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Today companies around the world are leading the way in green initiatives, adopting a wide range of admirable, in-house sustainability practices such as ambitious recycling programs and the installation of low-energy systems, in addition to financing external green projects of which they want to be a part. In many cases, they are motivated by cost savings and of course, a desire to protect our planet by reducing their carbon footprint. In Lebanon today, many banks and leading companies are actively engaged in green corporate social responsibility programs.

Here we look at Fransabank Group

Adnan Kassar, Chairman of Fransabank Group, was one of the initiators and signatory of the UN Global Compact, back in 1999 when he headed the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). To mirror this engagement, at Fransabank we strongly believe that, through our commitment, we have a real opportunity to affect the climate agenda by the investments we make and the Eco-Business loans we grant.

• We strive to incorporate concern for the climate and environment in our products and seek to conduct our business in a way that minimizes our environmental footprint

• We work to create general awareness and transmit this commitment to our clients so, in turn, they become responsible towards the environment

• With our Go green strategy implemented since 2013 including Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) in the core activities of the Bank as a separate business line, we have built capacity to become the SEF banker in Lebanon

What are the energy projects Fransabank is engaged in?  List them in order of importance and give a brief explanation of each. 

Fransabank finances SEF projects in all sectors of the economy including but not limited to petrol stations, agriculture, bakeries, restaurants, hospitals, universities, real estate, malls, steel factories, cement factories, etc. whether for Large Corporations or Small and Medium Enterprises.

When it comes to individuals, the Retail section at Fransabank has worked on several projects including eco-home loans, eco-friendly loans, solar water heater loans, as well as environmental loans to help customers reduce their energy consumption and energy bills. In addition, Fransabank has partnered with the municipalities of Rachaya and Bkassine (Jezzine) to finance all types of energy projects in these regions.

Fransabank, was acknowledged for its engagement in SEF initiatives and was invited by its partners “Bpifrance” to participate in the annual Conference of Parties (COP21) that took place in Paris on November 2015.

Mr. Nadim Kassar, General Manager of Fransabank, participated in the side event: “Partout dans le monde, financiers et entrepreneurs agissent pour le climat” or “All around the world, financiers and contractors act for the climate”. The side event aimed at introducing several initiatives launched by financial institutions as well as private sector. The session was interactive with participants sharing their experience of launching and managing Energy projects on one hand and financing these projects on the other hand.

What is Fransabank doing in-house to limit and reduce its ecological footprint?

Fransabank has been working on several projects in-house to limit and reduce its ecological footprint.

An energy audit was undertaken and aimed at optimizing the energy consumption at Fransabank’s headquarters as well as in its branches. Many projects have been implemented and finalized including, and not limited to, enhanced parking lighting and ventilation, night consumption control, lighting control, HVAC demand control, Solar radiant hear barriers for windows, LED lighting retrofit, monitoring and targeting program, etc.

The expected yearly savings in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Savings, when all measures are taken, range around 1500 Tons of CO2 equivalent.

Fransabank also launched the Paper Recycling initiative, aiming at reducing the use of paper at its headquarters and branches by encouraging the use of electronic communication, minimizing the use of printed paper, adopting double-sided printing, among others. This initiative has been a success with over 244.31 tons of paper recycled in the years 2014 and 2015.

For the past two consecutive years, and in cooperation with arcenciel, Fransabank launched the Bouchons Roulants initiative, with the objective, on one hand, to educate Fransabank’s employees on the importance of sorting and recycling plastic caps and bottles in order to preserve the environment, and on the other hand, to provide the bestowment of wheelchairs to a person with special needs. With over two and half tons collected and sent for recycling, this initiative resulted in the acquisition of two wheelchairs.  Moreover, Fransabank’s management matched the number of wheelchairs donated through an equal contribution to employees’ efforts. As a result, four wheelchairs were donated to people with special needs since 2014.

Finally, the Bank has recently placed at selected branches, open-topped recycling bins to promote waste sorting and to spread environmental awareness to the customers.

Tell us about your eco loans to customers. Explain the type of loans and value of loans to date, what type of customers etc.

So far we have financed more than 150 projects in this field. 35% of the projects are green buildings. 15% of projects are renewable energy and 50% of projects are energy efficiency projects in all sectors of the economy, concentrated mainly in the industrial sector.