How we measure

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We make our biggest contribution to a sustainable future through our financing. We are committed to better understanding the impact of our lending activities and working with our clients to drive progress on climate action and financial health. We have ambitious targets to guide us.

The Terra approach

We’re steering hundreds of billions of euros in our loan book towards meeting net-zero climate goals. We call this the Terra approach.

Responsible finance

We continue to fund companies and sectors that are helping the transition to a low-carbon economy. This includes funding projects that advance renewable energy, the circular economy and that help combat climate change. We support these clients though our climate finance portfolio.

We also focus on projects in healthcare or basic infrastructure, for example. We call this social impact finance. We serve clients considered to be environmental, social and governance (ESG) leaders in their respective industries, as determined by ESG ratings provider Sustainalytics.

In 2021, lending to industry ESG leaders (based on the scores of independent ESG ratings provider Sustainalytics) grew to €37.8 billion from €28.5 billion in 2020. The tables below provide a breakdown of our direct lending for environmental and social activities at year-end 2021. It shows that our total climate finance and social impact portfolio increased by €3.1 billion to €20.2 billion. Of this, the climate finance portfolio, which supports clients and projects helping the transition to a low-carbon economy, rose to €19.5 billion (from €16.5 billion in 2020). Social impact financing increased by €0.2 billion to €0.7 billion.

Responsible finance portfolio 2021 2020
Industry ESG leaders 37.8 28.5
Climate finance 19.5 16.5
Social impact finance 0.7 0.5
1 The outcome Industry ESG Leaders is derived from the management scores of ESG ratings provider Sustainalytics.
2 If criteria are strengthened, the new criteria are applied from the moment they are implemented. Outcomes of transactions finalised prior to such changes remain "as is" at the time they were completed.
3 The amounts reported under climate finance or social impact finance may overlap with industry ESG leaders and should not be added up.

Climate finance 
in EUR million 2021 2020
Energy 1 5,923 5,322
Construction and real estate activities 10,536 9,865
Transport 2,063 1,087
Water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation 218 117
information and communication 497 53
Circular economy - 7
Manufacturing - -
Waste management 2 - 21
Green loans (multi-purpose) 3 288 -
Other 4 - 26
Total 19,524 16,498

Social impact finance
in EUR million 2021 2020
Basic infrastructure 377 275
Community development - 49
Essential services 193 209
Healthcare 82  
Total 652 533
1 Assesment methodology has been updated and comparatives aligned accordingly
2 Category no longer exists in 2021 as it was merged with 'Circular economy'
3 Includes green loans that are aligned with more than one Green Loan Principles category
4 Other category has been removed in 2021

Sustainable investment services

ING offers sustainable investment (SI) services to our retail banking customers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

The services may include brokerage, advisory and discretionary management. We provide dedicated portfolios, structured products and investments funds, and cover all asset classes.

ING has developed a methodology to assess all asset classes including fixed income, equity and investment funds based on a diverse set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Our company-level analysis integrates a positive and a negative ESG screening. The positive screening covers over 100 ESG criteria assessing the risk, reputation and opportunities profile of each company. We choose to invest in companies with high ESG profiles. The negative screen excludes companies with a track record of negative corporate conduct or whose products and services have negative impacts on environment or society.

In our investment funds selection we also apply a two-step process: a quantitative and qualitative screen. The quantitative screen is conducted to understand the ESG profile of the asset and the fund manager. It covers nine ESG categories across the areas of products, selection methodology and governance. The qualitative screen consists of an interview with the fund manager focused on their conviction and ESG approach. In a final step we validate the fund’s investments against our sustainable investing universe. This same approach is being followed for structured products, except that there is no fund manager.

Sovereigns are assessed on a variety of sustainability factors. We look at the social factors, environmental performance, corruption, and endorsements of international treaties. Here we combine the best-in-class scores with yes or no questions that in the end define the sustainability of a sovereign.

In 2021, our retail customers in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands invested a combined € 19.1 billion using ING’s SI services, up from € 13.2 billion in 2020. We have the ambition to keep growing our SI services.

ING is a service provider signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and has committed to incorporating ESG issues into the investment decisions, policies and processes that underpin our investment services.

Definition industry ESG leaders:

Industry environmental, social and governance leaders are clients that ING considers ’best-in-class’ based on a strong management score (50 or higher) by ESG rating provider Sustainalytics. This score refers to how well a company is managing its relevant ESG issues. It assesses the robustness of a company’s ESG programs, practices and policies. Companies or sectors that are restricted by ING’s Environmental and Social Risk policy (for example coal companies) are excluded, as well as companies with high or severe controversies as determined by Sustainalytics.

Definition and sub-categories climate finance:

ING’s climate finance portfolio includes projects that advance renewable energy, circular economy and help combat climate change. Transactions in this portfolio are in line with:

  • ING’s scorecards: These scorecards are used by front office teams to determine if the transaction meets the sustainability criteria in its respective sector. These scorecards increase accuracy and consistency and follow market standards.
  • Green Loan Principles[1]: These are a set of voluntary guidelines issued by the Loan Market Association to aid the development of a market-standard approach to green lending.

The sub-categories of ING’s climate finance portfolio can be summarised as follows:

  • Energy
  • Construction and Real Estate
  • Transport
  • Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation
  • Information and communication
  • Circular economy
  • Manufacturing
  • Green Loans (multi-purpose)

[1] LMA - Green Loan Principles

Definition and sub-categories social impact finance:

ING’s social impact finance portfolio includes projects with positive social outcomes, like affordable housing or basic infrastructure improvements. Transactions in this portfolio are in line with:

  • ING’s scorecards: These scorecards are used by front office teams to determine if the transaction meets the sustainability criteria in its respective sector. These scorecards increase accuracy and consistency and follow market standards.
  • Social Loan Principles[1]: These are a set of voluntary guidelines issued by the Loan Market Association to aid the development of a market-standard approach to social lending.

The sub-categories of ING’s social impact finance portfolio can be summarised as follows:

  • Basic infrastructure
  • Community development
  • Affordable housing
  • Essential services
  • Employment generation
  • Food security
  • Socio-economic advancement and empowerment
  • Healthcare

[1] Social Loan Principles (SLP) - LSTA

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