The Georgia-based TBC Bank is set to scale up its commitment to sustainable lending with an ambitious target of reaching 1 billion GEL in their portfolio this year, according to CEO Vakhtang Butskhrikidze.
In 2022, the bank reported a notable 15.6% increase in its sustainable loan portfolio, escalating from 676 million GEL in 2021 to 782 million GEL. The portfolio comprised substantial commitments across diverse sustainability initiatives. Hydroelectric power plants received the lion's share of these loans with 571 million GEL, followed by 144 million GEL allocated to domestic and eco-car energy-efficient projects. Education and developmental programs for younger generations, as well as women's empowerment projects, were assigned 55 million GEL and 12 million GEL respectively.
TBC has continually demonstrated commitment towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts. "Our ESG strategy guided us in setting and pursuing goals in sustainable lending, achieving net zero emissions, addressing climate change, endorsing social procurement, fostering workplace diversity, and empowering women", explained Butskhrikidze.
In 2023, the bank is intending to achieve its ambitious 1 billion GEL target by bolstering its financing for energy-efficient, renewable energy, and resource-efficient projects. Moreover, lending to businesses owned and managed by women, innovative startups, and unique enterprises will form an integral part of the growth strategy.
The development of a unified framework for sustainable loans by the National Bank offers an important underpinning for this growth. Effective from January 1, commercial banks are now required to submit a sustainable financing report to the regulatory authority using a standardized classification, defining up to 40 categories of loans that qualify as sustainable financing.
This proactive move by TBC aligns with the global push for sustainable finance and exemplifies the potential of banking to facilitate the much-needed transition to a greener and more equitable economy.