Sustainable business is better business. That is why our responsibility is to use our financing, advisory products and services to actively support clients transition to new sustainable business models that will ensure their success in the future. As a financial institution, we can play a role by financing change, sharing knowledge and using our influence.
Making money matter
- We finance change, because being sustainable is not just about reducing our own footprint, it is in all the choices we make—as a lender, as an investor and through the services we offer our customers. As a financial institution we can have more impact by helping our clients to become more sustainable through sustainable financing.
- We share knowledge in our role as a conduit between clients who have capital and clients who need it. We take this opportunity and responsibility to direct funds towards sustainable projects. Our global expertise in various sectors allows us to guide clients towards embedding sustainability in their business models.
- Finally, we use our influence and get involved in policymaking to make a difference on a large scale. We call upon governments to create incentives for long-term investments by setting science-based targets to mitigate climate change and to develop alternative energy sources. We also urge governments to work towards an effective price on carbon emissions and to stimulate enterprises and institutions to publicly disclose their carbon emissions and forward-looking transition strategy. This will enable banks to take climate impact into account in financing and investment decisions.
Discover the ING climate action
Pioneers in sustainable finance
We have financed billions of euros of renewable energy projects while saying ‘no’ to certain companies and sectors, and ‘yes, but’ to others, outlining sustainability improvements they have to make based on our ESR framework. We finance sustainable projects through green loans, green bonds, and other innovative products and financing structures such as our Sustainability Improvement Loan, which we pioneered back in 2017. We link the loan’s interest rate to a company’s environmental, social and governance performance (ESG). The better their ESG performance, the more attractive the terms of the loan will be to them.
Our Sustainable Structured Finance team acts as a laboratory for new sustainable business models that need financing in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We help originate, structure and execute projects which support sustainable development in areas such as the circular economy, renewable energy, waste, and water.
We continue to launch products aimed at encouraging companies to get measured on ESG goals, such as the world’s first sustainability improvement derivative and the world’s first sustainability improvement capital call facility. This way, we encourage and reward clients who are already sustainable as well as clients working to become more sustainable.
To support the strong growth of our Sustainable Finance portfolio and to meet the green funding needs, we designed a Green Bond Framework in line with the ICMA Green Bond Principles, which meets the highest standards on transparency and disclosure.
Sustainble finance snapshot
In 2022 we set the ambition to mobilise an annual amount, by 2025, of €125 billion in financing that contributes to our corporate clients' transitions to more sustainable business models. In 2022 we mobilised €101 billion of financing, supported by a broad range of financial products linked to sustainability criteria. This is up from €88 billion in 2021.
In the first half of 2023 we mobilised another €47 billion and with volumes usually higher in the second half of the year, we estimate that we're on track to achieve our target by 2025.
The total number of sustainability deals we supported in 2022 was 491, up nearly 20% from 411 in 2021.
These deals included sustainability-linked loans and bonds, green loans and bonds, sustainable structured finance, social loans and bonds, and sustainable investments. And in the first half of 2023 we supported a further 232 sustainability deals.
The volume of financing we mobilise for corporate clients and the number of sustainability deals we
support advances our aim to contribute to the transformation of our clients and society to a low-carbon
economy. At the same time, we acknowledge that while we finance a lot of sustainable activities, we still
finance more that’s not. For more information on how we're progressing, please visit ing.com/climate.
Steering financing towards net-zero goals
Our Terra approach aims to steer the most carbon-intensive parts of our portfolio towards net zero. We focus on parts of the sectors in our loan book that are responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s about steering towards the new low-carbon technology needed to reach net-zero goals – like green hydrogen, carbon capture and energy storage – and away from high-carbon technology. Terra is based on data and climate science and uses what we consider to be the best-fit methodology per sector.
We continue to broaden Terra to have more impact, working to include additional carbon-intensive sectors and more parts of existing sectors.
No one can do it alone
We work with peers, clients, other companies and experts to contribute to standardised frameworks. Then ING, other banks and clients use these to measure and disclose progress towards net-zero targets.
This is important because it means companies in the same industry, and in the same sectors of banks’ portfolios, can be compared in the same way. Banks get a shared understanding of how they can support the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors.
We specifically call on governments and regulators to guide the low-carbon transition more firmly. They must help answer the question "what does 'good' look like?". Ultimately, change will only come if everyone – companies, governments, consumers – works together.