Italy's UniCredit Group has inked a partnership deal with environmental organisation WWF that will see the bank cut its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020 and provide 'green' business and home loans to encourage energy efficiency.
The 'green deal' will see UniCredit aim to cut CO2 emissions generated by offices and branches by 15% by 2012, rising to 30% eight years later. The bank has already set up a trial branch run entirely on renewable energy.
If targets are not met, offsetting projects will be implemented to close the gap.
In addition, the bank will work with WWF to develop a model to measure the environmental impact of its loan portfolio in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This will be used to steer lending decisions, helping the bank to contribute to the development of the "green economy".
A house efficiency loan product will be launched that the bank says will help customers cut their emissions and make savings on energy bills.
Initially targeted at bank employees in Italy, the loan will be supported by energy consulting services, with emissions monitored and certified for reporting.
UniCredit says that if a family invested EUR4000 in energy efficiency measures at their homes, they would cut CO2 emissions by one ton a year. A EUR10,000 loan for small and medium size businesses would reduce emissions by 12 tons.
Michele Candotti, director general, WWF Italy, says: "Steering the investment and credit line portfolio to provide credit facilities and financial support for the most virtuous sectors can play a strategic role in tackling climate change."