Supporting green growth
Respecting the environment, the key to new growth
GROUPE BPCE, A BENCHMARK BANKING INSTITUTION FOR GREEN GROWTH
Becoming a benchmark for green growth in the banking industry is the clearly stated ambition of Groupe BPCE. Indeed, the Group shares the conviction that only sustainable economic performance – i.e. the pursuit of activities that take full account of risks and social and environmental opportunities – can guarantee the long-term development of our regional economies. To achieve this sustainable growth, the role played by a banking institution close to its customers, enjoying a deep understanding of the local economy, is of primordial importance.
Groupe BPCE pioneered the financing of eco-friendly projects throughout the different French regions and continues to play a leading role in many renewable energy initiatives. At December 31, 2014, it had granted a total of 57,000 loans to holders of sustainable development passbook savings accounts (with total loan outstandings in excess of €550 million) and 60,000 interest-free eco-loans (€675 million in outstanding EcoPTZ+ loans).
Supporting individual customers in the realization of their eco-friendly projects
For several years, the Banque Populaire network has been offering individual customers a range of eco-loans – PREVair, PREVair+ and AUTOVair – to finance their eco-friendly projects related to housing and car purchases and the CODEVair savings account to build up a nest egg without compromising the principles of social and environmental responsibility. The Caisses d’Epargne have been doing the same with the sustainable development loan known as the Ecureuil Crédit Développement durable. The Crédit Foncier offers a new housing loan (Prêt Habitat Neuf), which includes a subsidy tied to the building’s energy performance and a bonus for buildings using solar energy or awarded the BBC (low consumption building) label.
Financing companies and infrastructures
Groupe BPCE works alongside companies to finance their projects in the area of environmental protection. For example, Natixis Lease, via its subsidiary Natixis Energeco, provides leasing solutions to finance renewable energy projects of between 5 and 50 million euros. Total installed renewable energy capacity of 2,713 Megawatts was financed in 2014 with the help of the Banque Populaire banks and the Caisses d’Epargne. Banque Populaire also offers its PROVair loans to help companies and self-employed professionals to develop eco-responsible activities or purchase eco-friendly equipment.
Installed capacity of renewable sources of energy (wind, solar, biomass, hydro) equal to 1,600 Megawatts was also financed by Natixis in 2014. Natixis Environnement & Infrastructures manages six dedicated investment funds with total assets of more than €1.5 billion.
Groupe BPCE has also created Valoénergie, the first banking entity of this type in France specialized in attributing value to energy savings through the attribution of Energy Saving Certificates.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONSUME to enhance energy efficiency
Closely managing energy consumption is vital to the success of the energy transition process and represents an area of major concern of the French.
The best way to cut energy bills is not to go without lights and heating! Neither is it a matter of simply consuming less but rather a question of consuming better, which necessarily implies improving energy efficiency. The first sector where we need to focus our efforts in this respect is clearly the construction industry. Improved insulation, the installation of more efficient boilers... there is no shortage of ways to make buildings less energy-intensive. Expanding the market for energy efficiency, however, requires substantial investment, which explains the need to develop banking instruments capable of underpinning this development. The local cooperative banks comprising Groupe BPCE are particularly well-placed in this respect; they have the ability both to capture the local savings flows required to provide financing, the experience of subsidized eco-loans since 1990, and a close presence among the local actors who are the real drivers of energy transition.
ANOTHER WAY TO FINANCE to support green, solidarity-based growth
Groupe BPCE was selected in 2012 by KfW and the European Commission to be the first partner bank from France to participate in the ELENA program in support of energy efficiency in the wider construction industry.
This program is based on an innovative structure for the distribution of funding at a local and regional level, and on partnerships set up between a Banque Populaire bank or Caisse d'Epargne and a local authority. To help establish this local authority/bank pairing on the dynamic generated by green loans at a local level, each new partnership allows the local authority to receive EU subsidies that enable it, in turn, to stimulate the market for energy efficiency. The bank, for its part, receives a funding facility from the German government-owned bank KfW to facilitate the wider distribution of these loans aimed at private homes (single-family houses and condominiums) and SMEs.