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.
- A culture of open communication: We communicate openly, fairly and constructively with each other. We deal with conflicts at work in a professional manner, working together to find solutions.
- 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.
- High professional standards: Our employees take personal responsibility for the quality of their work and always strive to grow as professionals.
- Personal integrity and commitment: Complete honesty is required of all employees in the ProCredit group at all times, and any breaches of this principle are swiftly and rigorously dealt with.
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. In the beginning of 2019, the original certificate was renewed for a new 3-year period, as the Greek offices of the bank are already covered by certification.
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.
Our steps towards a cleaner environment
Just like any other company, ProCredit Bank also leaves an impact on the environment. This can be measured in the consumption levels of energy and water resources, as well as the amount of paper and other materials used in the bank’s daily operations. The condition of our offices, the effectiveness of the equipment we use and the efficiency of our vehicles also have an impact.
All banks in the ProCredit group have adopted environmental protection as part of their policy of social responsibility. ProCredit banks have a system for tracking and analysing the consumption of resources. The purpose of this system is to obtain a more accurate and complete picture of the effectiveness of our environmental measures, as well as to take cost-effective decisions to carry out changes/ improvements in the applied processes and technologies, leading to a reduction of the environmental footprint. Thanks to changes made in work processes together with technological improvements, ProCredit Bank has already achieved visible results.
During the last five years we continued modernising our premises by introducing highly efficient air-conditioning and building management systems, improvement of building insulation and switching entirely to LED lighting. As a result of these innovations, the amount of energy consumed has fallen with over 50%.
In our effort to become carbon neutral, in 2018 we installed our first own photovoltaic plant on the rooftop of our branch in Plovdiv city.
The annual carbon emissions savings are amounting to 13 tones. We finished our second installation on the rooftop of the office in Sofia city in 2019 and we wish to continue this tendency also in other cities. Additional information about the PV plant is available here.
Besides reducing the total amount of energy consumed, almost all our internal processes are conducted and documented electronically. Our clients are offered a high quality of service with innovative and digital banking tools using significantly fewer resources. Most of the working processes are carried out without using paper and if paperless data exchange is not possible, it is limited to the minimum. These optimisations have reduced our paper consumption by almost 65% in comparison with 2014.
Apart from optimising our own internal processes, we are striving to persuade our clients to think and work in the same way as well. We encourage them to use innovative technical solutions and to reduce the amount of paper and other resources they consume in their activities at work and at home. In addition, through our advanced online banking system we save our clients’ time and fuel, as they do not need to visit our offices for a significant part of our banking operations.
It is important for us to be close to our clients and this requires frequent car usage. The bank has always used cars with low fuel consumption, as well as optimization of the necessity for their usage.
Today, we use more than 63% less fuel than in 2014.
As a further step towards reducing our environmental footprint, ProCredit Bank purchased 10 new electric vehicles in 2015. Replacing the bank’s vehicle fleet with zero-emission electric cars is intended to permanently reduce the negative impact on the environment. This purchase makes ProCredit Bank the first financial institution in Bulgaria to use such a high number of electric vehicles to facilitate the daily work of our Business Client Advisers.
In 2020 the Bank’s car fleet consists of 17 electric cars and 7 plug-in hybrids. Thus, the eco-cars of ProCredit Bank Bulgaria are 50% of the whole fleet.
Realizing the benefits of these vehicles, in 2016 we developed a specialized loan aimed at the purchase of electric cars with very attractive interest rate – “EcoMobility” loan.
Promoting our products, ProCredit Bank Bulgaria participated in the first edition of the tech-show for electric vehicles in Bulgaria – EVIZIA. The event took place on 17-19 May 2019 in Park Arena OZK Burgas.
Greenhouse gases emissions
As a result of all the measures taken by ProCredit Bank Bulgaria to reduce the harmful impact on the environment, we achieved a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of 2019, the amount of emitted carbon dioxide declined by almost 70 % compared to 2014. The significant decrease in 2019 is also due to the purchase of 100% Renewable electricity in all offices where this is possible.