• Publication of the Impact Report Package for the 2021 financial year
• CO₂ emissions reduced by 56% since 2018
• Portfolio share of green loans to clients at 19%, saving 324.5 kilotonnes of CO₂
• Development impact highlighted by low default rates of SME clients and high loan portfolio quality throughout the pandemic
• Further expansion and group-wide promotion of e-mobility
• Stricter exclusion criteria in lending
• EU Taxonomy provides tailwind for the financing of sustainable investments
• Ukraine: Support for employees and continued operations
The ProCredit group, which is mainly active in South Eastern (SEE) and Eastern Europe (EE), evaluates the success of its activities not only in terms of client needs and profitability, but also in terms of the impact these activities could have on society and the environment. The group is committed to continuously reporting on key ESG achievements and initiatives in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. In addition to observing these standards and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), other voluntary initiatives such as the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) and the Principles for Responsible Banking (UNEP-FI) have been taken into account when producing the Impact Report package for 2021. In its report package, the ProCredit group draws a positive balance of the measures taken in this regard.
In 2021, the ProCredit group again made significant achievements in the implementation of its responsible banking activities. As a result, the company’s own CO₂ emissions have been significantly reduced – by a total of 56% since 2018. The portfolio share of green loans accounted for 19%, bringing us close to the target of 20% set for 2023. Management continues to see good potential to grow the share of green loans in the group’s loan portfolio. When translated into environmental impact, the green loan portfolio reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by 324.5 kilotonnes of greenhouse gas equivalents (GHG emissions), which is equal to eliminating the annual emissions of 70,572 automobiles. Compared to its competitors, the ProCredit group sets high standards. Following a comprehensive approach to sustainability, strict environmental and ethical requirements are also applied to the selection of service providers, suppliers and other business partners, as well as in the evaluation of the environmental and social risk of lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Thanks to the group’s prudent credit risk approach, which involves an ESG assessment as part of all credit related decisions, the group further improved its already strong loan portfolio quality indicators, even at the peak of the pandemic. The share of defaulted loans stood only at 2.3% as of end-2021, 0.3 percentage points below the previous year. This is testament to the quality of the support we provide to the SME sector, which is the backbone of the economies in which we operate.
In the previous financial year, the ProCredit group had already ceased providing financing for producers of single-use plastic. In 2021, further exclusion criteria were implemented to ensure that the business activities of clients do not negatively impact nature conservation areas. In addition, respect for human rights plays a significant role: In view of the People’s Republic of China’s internationally criticised treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority, the ProCredit group suspended the financing of photovoltaic projects using solar panels produced in the Xingjiang region in 2021.
The development, training and health of our own employees is also an important aspect of our sustainability strategy. In 2021, 425,010 hours of training were undertaken among all staff – this is equivalent to approximately 16 days per employee. Through further measures, such as the implementation of an e-learning campus and the organisation of a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the ProCredit group supports the well-being of its employees in a comprehensive manner. In terms of its own energy footprint, the group has reduced the number of business air travel by 27% compared to 2020. Furthermore, the energy and building efficiency of the banks’ own buildings is being further optimised, among other measures, with the aim of achieving EDGE certification (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies).
Additional steps towards strengthening the sustainability balance were also taken through a number of initiatives in 2021. These include, for example, promoting the expansion of e-mobility within the group, both within its own fleet – currently 59% of its vehicles are electric – and through the installation of publicly accessible e-charging stations, which can be easily located using an app developed by ProCredit and which is available from every app store. Additionally, marketing campaigns offering special financing for the purchase of e-cars are in place in most countries in which the group operates.
“Sustainability considerations have been a fundamental part of our bank’s business model since its inception,” says Dr Gian Marco Felice, member of the Management Board of ProCredit General Partner AG responsible for Environmental Management and Impact Reporting, among other functions. “This is the fifth time we have issued an Impact Report. This shows that we place a great deal of importance on the responsibility associated with our actions. The recent developments in Ukraine only emphasise the need for sustainable economic development and integration across South Eastern and Eastern Europe and underline the important role a banking group such as ProCredit plays in fostering the development of SMEs and contributing to geopolitical stability.”
Against the background of these activities, the ProCredit group also welcomes the introduction of the EU Taxonomy and the associated establishment of standards for green business. In particular, the expansion and thereby the financing of investments in renewable energies has gained tailwind through the EU Taxonomy. In this area of financing, extensive expertise has been acquired within the ProCredit group over the past years. Furthermore, the implementation of the comprehensive sustainability strategy in all business units and markets remains one of our central tasks.
Given the ProCredit group’s geographical focus on the South Eastern and Eastern European markets, the Management Board has also commented on the current situation in Ukraine: “It is with great concern and perplexity that we follow the developments unfolding in the country. We are providing support to our staff as best we can – not only to those who have remained in Ukraine, but also to those who have fled the country. We are maintaining operations to the extent possible. It is our hope that we will be able to continue doing business in Ukraine in the long term. We have never been active in Russia or Belarus in the past, nor are we active at the present time.”
For the first time, the Impact Report Package 2021 consists of three parts that provide an in-depth overview: the Impact Report itself, the Impact Report Appendix, which presents the reporting process, and the Impact Report Datasheet, which provides a transparent breakdown of all facts and figures, in order to continuously improve reporting accuracy, clarity and comparability. The Impact Report Package 2021 of the group, as well as the Annual Report 2021, is available as of today on the ProCredit Holding website in the Investor Relations section at https://www.procredit-holding.com/investor-relations/reports-and-publications/. As of the date of these publications, the company has replaced the discriminatory generic masculine in all German texts with other inclusive and gender-sensitive forms of language where legally permitted.
Andrea Kaufmann, Group Communications, ProCredit Holding, Tel.: +49 69 951 437 138,
About ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA
ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA, based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is the parent company of the development-oriented ProCredit group, which consists of commercial banks for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In addition to its operational focus on South Eastern and Eastern Europe, the ProCredit group is also active in South America and Germany. The company’s shares are traded on the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The anchor shareholders of ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA include the strategic investors Zeitinger Invest and ProCredit Staff Invest (the investment vehicle for ProCredit staff), the Dutch DOEN Participaties BV, KfW Development Bank and IFC (part of the World Bank Group). As the group’s superordinated company according to the German Banking Act, ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA is supervised on a consolidated level by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) and the German Bundesbank. For additional information, visit: www.procredit-holding.com.