Saturday, November 7, 2009

BPI allots P5 billion for sustainable energy-related projects

By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) Updated November 07, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is prepared to extend to P5 billion in loans to sustainable energy-related activities.
The amount, which forms part of a risk sharing agreement with the International Finance Corp. (IFC), is the second tranche of an energy conservation program accord signed early this year.
The IFC is the private investment arm of the World Bank, has been increasing its assistance to activities related to sustainable energy and renewable energy. Its latest thrust is to tie up with domestic financial institutions for risk sharing activities.
So far, BPI has provided P1.2 billion in loans to renewable energy, sustainable energy and energy efficiency-related projects.
“It has been raised to P2 billion, but we are willing to go up to P5 billion,” Aurelio R. Montinola III, BPI president, said during the formal launching of the bank’s 2008 Sustainability Report. BPI is the first commercial bank in the Philippines to release report based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
It was learned that one borrower spent up to P300 million to improve its energy and energy-related facility for manufacturing.
Montinola said BPI, which is a member of the Ayala Group of Companies, has invested P100 million on energy efficient equipment for its head office and its 865 branches, business centers and remittance centers.
BPI plans to reduce the energy and water consumption of its head office by five percent.
It consumes roughly 34,909,398 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity and 766,987 cubic meters of water yearly. This translates to roughly 16,225 tons of carbon emissions.
BPI has outlined 16 indicators for sustainability guided by its four strategic themes: total customer experience, reduction of environmental footprints, market expansion and employee engagement.
The bank is also looking at the transformation of all its branches to minimize its carbon footprint, to forge more partnerships with energy and environment conservation advocates such as the WorldWildLife Fund (WWF) and the IFC, as well as increase its involvement in microlending.
The joint venture is called BPI Globe Bangko, a savings bank (Bangko), it will service microfinance institutions (MFIs) for wholesale lending. It will not open branches, often referred to as bricks-and-mortar, but instead rely on mobile banking and the existing infrastructure of Globe to issue loans and receive deposits.
“BPI chose to embark on sustainability reporting in order to show its various stakeholders the bank’s commitment towards sustainability and corporate responsibility,” Montinola said.
He added that BPI would issue annual sustainability reports other than its annual financial reports “adding new quantifiable metrics to be able to progress to a higher level of application.”