Saturday, June 3, 2023

Republic Bank to arrange US$200M in loans for emissions reduction projects

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Managing Director of Republic Bank Limited, Mr. Nigel Baptiste recently disclosed that the financial institution intends to arrange US$200 million to go towards activities that reduce the impacts of climate change and create environmental solutions by 2025.

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Republic Financial Holdings Limited said, “Working with various communities, we set our sights on increasing the proportion of electric and hybrid car loans; loans linked to the promotion of clean fuels, renewable energy use, and technology; loans contributing to an improvement in energy efficiency; and new construction loans that deploy climate-resilient technology.”

The CEO said the proposed US$200 million commitment aligns with the institution’s optimal risk appetite by directing capital towards the environment, renewable energy, green initiatives, the blue economy, and socially focused projects.

Across the entire Republic Bank Group, Baptiste said it has also committed to, and begun the process of, converting all of its new buildings to be built in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification. Additionally, he said the bank will continue to roll out upgrades to its existing buildings, making them more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

“While these are just two examples, I believe the message is clear: Leading the way often requires adapting what you do to better suit your environment and better serve the greater good,” expressed the CEO.

He said this very principle of the need for leadership on climate change was rejuvenated at the UN Climate Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow last month as well as the first Annual Caribbean ESG and Climate Financing Summit (which took place virtually) earlier in November. Baptiste recalled that both events provided for a much-needed rejuvenation in the discussion on Climate Change and an almost commensurate increase in the calls for more action from the world’s leaders, across various disciplines and industries, and their people.

While events like COP26 provide both means and encouragement, Baptiste said more than that is needed, “especially given the fact that the leaders of the world’s richer nations have not been able to fulfill their US$100 billion commitment to annual climate funding promised to developing and at-risk nations.” Similarly, he said they have also not been able to agree upon a universal approach to more immediate problems which include widespread agricultural and meteorological disruptions that have led to economic hardships, extensive property, and land damage, and worst of all, the deaths of millions.

As a leader, Baptiste said it must never be enough to just pledge one’s support. “Through our actions, we not only embody the spirit of what we are saying, we openly demonstrate to (and hopefully, inspire) others to become involved,” expressed the CEO.

Given the adverse impact of climate change on the Caribbean and its dependency on fossil fuels, Baptiste said the bank has identified specific energy and climate goals as priority areas, wholeheartedly believing that the most direct, impactful and measurable contribution that it could make would be in the form of a financing commitment or lending goals across the Group.

It is on this premise that the bank has pledged to ensure there is access to US$200M to support emissions reduction projects across the region.

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