Our corporate values form the foundation of our business ethics. The following principles guide the operations of the ProCredit institutions:
Transparency: We provide transparent information to our customers, to the general public and to our employees.For example, we ensure that customers fully understand the terms of the contracts they conclude with us, and we engage in financial education in order to raise public awareness of the dangers of intransparent financial offers.
Social responsibility and tolerance: We offer our clients sound, well-founded advice. Before offering loans to our clients, we assess their economic and financial situation, their business potential and their repayment capacity in order to avoid over-indebtedness and to provide appropriate financial services. In addition, we are committed to treating all customers and employees with fairness and respect, regardless of their origin, colour, language, gender or religious beliefs.
We also ensure that requests for loans are evaluated in terms of the applicant’s compliance with our ethical business practices. No loans are issued to enterprises or individuals if it is suspected that they are making use of unsafe, environmentally harmful or morally objectionable forms of labour, in particular child labour.
These principles represent the backbone of our corporate culture and are actively applied in our day-to-day operations. They are reflected in the ProCredit Code of Conduct, which translates the group’s principles into practical guidelines for our staff.
All ProCredit banks set high standards regarding the environmental impact of their operations and have adopted preserving the nature and mitigating climate change as part of their corporate policy and social responsibility.
ProCredit Bank Bulgaria seeks to permanently limit its negative impact on the environment, and also the negative impact of its clients. In this regard the bank is constantly working to raise awareness of environmental issues among its employees, clients and society in general, by implementing consistent and sustainable measures. To this end, an internal system for managing the bank’s environmental impact has been implemented, which is founded on three main pillars:
Pillar 1: Internal environmental management system
As a banking institution, ProCredit Bank mainly impacts the environment through the consumption of energy and water resources, the use of paper and other materials, the condition of its branch network and the efficiency of its equipment and vehicles. To mitigate its environmental impact, the bank has introduced a dedicated database which it uses to monitor and analyse its consumption of resources, and which serves as the basis for measures to reduce consumption levels.These measures include: using energy efficient equipment, replacing light bulbs with energy-saving LED lighting, printing on certified paper only, and minimising the use of plastic. By redesigning our internal processes on the basis of electronic archives and document exchange, we have managed to cut our paper consumption by two-thirds. We are constantly renovating our branch network, adhering to established high energy efficiency standards. Environmental criteria are an integral part of the eligibility criteria we apply when selecting our partners and counterparties. We actively encourage our clients to use on-line and automated services.
Simultaneously, we promote an active lifestyle and a responsible attitude towards nature by organising and supporting various initiatives which involve our own employees, our clients and our suppliers, as well as the general public.
Environmental issues are an essential component of the training provided to ProCredit Bank staff.
Pillar 2: Management of environmental risk in lending
The implementation of environmental risk management in lending is another part of ProCredit Bank’s system for environmental protection. Using a set of environmental criteria, the bank performs in-depth analysis and continuous monitoring of all economic activities which potentially bear environmental risks. The inherent environmental risk is assessed for each individual project applying for financing, and projects associated with high environmental risks or involving activities which appear on the bank’s exclusion lists are rejected. By incorporating environmental issues into the loan approval process, ProCredit Bank is also able to raise its clients’ overall level of environmental awareness.
Pillar 3: Promotion of “green finance”
An indirect but very significant way in which the bank impacts on the environment is through the projects it finances. ProCredit Bank Bulgaria aims to support an economic development that is in line with the principles of sustainability and efficient use of natural resources. As early as 2006, we launched an energy efficiency programme – the first of its kind in Bulgaria. Initially the loans under this programme were offered to private clients only, but then its scope was expanded to include business clients. Over time, the bank has become one of the leading providers of finance for energy efficiency improvement and environmental protection projects.
Guided by our aspirations and our undisputed experience in offering the latest available opportunities for sustainable development, in 2013 we developed our own methodology for analysing, assessing and priority financing “green projects”, collectively referred to as our “Green Investment Loans”. This category includes projects for energy efficiency improvement, for the production of energy from renewable sources, and a variety of other measures with beneficial effects on the environment.
As part of the activities geared towards the continuous improvement of our Internal Environmental Management System, in early 2016 we obtained certification of conformity with the International Standard ISO 14 001:2015, making ProCredit Bank the first financial institution in Bulgaria to achieve this milestone. Certification under the Standard ensures strict observance of environmental legislation, confirms the responsibility of the bank and motivates us to take further initiatives to protect the environment.