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Hellenic Bank: sustainable development a major pillar of its strategic planning

Hellenic Bank: sustainable development a major pillar of its strategic planning

Emphasis on implementing sustainable practices and supporting ‘green’ initiatives and businesses

Extreme weather events are wreaking havoc on many parts of the planet, making the consequences of climate change visible to even the most incredulous, and forcing humankind to adapt to the new realities.
Faced with this new state of play, states as well as organisations can play an important part in limiting and reversing the destruction of the environment.

Gauging its own responsibility toward the environment and the community, Hellenic Bank has brought environmental protection to the forefront of its attention, by adopting sustainable practices, financing ‘green’ businesses, and taking part in a series of related initiatives.

Specifically, Hellenic Bank places emphasis on reducing its own environmental footprint, both in the design of its building facilities and by implementing systems which promote a reduction in the usage of paper, water and electricity, as well as reducing the generation of pollutants.

According to the Bank’s Sustainability Report for 2020, within the year the Bank managed to achieve a 16.1% reduction in the amount of energy it consumes on a yearly basis, and a 15.9% decline in carbon dioxide emissions.

For this, Hellenic Bank has received ΙSO 50001 certification, an acknowledgment bestowed on organisations that cut back on resource usage through the most efficient use of energy possible, thereby contributing to tackling climate change. Meanwhile, 27 of the Organisation’s buildings have been classified as ‘green’ as part of the ‘Green Offices’ programme, in which the Bank participates in association with the environmental organisation CYMEPA.

Participation in the Priceless Planet Coalition

In 2020 Hellenic Bank joined the Priceless Planet Coalition, an environmental initiative under the auspices of Mastercard. The initiative features leading banks from across the world.

It’s a network that coordinates the environmental actions of consumers, banks, merchants and cities – the goal being to enhance outcomes and the positive impact of their actions. As a first step, the initiative has committed to planting some 100 million trees over the next five years.

In the context of this collaboration, Hellenic Bank will be issuing environmentally-friendly cards, using materials listed in the Mastercard Sustainable Materials Directory. Manufacturing the Bank’s new cards will require 82% less PVC, in turn leading to using some 20km less plastic a year.

Supporting sustainable businesses

In financing, the Bank provided support through €101 million in lending, going to projects that generate renewable energy. The Bank also implemented criteria assessing social and environmental risks in the approval process for new loans.

In particular, one such notable project financed by the Bank is the Orites wind park in Kouklia, the first wind park in Cyprus. The wind park generates on average 113 GWh of power a year – enough energy to provide electricity to more than 15,000 households, and contributing almost 5% of the national electricity output.

Volunteer actions

At the same time, and recognising the importance of environmental training, the Bank is supporting the ‘Ecological Schools’ programme – a worldwide initiative promoting environmental education. In Cyprus, the programme comes under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.

Hellenic Bank’s volunteer actions – geared at protecting the environment – include support to the ‘Let’s Do It Cyprus’ campaign, where the Bank participates as a strategic affiliate.

One of the largest volunteer campaigns in Cyprus, ‘Let’s Do It Cyprus’ aims to raise public awareness on matters relating to the protection, preservation and sustainable management of the terrestrial and marine environment, as well as ridding the environment of waste.

George Sklavos, Hellenic Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications & Branding, stressed that environmental protection is what guides every aspect of the Bank’s actions:

“Guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but also by our own assessment of the socio-economic risks posed by climate change, the Bank has incorporated sustainability in its operations, as well as in each step of its decision-making process. Sustainability now guides the actions of any serious organisation.

This is not an option, but rather a prerequisite, if we are to safeguard the planet, amid a rapid increase in extreme weather events – but also to secure a safe future for ourselves and our children.”

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