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On 12 April, “Bankwijzer/Scan des banques”, a coalition of NGOs that ranks international banks on their sustainability, shared the results of its annual Belgian research study .

On 12 April, “Bankwijzer/Scan des banques”, a coalition of NGOs that ranks international banks on their sustainability, shared the results of its annual Belgian research study. The research is focused on bank policies related to topics such as environmental footprint, human rights and transparency.

The “Bankwijzer/Scan des banques” compares and evaluates different banks based on policies that the coalition would like to see to be applied. While their assessment does not always take into account the complex context in which banking institutions operate, ING Belgium believes that this survey is a relevant tool for understanding the expectations of the NGOs that form the coalition and for gaining insights that will strengthen its efforts to become a key player in the transition towards a sustainable economy.

Since last year’s publication of the Bankwijzer ING has adopted a renewed coal policy and has added a new animal husbandry policy to its Environmental and Social Risk Framework. ING has also issued a separate climate statement.

ING Belgium has signed the Belgium Climate Change commitment letter of companies initiated by The Shift, and has demonstrated commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

These new measures and commitments reveal ING's will to contribute to a low carbon economy and latest insights. This will has been reflected in the Bankwijzer/Scan des banques survey results as ING Belgium has improved its score of  8%  since 2015.

“Double our impact, halve the footprint”

With close to 2.5 million customers in Belgium, we are aware of the influence our business has on both local communities and the environment. We go further than responsibilities alone, as we are  committed towards social, economic and environmental progress. We aim to promote positive change while reducing the negative consequences of our actions and business decisions. Our ambition can be summed up by  “Double our impact, halve the footprint”.

This ambition is implemented on different levels. In terms of business management, we promote and support responsible business and investment, through our main activities and expertise. We also make the right choice as to when, with whom and in what context we do business, and we are fully transparent about the underlying principles that guide our decisions. This is why ING enforces a strict social and environmental risk management policy on a daily basis. Finally, as a corporate citizen, ING Belgium intends to play its part alongside other societal groups such as NGOs, associations, companies and governments.

These different levels are translated as follows:

A strategic framework promoting responsible business management

In a world where the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly serious and where technology revolutionises our way of life and how we do business, ING Belgium is strongly committed to work alongside people and companies to move towards a more sustainable economy

As such, ING facilitates economic growth by actively looking to finance sustainable  projects and by working with companies that are active in the field of renewable energy, for example.

The bank also promotes and facilitates Corporate and Small & Medium Enterprises’ transition towards a more sustainable business model, through financing the transformation and sharing of knowledge. 

In terms of investments of our particulate clients, we apply more and more environmental and social criteria to our investment offer. ING Bank Belgium has a dedicated list of sustainable investments available for private clients which amounted over 350 million euro by end 2015.

Managing environmental and social risk every day

To limit the negative impact that our business and those of our suppliers and customers have on the environment and society, ING Belgium complies with relevant international standards and operates within the large strategic framework defined at the global level regarding environmental and social risk. This is known as the Environmental & Social Risk [ESR] Framework.

Our ESR policy and the way it is implemented in our business practices (notably in granting credit) are widely appreciated. Consequently, ING (Group) ranks in the top 10% of the most sustainable banks in the world based on both environmental and social parameters.

ING Belgium’s role in society 

ING Belgium believes it is essential to be engaged in society. We aim to make a difference by taking concrete initiatives that underline our societal commitment to society. Using our financial sector expertise, we participate in research and discussions about environmental and social challenges, together with other stakeholders. Moreover, ING Group is one of the initiators of the “Think Forward Initiative”, a movement started several years ago that brings together experts and researchers in an approach that aims to help consumers make sound financial decisions.

Beyond strictly banking and financial aspects, ING Belgium is committed to adopting a comprehensive sustainability approach by widening its perspective and societal engagement to all its business activities, for instance its infrastructure (e.g. waste management, water and energy consumption) and its employees (e.g. employee well-being, encouraging cultural diversity, “green” transportation options). This approach also includes the support brought for several years to its partner UNICEF and to other associations through the ING Solidarity Award.

To end up with a broader view, the transition to a more sustainable economy is part of our continuous conversations with our stakeholders, including clients. Putting our capacities and capabilities to accelerate this transition is aligned with ING’s purpose to empower people to stay a step ahead  in life and in business, which encompasses both financial and non-financial components.

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Vanessa Zwaelens Head of External Communication

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