BDO UNIBANK, Inc.’s sustainable finance framework has been endorsed by environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) rating watcher Sustainalytics, the bank said on Monday.

“This strengthens the bank’s support for targeted and responsible projects that facilitate climate resilience and promote inclusive economic growth,” BDO said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

The Sy-led lender quoted a Sustainalytics opinion that said the bank’s framework is “credible and impactful” and is in line with global standards on sustainability such as the Sustainability Bonds Guidelines, green loan principles, and the ASEAN Sustainability Standards.

BDO said its framework incorporates the United Nations’ social development goals, with focus on five key strategies: product sustainability, sustainability contribution, human capital sustainability, disaster response sustainability and governance-based sustainability.

“This strengthens the bank’s support for targeted and responsible projects that facilitate climate resilience and promote inclusive economic growth,” the bank said.

The lender in 2012 began working towards sustainable financing through building its social and environmental management systems policy with the help of the International Finance Corp. This includes a joint loan program specifically for firms that need financing for energy efficiency projects.

The bank also started a sustainable finance desk initially focused on providing credit for renewable energy projects, but was later expanded to include financing for other forms of sustainable practices like energy efficiency, climate-smart agriculture, green infrastructure, and clean transportation.  

As of December, BDO had a 28.1 risk rating with Sustainalytics, which is considered as medium risk by the firm. It ranked 332 out of 977 rated lenders globally.

BDO’s net profit in the third quarter rose 3% to P12.3 billion from P11.967 billion a year earlier. However, its net income for the first nine months slid 48% to P16.6 billion from P32.1 billion as the bank hiked its loan loss provisions amid the pandemic.

The lender’s shares closed at P110.90 apiece on Monday, up by 1.90 centavos or 1.74% from its previous finish. — L.W.T. Noble

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