emissions from business travel by airplane and car by 25% by year-end 2022.
- We will reduce energy consumption by 65% by year-end 2030 (new target).
- We will continue to procure 100% renewable electricity for all buildings we have management control worldwide as part of the RE100 initiative.
- We will reduce our global residual waste by 26% and our water footprint also by 26% by 2022 (compared to 2014). The target was previously for a 20% reduction by 2020.
- And we will continue offsetting remaining carbon emissions, keeping our current state carbon neutral.
See more information on our own operations and environmental performance.
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Mail to: Sustainability@ing.com