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Sustainability

Climate action

Never before has society faced a challenge as enormous as reducing CO₂ emissions. Banks play an important role in this process, as it is the banks that will have to provide loans to facilitate the transition to a carbon neutral society. We are taking action to keep our planet as livable as possible for our own and future generations.

In 2019, BNG Bank wholeheartedly subscribed to the Climate Commitment for the Financial Sector to achieve a 49% reduction of CO₂ emissions of its loan portfolio by 2030 – a target that chimes in with the worldwide Paris Climate Agreement. Even before that, in 2018, BNG Bank had already decided to exclude all forms of fossil fuel extraction from financing. We may tighten our exclusion policy even further in future – for instance, if clients’ climate performance falls short of the effort required to achieve the CO₂ reduction target. 2019 was also the first year in which we mapped out the CO₂ emission levels of our credit portfolio. In that connection we joined the Platform for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), which develops methodologies to calculate CO₂ emissions by financial institutions. According to the PCAF methodology, clients’ direct and indirect emissions are attributed to the bank based on a set of comprehensive valuation rules. Annually we report on our clients’ progress on the assessed indicators and on the reduction of CO₂ emissions associated with the loan portfolio. The PCAF methodology is used by most Dutch banks and several foreign ones.

As a next step we published our Climate Plan, ‘Going Green’ (pdf, 14.5 MB), in December 2022, in which we outline how we will work to bring emissions from our credit portfolio and those arising from our own operations in line with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Climate Agreement in the coming years. We will submit these reduction targets to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to make sure they are tested against the latest scientific insights in the field of climate change.

Making an impact with our clients: BNG Bank & Wocozon

BNG Bank has been financing the Wocozon Foundation since 2015. Wocozon helps dozens of housing corporations to make homes more sustainable by installing solar installations. In this way, the foundation makes a significant contribution to reducing CO₂ emissions and helps to keep energy costs affordable. Wocozon has already provided 35,000 social rental homes with solar panels.

Making an impact with our clients: BNG Bank & Smart City Netherlands

The municipality of Renkum is installing twelve ‘smart’ street lights that also serve as charging points for electric cars. The CityCharge street lights avoid cluttering up the streetscape with separate charging stations and help municipalities to accelerate the transition to greater sustainability. The street lights are an initiative of Smart City Netherlands, a collaboration between Primevest Capital Partners and BNG Bank.

‘Going Green’, BNG Bank’s Climate Plan

To achieve our objectives, we focus on emission reductions in the four biggest sectors of our bank's operations: housing associations, municipalities, healthcare and education. Concentrating on the direct and indirect emissions caused by the energy consumption of real estate in these sectors, we were able to map 95% of the emissions they cause.

Sector-level targets

In ‘Going Green’, our Climate Plan, we have set clear targets at sector level. For each sector, we describe the actions we expect our clients to take to reduce their CO₂ emissions and motivate them to create an emissions reduction road map, if they have not done so already. If clients have not formulated an action plan by 2025, then in future for every new real estate financing application of € 5 million or more they will have to include a plan showing that the investment is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Our own operations

BNG Bank has measured the CO₂ emissions of its own operations in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) since 2010. BNG Bank’s office building has had an ‘A’ energy label since 2017 (amply meeting the required ‘C’ label for buildings in 2023). Also, the bank has received ESG ratings of ‘C+ (Prime)’ by ISS ESG, ‘Negligible Risk’ by Sustainalytics, ‘A’ by MSCI and and ‘Advanced’ from Vigeo Eiris.

Still, we are determined to reduce emissions generated by our own organisation even further. A large-scale renovation of our office building will take place in 2024, which will involve making our building even more sustainable. Our ambition is to also include our mobility-related emissions in this Climate Plan as of next year. We already encourage our employees in every possible way to travel by public transport and by bicycle.

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