Sustainable finance gets a boost as ING and EIB earmark €600m for SMEs


Global banking giant, ING and the European Investment Bank (EIB), has unveiled a new sustainable finance programme designed to bolster SMEs.

This joint venture aims to distribute €600m in fresh loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The key focus of this initiative is to fund investments that yield a favourable climate and environmental outcome.

The launch of this new scheme is aimed at addressing the growing need for sustainable finance within SMEs in the Benelux region. The drive is to provide these businesses with low-interest loans and leases to make climate-centric investments possible. The types of investments targeted by this programme range from electric vehicles and sustainable production to green buildings.

ING is a prominent player in the global banking sector and, alongside EIB, has a robust track record in devising finance schemes catering to the needs of SMEs in the Benelux region. This sustainable finance programme is the eighth collaborative effort since 2009, and the second with a sustainability focus since 2019.

The newly launched product is a fund designed to offer low-interest loans and leases to businesses that are looking to make climate-focused investments. With sustainability at the heart of this initiative, ING and EIB are looking to leverage this to drive positive climate and environmental impacts.

Additional details reveal that half of the fund will support ING’s corporate clients in the Netherlands. The other half will be allocated to clients in Belgium and Luxembourg. Applications for the fund must comply with ING’s credit conditions and sustainability objectives, backed by eligibility criteria based on the EU Taxonomy, which assures funds are allocated for environmental improvements.

ING Head of Business Banking Sales in Belgium, Saskia Bauters, highlighted the significance of the new offering, saying, “The agreement with the European Investment Bank allows us to offer our business customers a significant discount on interest rates for financing sustainable projects. This offer fits in perfectly with the rest of our sustainability strategy which aims to offer SMEs the push they need to choose the most sustainable solution.”

Moreover, the Director of Business Banking at ING Netherlands, Laurens de Vos, added, “An ING survey earlier this year showed that Dutch companies want to accelerate their sustainable transition. As a bank, we want only to encourage them through easy access to finance. And the significantly discounted interest rate helps a great deal and will enable entrepreneurs to invest, for example, in electric vehicles, sustainable production methods and green buildings.”

Finally, Vice President EIB, Kris Peeters, concluded by saying, “By now it is clear to almost everyone that becoming more sustainable is a must. As Europe’s climate bank and also as part of the European Green Deal, the EIB aims to provide support and encouragement at both macro and micro level in order to green our societies. Thanks to this partnership with ING, we can also reach out to small and medium-sized enterprises and give them an extra incentive in the form of interest rate rebates.”

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