11 October 2017

ING Belgium one of the banks behind the very first sustainability loan in Belgium

bpost will enter 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 performance in terms of sustainability. It is the first loan agreement of this type to be concluded in Belgium.

Since a number of years, businesses can obtain an ESG ("Environmental, Social and Governance") rating based on their efforts for the environment and society.
ING Belgium and BNP Paribas Fortis, who drafted the credit terms for bpost's sustainability loan together, integrated this ESG rating in the pricing of the loan. This rating is determined by an external agency, in this case Sustainalytics.

The agreed terms stipulate that the credit margin can be lowered if bpost manages to improve its sustainability rating even further. However, if bpost is awarded a lower rating in the next corporate sustainability report, the loan will become more expensive.
bpost will use the loan of €300 million, a refinancing of a loan agreement from 2011, for general business purposes.

Erik Van Den Eynden, CEO at ING Belgium explains : "With this first Belgian sustainability loan we are at the start of a radical shift in mentality 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 businesses for which sustainability is of paramount importance 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."