The greatest transformation in Poland's history

The greatest transformation in Poland's history

We live in times of black swans. Only in recent years we have had a crisis caused by the pandemic, then since the aggression against Ukraine – caused by Russia, and between them, but also ahead of us – the risk of the materialization of many other negative events. They can significantly change the course of history, including the further development of artificial intelligence. This is a time of enormous challenges not only for society, entrepreneurs and countries, but also for the banking sector.

However, there is almost universal agreement that the Polish economy needs a transformation towards a sustainable economy and that we cannot turn back from this path.. At the same time, we are observing a trend in which Polish enterprises increasingly recognize environmental, social and corporate governance factors as an important element of stable growth.

From the point of view of Bank Pekao, but also of all financial institutions, a discussion on the sources and directions of financing this great transformation in the history of Poland seems important.

There is no doubt that the outlays for financing the green transformation of the Polish economy will largely come from the financial sector. The estimated amounts necessary for an effective and efficient energy transformation are impressive: PLN 600 billion in 7 years (according to EY estimates from the end of 2022, derived from the PKEE report) for investments in changes in the energy market; up to PLN 500 billion for investments in the development of infrastructure enabling the storage and distribution of energy, as well as over PLN 726 billion for investments in production capacity (including approximately 60% related to renewable energy technologies), these are the estimates shared last fall by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

It is worth emphasizing, however, that defining the green transformation solely from the perspective of the energy sector is a gross understatement. Today, ESG, in addition to energy production, storage and distribution, is characterized by changes in the area of ​​public infrastructure, transport, logistics, construction, digitalization, as well as food processing.

In that spirit, a also by implementing the ESG Strategy adopted in 2021, Bank Pekao was involved in projects related to sustainable development that were strategic for its clients. The bank was the exclusive organizer of two issues of Eurobonds from the European Investment Bank, including the issue of green “Climate Awareness Bonds” worth PLN 400 million. EIB financing will not only contribute to reducing climate change, but above all will go to the development of projects based on process or product innovations.

The bank is also among as many as 25 Polish and international institutions that will finance with a total amount of up to EUR 4.4 billion Baltic Power – a 1.14 GW wind farm being built in the Baltic Sea.

Bank Pekao also serves as the global coordinator and security agent for an investment loan for the Polsat Plus Group in the amount of PLN 8.2 billion. One of the factors on which the loan margin will depend is: achieving specific goals related to the production and consumption of clean, zero-emission energy by Group companies.

There are many effective and efficient mechanisms and financial instruments that help achieve the goals related to the sustainable development of the Polish economy.

It is worth noting that in 2023, Bank Pekao's portfolio was expanded with a historic, international, benchmark and, most importantly, a very successful issue of Eurobonds. Placed at a record low margin and great interest from investors. Investors reported demand worth over EUR 1.5 billion. The debt was owed to over a hundred entities. Importantly, the bank has also published the Sustainable Finance Framework, a document specifying which project categories will receive funds from green or sustainable bonds issued by the bank.

However, our thinking about the transformation of the Polish economy goes beyond banking programs and instruments. Last year, Bank Pekao added a new, ecological one to its offer multi-currency card for corporate clients, MasterCard Corporate Debit FX, made of 99% PVC from recycled post-industrial waste. The method of obtaining the raw material from which Pekao Eco Cards are made in the production process reduces the carbon footprint by 75%. and total energy consumption by 54%. In turn, the amount of non-recyclable materials from which the card is made is reduced by 98%. This example shows that transformation is not just milestones but perhaps the sum of many smaller steps.

We want to be recognized not only as the leader of corporate banking in Poland, but also as the bank of first choice financing sustainable development. That is why we focus on investments that have a positive impact on the transformation of enterprises, while bringing about positive changes in the reality around us. This is how we see the role of Bank Pekao in the development of the country and this is how, as an ESG leader in corporate banking, we want to be perceived outside said Jerzy Kwieciński, vice-president of Bank Pekao, supervising the Corporate Banking, Markets and Investment Banking Division.

Bank Pekao is appreciated internationally for its activities to finance sustainable development. In July 2023, he was awarded several awards by “Global Finance” magazine, including: the title of leader in the Central and Eastern European region in financing sustainable infrastructure.

When we say that we want Bank Pekao to keep up with the times, we mean a number of tools: sustainable financing, products thanks to which customers can contribute to social and environmental changes, and digital products thanks to which we not only help others in transformation, but also we reduce emissions into the environment ourselves and we maximize the positive impact on society – points out Mariusz Bartosewicz, Director of the ESG Product Development Office for Corporate Banking and Internationalization at Bank Pekao.

In this way, Bank Pekao not only makes another contribution to achieving EU obligations for Poland, but together with its clients influences the landscape of the country's future.

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