The Year of Sustainable Business – A Look Back

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Spurred on by the Paris climate agreement of 2016, there is an ever growing shift towards sustainability by financial institutions, corporates and investors. As the demand for future-proof solutions increases, businesses are finding more sustainable ways of working. In November 2018, ABN AMRO announced its refreshed strategy and new purpose: Banking for better, for generations to come. The bank’s goal is to increase sustainable financing for Commercial Banking clients by EUR 3 billion by 2020. But what has this meant for the UK branch, and how have we helped our clients make the transition to becoming green? ABN AMRO’s UK office looks back on the sustainable financing it provided in 2018 to support green projects both in the UK and further afield.

From waste to worth

The UK currently landfills over 12 million tonnes of waste per year. Energy from Waste (EfW) has a critical role in reducing the environmental impact of waste, alongside increased energy production from food waste and further expansion of recycling initiatives. EfW has clearly been a target sector for the ABN AMRO Structured Finance team. 
The team’s work in this sector involved being the lead arranger in a ‘waste-to-energy’ project, the Earls Gate Energy Centre in Grangemouth, Scotland.
David Harradine, a Director in the London Project Finance team said, “We are delighted to provide senior debt to the sponsors of this innovative project, which will de-carbonise the energy used by a wide range of industrial businesses in Fife. The project will play a key role in complying with the Scottish government’s requirement that all biodegradable waste is diverted from landfill by 2021.”

When wind performs

The offshore wind sector has experienced exponential growth – from the world’s first ever offshore wind turbine (a 0.45MW machine), installed by Orsted in 1990, to Hornsea One, the world’s largest and most powerful offshore wind farm (1,218 MW), now being built by the same company. Offshore wind use is clearly on the rise, and we have provided a competitive offering where there has been opportunity. Case in point: ABN AMRO were one of the funders for the GBP 3 billion project financing of Global Infrastructure Partner’s’ 50% share in the Hornsea project.
Hornsea One is one of the few offshore wind projects that has managed to attract bond funding from debt capital market investors during the construction phase. ABN AMRO and its  product partners in the Netherlands are proud to contribute to the Northwest European offshore wind sector. This financing also underscores our deeper commitment to the global energy transition.
Lisa McDermott, an Executive Director in the Project Finance team said, ''ABN AMRO has been a leading bank in the European offshore wind market for the last five years. We’re delighted to have been part of these two landmark UK offshore wind projects which, once operational, will provide enough combined clean energy to power almost 2 million UK households.” 
Earlier in the year, ABN AMRO was amongst 15 banks to provide financing for another ‘electricity generation from wind’ project, Triton Knoll. The 15 banks collectively provided GBP 1.751 billion in debt facilities. ABN AMRO Lease also provided Bibby Marine Services with a EUR 25 million stage payment facility to support the build of a new service operation vessel (SOV). The Bibby WaveMaster Horizon is to be deployed at EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG’s offshore wind farms Hohe See and Albatros in the German North Sea for the next 10 years.  

Green fleet

With the government’s commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040, ABN AMRO UK are a step ahead. Last year, it financed through leasing three fully electric bus deals, for over 50 zero-emission electric buses and the charging infrastructure, funding a total of over GBP 25 million for these assets. The buses will run on some of Transport for London’s new fully electric bus routes which form part of the government initiative to improve air quality. 
Steve Laws, Relationship Director for the UK Lease Specialist Asset Finance Team said: “We’re really pleased to have provided a flexible funding solution that contributes to this sustainable initiative.”

Long-term value across the chain

More and more companies are asking what long-term value they are creating across the full scope of their operations – not just for themselves, but also for their clients, employees and investors, and for society as a whole. ABN AMRO UK are no different. 
Sustainability is one of the bank’s criteria when selecting suppliers of products and services. Suppliers are encouraged to carry out on-going self-assessments and are regularly monitored.  
One of our recently contracted suppliers is Woosh, a washroom service provider that is using the waste they collect to heat a hospital in Dorset through their waste-to-energy scheme.