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 over 57% of power generation loans outstanding at year-end 2020. 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 7% to €122 million in 2020, following a 43% reduction in 2019. This compares to €607 million at year-end 2015, when our first restriction came into effect.
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 and increased renewable electricity to 100% of the electricity consumed in buildings where we have management control.
These are our targets, updated in April 2020.
- We will reduce our scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions from our buildings and data centres by 80% by year-end 2022 and 90% by year-end 2030 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our scope 3 CO2e emissions from business travel by airplane and car by 25% by year-end 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce energy consumption by 65% by year-end 2030 (new target, base year 2014).
- We will reduce our global residual waste by 26% by year-end 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our water footprint by 26% by 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will continue to procure 100% renewable electricity for all ING buildings where we have management control worldwide.
- We will remain carbon neutral by offsetting remaining carbon emissions.
- We will preferably procure green energy from local renewable projects: electricity supplied by energy sources that are naturally and continually replenished, such as wind, solar power, geothermal and hydropower.
- We will maintain a standard for transparency about our progress by disclosing material environmental performance indicators in our annual report.
Find more information on our own operations and environmental performance.
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Mail to: Sustainability@ing.com