Environmental responsibility is a key priority for Center-invest Bank, on a par with traditional banking products and services. Bank became an official signatory to the UNEP FI's Principles for Responsible Banking on 1 November 2019. The Principles establish the role and responsibility of the banking industry in shaping a sustainable future and bringing the sector into alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
The bank has had an energy efficiency finance programme since 2005, providing businesses and retail customers with loans for the introduction of modern energy saving technologies and measures. To date, we have financed 22,000 projects, lending in excess of RUB18.7bn. Our loan programme has resulted in an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 224,700 tonnes (equivalent to planting 8.3m trees a year).
Center-invest Bank makes considerable efforts to protect the environment. These include a focus on natural resource efficiency (electricity, paper, fuel, etc), the development of electronic and remote services, and participation in environmental activities. Despite its steady business growth, the bank is continually reducing its energy consumption.
Center-invest Bank became the first financial institution in Russia to issue exchange-traded green bonds in November 2019. In December 2020, the placement of a new RUB300m issue of Center-invest Bank green bonds began on the Moscow Exchange in its Sustainable Development Sector. The issues are listed by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA).
On 10 March 2020 Center-invest Bank introduced a new 'Green' deposit account, the only one of its kind in Russia. The main difference between the Green deposit account and other deposit accounts is the purpose for which the funds are invested. All of the funds deposited in Green deposit accounts are to be used for projects that contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Russia's National Projects. The product is a ruble deposit account with a term of 17 months, just as there are 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Center-invest Bank will report annually on how the funds have been used to help achieve the SDGs.
The bank has published an Environmental Report every year since 2008. The 2019 Environmental Report discloses information about the environmental and social criteria applied by the bank when assessing loan applications, its methods to monitor borrowers environmental activities, the bank's own energy consumption, the purposes for which it has used the funds raised from Russia's first issue of green bank bonds, and also the overall impact of these investments on sustainability indicators