"A bank friendly to people and the environment" - commentary of the CEO of Bank Millennium in the report "Green Finance in Poland 2022"

14.06.2022

UN Global Compact Network Poland and the Institute of Responsible Finance in cooperation with the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and the Ministry of Finance published in June this year the report "Green Finance in Poland 2022". It had its premiere at the European Financial Congress in Sopot. In the publication, next to expert and scientific texts on ESG and sustainable finance issues, there is a commentary by Joao Bras Jorge, Chairman of the Management Board of Bank Millennium, on selected aspects of the Group's environmental policy.

Joao Bras Jorge
Chairman of the Management Board of Bank Millennium

A bank friendly to people and the environment

For years, Bank Millennium has attached great importance to environmental and climate protection issues and carried out its activities in the spirit of the strategy formulated by the European Union and its member states. We act in accordance with the Environmental Policy of the Bank Millennium Group. The document defines three main areas of the Bank’s environmental activities: its own environmental activities aimed at reducing its consumption of materials, energy, water and fuel, environmental education among clients, contractors and employees, as well as the financing of investment projects. We do not finance new coal mines and coal-fired power generation projects, except for new projects related to reduction of pollution. Financing in the energy sector is only possible if it serves the commitment to carbon-free energy sources or to energy transition to carbon-free energy sources. A few years ago, the Bank decided to significantly reduce its exposures to the coal industry. As a result, today its portfolio exposures to coal mining projects or industries directly related to mining are negligible.

The ESG are has been included in the strategy of the Bank Millennium Group for 2022-2024, which was announced in December 2021. The new strategy entitled “People Inspire Us” highlights the importance attached to the inspirations provided by employees, clients and the community in which the Bank operates. In the new strategy, the Bank has defined its goals pertaining to climate protection. For more than a decade, we have been monitoring, reducing and reporting our own Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions. In the newest strategy, we pledged to reduce these emissions by 50% in 2022 relative to 2020 and strive for climate neutrality by 2027 in Scope 1 and 2 and by 2050 in Scope 3. The pledge means the continuation of the efforts limiting own emissions and responsible development of a long-term credit policy taking into account the energy transformation processes. We will actively support our corporate clients in their decarbonization efforts and in developing their investment plans to pursue changes that are favorable for the environment. Our goal is to increase financing for projects related to sustainable development and transition of the Bank’s clients, including through active participation in government and European climate transition programs. We plan to implement products that support sustainable development of enterprises (energy efficiency and circular economy projects) and to provide PLN 2 billion of financing for sustainable and transformational projects for the clients of the Bank and of the Bank’s Group over the next 3 years.

The Bank Millennium Group continues its involvement in the financing of energy-efficient investment projects. In recent years, we have been actively developing lease financing of photovoltaics projects. Leasing panels is a solution targeting commercial undertakings poised to reduce the costs of energy consumption and to modify social awareness when it comes to environmental protection and keen on building their environmentally-friendly image and ensuring economic efficiency of their investments. In relation to other investments financed by leasing, customers may in this case take advantage of the extended financing period, adjusted to the period of economic depreciation of the investment.

In 2022 we are planning to participate in the “Mój Elektryk” Priority Program guaranteeing co-payments from the National Environmental Protection and Water Management Fund towards the down-payment in agreements to lease electrical vehicles. The purpose of the program is to reduce air pollution emissions by co-funding undertakings to reduce the consumption of fuel generating emissions in transport.

We believe that transition of the economy and implementation of sustainable development policies by our clients will in the future be a growing source of demand for green financing, mainly in terms of investments in energy-efficient machinery and equipment, low-emission vehicles, as well as technologies to generate and store renewable energy.

Knowing that pro-environmental behavior and everyday choices are important, we run environmental education campaigns and continue to build environmental awareness among our employees, clients and business partners.

We are developing long-term cooperation with the WWF Polska Foundation, under which we are offering a partnership credit card and support WWF activities for environmental and climate protection. We have been a long-term patron of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, the largest film festival in Poland, which – for many years - informs viewers of many phenomena transpiring in the contemporary world – including climate change. The festival educates through the films shown and the accompanying events, with the participation of recognized experts from universities, business, public administration and non-governmental organizations. The leading motto of the 18th edition of the festival - “The World Awakens” - was taken from Greta Thunberg’s speech, a well-known environmental activists and the protagonist in the festival’s opening film entitled “I am Greta”. We believe that the common effort of many individuals and institutions will help “awaken the world” and act together for real sustainability.

Link to the report "Green Finance in Poland 2022": https://ungc.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Raport_Zielone_Finanse_2022.pdflink otwiera się w nowym oknie