Nature and biodiversity

... min read

Nature is all around us. It’s essential for our existence, good quality of life, and economic prosperity. Biodiversity, which is the variety of and interaction between all living things on earth, gives nature strength and resilience.

As a bank, ING has an impact on nature while also being exposed to risks related to the loss of nature. These are both mostly related to our loans to companies and are assessed via our Environmental and Social Risk (ESR) framework. The ESR framework guides ING in identifying, assessing, and mitigating environmental and social risks associated with the clients and transactions that the bank finances.

The approach to nature-related risks is twofold: first, there’s an overarching environmental and climate-related risk policy that sets out our principles, expectations of clients, and restricted activities. For example, it is our policy not to finance projects or clients active in various high-value natural areas, including Ramsar Wetland areas, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or areas designated for protection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Category I and II areas).

Secondly, sectors that have a higher risk of adverse impact on nature, such as mining or agriculture, have a sector-specific ESR policy in place. Here, there are additional due diligence requirements aimed to mitigate negative impacts to nature and more detailed guidelines on our evaluation approach for these clients, including best practices.

Another element of our approach is to conduct 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 including ‘Key Biodiversity Areas’. These 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, it is our policy to apply the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards 6 on biodiversity.

You can read more on ING’s approach to nature.

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