Bank of Ireland launches its Sustainability Report for 2022, revealing improved ESG scores.
Bank of Ireland ended last year with €8bn in sustainability-related finance on its balance sheet and aims to double this to €15bn by 2025.
In its Sustainability Report for 2022, the bank also revealed that green mortgages now account for around half of its total mortgage lending in the Republic of Ireland.
“Our aim is to help accelerate the shift to a low carbon economy and scale action by providing the right finance where incremental investment is needed across key sectors of the economy”
Bank of Ireland is the first Irish bank to set scientifically-validated targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, covering 76% of the loan book and all of the Group’s own operations.
In this context, it has also published a target to grow sustainability-related lending on its balance sheet from €8 billion in 2022 to €15bn in 2025 and €30bn by 2030.
New green partnership model
As part of its green transition the bank is driving a new partnership model with customers. For example, a new Bank of Ireland partnership with Musgrave Group is helping its Supervalu and Centra retail partners fund sustainability initiatives.
During 2022, Bank of Ireland financed the upgrade of the refrigeration system at Quish Group’s SuperValu store in Ballincollig, Co. Cork. Following the upgrade, the store’s energy consumption reduced by 27%, cutting costs and reducing its carbon footprint. Bank of Ireland is now financing a full revamp of Quish Group’s Supervalu outlet in Tramore which includes an upgrade of the refrigeration system as well as roof insulation and the installation of solar panels.
The bank issued €1.3bn in green bonds during 2022 with a further €750m of issuance in the first quarter of 2023, bringing green bonds issued so far to €3.25bn.
Bank of Ireland is currently funding around 740MW of renewable wind generating capacity across the Ireland.
It revealed that it has €1.9bn of lending commitments with corporate customers with sustainability-linked pricing.
Around €16.4m worth of green home improvement loans were drawn down in 2022, accounting for 12% of home improvement loans.
The bank has also emerged as the largest provider of wholesale finance for electric vehicles in the Republic of Ireland, providing finance to 13 of the 15 car manufacturer franchises.
In terms of decarbonising its own operations the bank has committed to reducing absolute emissions by 41% vs 2020 (89% vs 2011), supported by key initiatives including switching remaining sites to renewable energy contracts and further LED lighting upgrades. An €11.5m investment in branch network this year will include installation of LED lighting.
In 2022, Bank of Ireland took a number of actions to look at its impacts on nature, including being the first Irish Bank to join the UNPRB Biodiversity Target Setting working group and the Taskforce for Nature Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Forum.
Other initiatives include a commitment to improving people’s financial literacy through the bank’s Financial Wellbeing Programme, which includes bringing customers 2 points above the national average in Financial Wellbeing Index scores as well as delivering financial literacy programmes to 418,000 primary and secondary school students.
Eamonn Hughes, chief Sustainability & Investor Relations officer at Bank of Ireland, said the report underlines the bank’s progress in terms of meeting its environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.
“ESG is firmly embedded in Bank of Ireland’s refreshed strategy for the next three years. Through this strategy, our focus will be on offering customer-focused solutions and supports for some of the most critical challenges facing society today providing innovative new products to help finance the transition.
“Our aim is to help accelerate the shift to a low carbon economy and scale action by providing the right finance where incremental investment is needed across key sectors of the economy. This includes setting sustainability-related finance targets of €15 billion in 2025 from c.€8 billion in 2022. We’re also adding to our successful partnerships in the dairy farming and forestry sectors through a new partnership with one of Ireland’s leading retailers, Musgraves. This aims to meaningfully reduce carbon across Ireland’s retail footprint.
He said the progress goes beyond the ‘E’, ‘S’ and ‘G’ formula.
“We continue to drive forward our financial wellbeing agenda, and foster a collaborative and inclusive environment for colleagues. This is because our core sustainability pillars – supporting the green transition, enhancing financial wellbeing, and enabling colleagues to thrive – are all intrinsically linked.”
“As the demands for greater transparency and accountability for achieving sustainability targets continues to grow, we have stepped up to meet these requirements. We have grown our in-house sustainability team and expertise across the Group. 2022 also saw the creation of a Group Sustainability Committee at board level. W
“We have also extensively expanded our sustainability-related disclosures following the publication of our inaugural report last year which has contributed to improved ESG rating agency scores from Sustainalytics, S&P Global and MSCI. Publication of our 2022 Sustainability report escalates our disclosures for all stakeholders even further.”
Main image at top: Eamonn Hughes, chief Sustainability & Investor Relations officer at Bank of Ireland
To view Bank of Ireland’s Sustainability Report for 2022 visit here