Brussels, 12 October 2017
Yesterday, bpost has entered into the first Belgian sustainability loan agreement with a syndicate of four banks: ING Belgium, BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius and KBC. The terms of this loan are determined in part by the borrower's achievements with regard to sustainability. It is the first loan agreement of this type to be concluded in Belgium. bpost will use the loan of 300 million euros, a refinancing of a loan agreement entered into in 2011, for general business purposes.
For some years now, businesses have been able to get a rating based on their efforts to help the environment and society. Some organisations, including Sustainalytics, have already been working in this field for several years, assessing companies for an "Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating".
ING Belgium and BNP Paribas Fortis, who drafted the credit terms for bpost's sustainability loan together, integrated this ESG rating into the pricing of the loan. The ESG rating is determined by an external agency, in this case Sustainalytics. The agreed terms stipulate that the credit margin can be reduced if bpost manages to improve its sustainability score even further. However, if bpost is awarded a lower score in its next sustainability report, the loan will become more expensive.
In Sustainalytics' most recent report, bpost achieved a sustainability score of 79, a three-point increase compared to the previous year. As a result, bpost climbed from the fourth to the second place within its sector, demonstrating once again that it is a leading company in the area of sustainability.
Koen Van Gerven, CEO at bpost: “I am very proud that bpost is the first company in Belgium to integrate its sustainability goals into the loan pricing. As a socially responsible company we pay a lot of attention to our employees’ wellbeing, our role in the Belgian society and our ecological footprint. This new way of financing motivates bpost and all of its employees to raise the bar when it comes to fulfilling our mission.”
Erik Van Den Eynden, CEO at ING Belgium: "With this first Belgian sustainability loan we are at the start of a radical change of mindset in the field of corporate finance. The sustainability loan initiative enables ING to support customers who are making progress in sustainability and to encourage corporate sustainability performance further. At ING we believe that corporates for whom sustainability is a priority also perform better. This can therefore also be translated into the risk premiums that we may or may not ask for in exchange for credit."
Max Jadot, CEO at BNP Paribas Fortis: "This agreement with bpost is a nice illustration of the growing attention paid to corporate sustainability. With the incorporation of the “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating” into the loan pricing, Belgium's leading postal operator's efforts in the field of sustainability are being translated into a financial incentive. I am proud that BNP Paribas Fortis has played a role in this innovative financing solution with a sustainable dimension. This reflects our aspirations in a changing world."
bpost is a leading postal operator in Belgium, offering a wide range of products and services in the mail and parcel related businesses. bpost’s core business is the collection, sorting, transportation and delivery of letters and parcels. Every day bpost staff delivers 8.6 million letters and 175.000 parcels to 4.7 million households in Belgium. bpost and its subsidiaries also develop activities relating to the proximity & convenience business. We are “Always on the move” to bring our clients closer and to make their lives easier. bpost is listed on Euronext Brussels. In 2016 bpost generated revenues of over 2.4 billion euros.
ING Belgium is a universal bank that provides financial services for private individuals, businesses and institutional customers. ING Belgium S.A./N.V. is a subsidiary of ING Group N.V. via ING Bank N.V. (www.ing.com).
ING Group provides services and products in the field of banking, investment, life insurance and pensions to 36.5 million customers in over 40 countries in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Australia.
Around 51,000 ING employees make every effort to help their customers to manage their financial future. For this, ING uses its knowledge and experience and its global scope to fulfil the wishes of a broad customer base of private individuals, small and medium enterprises, large enterprises, institutions and governments.
Sustainability makes up an integral part of ING's strategy. For some years now, Sustainalytics has named ING the leader of the banking world in terms of sustainability. The ING Group's shares are listed in the FTSE4Good index and in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (the European and World indices), with ING holding a leading position in its sector.
BNP Paribas Fortis (www.bnpparibasfortis.com) offers the Belgian market a comprehensive package of financial services for private individuals, the self-employed, professionals, SMEs and public organisations. In the insurance sector, BNP Paribas Fortis works closely with Belgian market leader AG Insurance. The bank also provides wealthy individuals, corporations and public and financial institutions with custom solutions for which it can draw on BNP Paribas’ know-how and international network.
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