Banks are well aware of their pivotal role in mitigating the impact of climate change and global warming to the environment and the economy.
Bank of the Philippine Islands set a milestone in the country’s sustainable banking operations as its branches in Iloilo Solis and Loyola Katipunan earned Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies certification from International Finance Corp.
EDGE is a green building certification with quantitative metrics, providing cost-effective strategies to reduce energy use, water use, and embodied energy in materials. BPI has three more branches in the pipeline for EDGE certification.
“[In 2023], we have 25 branches planned for re-construction to also achieve EDGE certification. This forms part of our vision to lead in sustainable business practices in the Philippine banking industry and build a better Philippines—one family, one community at a time,” said BPI head of consumer banking Maria Cristina Go.
The certification of BPI Iloilo Solis and BPI Loyola Katipunan branches was issued by Philippine Green Building Initiative Inc., an IFC-accredited certification body.
PGBI president and chairman Leandro Conti and PGBI EDGE program director Ramon Aguilos lauded BPI for the achievement. “Our assessment confirms the auditor’s report that BPI Iloilo Solis resource-efficient design will result in reductions of 22 percent in energy, 23 percent in water and 76 percent in materials’ embodied energy compared to a local base case,” PGBI said.
As for BPI Loyola Katipunan, PGBI’s assessment confirmed the auditor’s report that its “resource-efficient design will result in reductions of 25 percent in energy, 31 percent in water and 84 percent in materials’ embodied energy compared to a local base case.”
Since 2017, BPI has been guiding real estate project owners on complying with IFC EDGE’s resource efficiency standards. This forms part of BPI’s long-standing commitment of embedding sustainability in the conduct of business to generate positive value for the society and environment.
BPI also continues to harness the power of technology by adopting a phygital approach—a combination of physical and digital channels—to provide banking clients with a wider variety of services and experiences. With advanced digital capabilities in place, the bank enables clients to consciously support sustainability through paperless banking, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.
BDO Unibank Inc., the Philippines’ largest lender led by the Sy Group, is a pioneer in promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency project financing, having instituted the Sustainable Energy Finance program as early as 2010 in partnership with the IFC., the private banking arm of the World Bank Group.
BDO’s SEF Program has funded projects that advance energy efficiency and harness renewable energy including solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
In December 2017, BDO launched a $150-million green bond—the first such transaction by a commercial bank in the Philippines. The BDO green bond exclusively financed climate-smart projects, helping contribute to the development of the climate finance market.
BDO’s Sustainable Finance Framework aims to achieve strategic resilience by incorporating sustainability in the way BDO conducts business; integrate environmental, social and governance and sustainability principles in financial products and services; embed sustainability principles when making decisions, assessing relationships and creating products; align business operations with the SDGs; support the principles of the United Nations Global Compact; and strengthen leadership in responsible finance locally, regionally, and globally.
Sustainable finance instruments may include green, blue, social and sustainability bonds, loans and any other debt financing instruments that fund or will fund the sustainable finance portfolio that conform to the sustainable finance framework.
The environmental contributions of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-largest lender in terms of assets, range from active promotion and participation in conservation initiatives within its organization, its supply chain and in local communities where it operates, to commitments to well-recognized domestic and international standards and reporting agreements.
Metrobank is fully supportive of the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep the rise in global average temperature this century to well below two degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.
It is working to reduce its operational footprint on the environment through energy conservation in its offices and branches and taking environmental protection into account when making lending decisions.
The bank consistently strives to improve its operations through the conservation of energy, water and resources. In 2021, the bank expanded the scope of its environmental performance data to include corporate centers and domestic branches.
Metrobank’s environmental performance changed due to the work-from-home arrangement and the utilization of online platforms during lockdown. In addition, Metrobank embarked on a number of initiatives, including assessing its performance on the following areas in its operations such as energy billing, operation of equipment, preventive maintenance plans and energy audits.
It implemented more energy conservation measures to further reduce power consumption, which included the rewiring of lights, reduction of motor frequency, optimization of air conditioning units operation, installation of motion sensors, scheduled light switch on/off on unused areas, continuous replacement of conventional fluorescent bulbs to LED (in 25 percent of all its major centers), use of inverter A/C units for renovated branches, installation of metering devices to monitor the improvements in its utility consumption with the implementation of energy conservation projects.
It also encouraged the use of paperless processes across its client base and within its organization. The bank also tracks its water consumption across its corporate centers and domestic branches to measure its impact on water scarcity.
Metrobank also uses printer toners and uninterruptible power supply batteries in the workplace. Overall, its consumption of these two key supplies in 2021 was at par with 2020 levels.
On fuel use, Metrobank monitors the diesel and gasoline consumption of its service vehicles and stand-by power generation sets from its corporate centers. The bank provided free shuttle services to its employees who were affected by the pandemic, particularly during the enhanced community quarantine period.
Overall, the bank aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It makes sure bank vehicles and generator sets undergo regular maintenance so they remain in good condition and minimize carbon emission.
The bank adopted the framework and recommendations of the GHG Protocol to measure its carbon footprint. It accounted for its GHG emissions using the financial control approach and considered 100 percent of the total emissions from the bank’s operations.
In 2021, the bank emitted 28,734 tons of carbon dioxide, up 5 percent from 2020 but down 8 percent from 2019. Its Scope 2 emissions which arose from its power consumption, accounted for 99 percent of its total emissions.
Proper management of waste is a vital part of Metrobank’s operations and environmental performance. Due to the work-from-home setup, its performance in this area represented a significant improvement from the previous year, which can be also attributed to the following initiatives: strict implementation of solid waste management program; shift to paperless transactions and reuse of paper for printing; implementation of a “Boxing Day” program to promote recycling and proper waste disposal; and existing policy on recycling and waste reduction management in the workplace.
“We monitor the volume of waste that we generate across our corporate centers. The volume of waste recorded in 2021 was smaller than the previous year,” it said.