German award body cites LANDBANK for financial services innovations

Philippine Deputy Consul General Emil Fernandez (2nd from left) receives the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Award conferred to Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) for “Sustainable Finance” from (left to right) Mr. Jochen Ehlgoetz, CEO of Technology Region of Karlsruhe, Mr. Tom Hoyem, Member of the City Council of Karlsruhe, and Mr. Arshad Rab, CEO of the European Organization for Sustainable Development.

State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) was presented with a Certificate of Merit for “Best Innovation in Financial Services” in this year’s Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards held in Karlsruhe, Germany last September 30, 2020.  This is the 8th consecutive year that LANDBANK has received the honor since 2013.

LANDBANK was cited for its successful implementation of the “Enhanced Environmental and Social Safeguards Relative to Credit Delivery,” an innovative initiative for conducting environmental and social due diligence (ESDD) for all Bank-financed projects and accounts. This is to ensure compliance to applicable environmental and social laws and regulations, which in turn minimizes credit risks.

The policy enhancement covers identification, assessment, mitigation, monitoring of environmental, climate change, and social risks, aspects, impacts, as well as economic, environmental and social benefits of projects financed by LANDBANK.

“LANDBANK continues to make strides in embedding environmental and social sustainability into our policies and organizational culture. By promoting sustainable financing, we encourage our clients to adopt similar approaches in their own business strategies and operations, while ensuring that they comply with local and international environmental regulations,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.

Deputy Consul General Emil Fernandez of the Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt received the award on behalf of LANDBANK.

LANDBANK’s award-winning Administrative Order No. 26 (Enhanced Environmental and Social Safeguards Relative to Credit Delivery) expands the Bank’s Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) system, which previously only conducted environmental impact assessments for every project that the Bank finances—from loan packaging up until the loan is fully paid—coupled with an environmental risk rating.

All Bank-financed projects are vetted as to its potential environmental impacts, provided recommendations for possible environmental management, and measured and monitored for compliance. The Bank’s comprehensive compliance management system ensures that risks associated with penalties and legal issues due to environmental violations are minimized.

The resulting environmental compliance report on the environmental performance of its clients keep the Bank informed of potential risks, while providing opportunities for clients to put in place mitigation mechanisms that reduce adverse impacts on their project operations.

Since the EDD was implemented, environmental and social risks are mitigated, as it brought awareness on the importance of compliance to environmental and social laws/regulations which benefitted both stakeholders and the host community. As a result, natural habitats, physical cultural property or heritage sites, and protected areas are preserved.

A total of 4,728 project and account assessments have been conducted since the EDD system was first implemented in 2004 up to December 2019. Of this number, 461 were accomplished using the enhanced ESDD tool under LANDBANK Administrative Order No. 26.

The Global Sustainable Finance Awards in Karlsruhe honors financial institutions and related organizations with significant contributions to the field of sustainable banking and finance. It is organized by the European Organisation for Sustainable Development (EOSD), tasked to develop strategies, programs and initiatives, and undertake projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU Strategy for Sustainable Development, aimed at promoting sustainable economic development and environmental protection.

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