Sustainability offer at UniCredit Bank Austria:
Sustainable lending and “green” account with Austrian Ecolabel
- UniCredit Bank Austria’s broad sustainability offer: reduction of own ecological footprint and focus on sustainable financing
- Cooperation with the WWF: Sustainability targets are anchored in the lending process
- Starting immediately, UniCredit Bank Austria is offering a “green” account that is certified with the Austrian Ecolabel and features completely digital and paperless account opening and management
- Bank Austria provides sustainable financing in the amount of the deposits in the account
- “Financing sustainable housing”: Customers receive advice vouchers for ecological home design
- New Debit Mastercard in ecological design to replace Maestro cards beginning mid-November
“Climate protection concerns us all”, says Robert Zadrazil, CEO of UniCredit Bank Austria. “Following the coronavirus lockdown, we now have the unique opportunity to join forces and transform the Austrian economy into a sustainable, low-carbon system.” The entire banking industry is part of the solution, as a key multiplier in this process. By financing investments relating to climate protection, a leverage effect can be generated that is far greater than in any other industry. For this reason, UniCredit Bank Austria has long been committed to sustainability in line with UniCredit Group’s strong ESG commitments and targets.
UniCredit Bank Austria sustainability strategy
Minimising its own direct environmental impact is central to the efforts of both, UniCredit Group and UniCredit Bank Austria. UniCredit Bank Austria has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 84 percent and waste by 79 percent from 2008 until end of 2019, and since the beginning of 2020 almost all electricity has come from renewable energy sources. One of the largest geothermal plants in Europe was built at the headquarters at the Austria Campus and generates geothermal energy for heating and cooling.
As a major lender in Austria, transitioning towards a sustainable economy is one of UniCredit Bank Austria’s top priorities. In August 2020, UniCredit Bank Austria entered into a cooperation agreement with WWF Austria. WWF will support Bank Austria in setting sustainability targets for its lending portfolio. These targets will be anchored by UniCredit Bank Austria in the lending process.
Furthermore, UniCredit Group has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half since 2008 and is fully on target to reach a 60 per cent reduction in 2020 and an 80 per cent cut by 2030. UniCredit Group aims to increase renewable energy financing by 25 percent and energy efficiency loans to customers by up to 34 percent by 2023. By 2023 all coal-sector projects will have been phased out Group-wide following UniCredit’s updated coal policy in September 2020. UniCredit has also asked its clients to take on the same challenge and transition their activities within the same timeframe. Furthermore, no financing will be provided to new projects for the extraction of Arctic oil, offshore Arctic gas, shale oil and gas through fracking, tar sands oil, and deep-sea oil and gas extraction and nor banking services to any companies involved in rainforest deforestation.
The “green” account: paperless account opening in 15 minutes
With the new GoGreen account, UniCredit Bank Austria is offering its customers the opportunity to make their own contribution to climate protection. The account has been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel, which, according to Andreas Tschulik, Head of Department for the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, “has for 30 years been recognising products that consumers can trust to meet rigorous sustainability criteria”.
The new account can be opened in 15 minutes, completely paperless and purely digitally via video authentication. All necessary documents are signed digitally using an SMS PIN that is sent to the applicant’s mobile phone. The access data for Internet banking is sent electronically by email and SMS. The debit card is ordered automatically and delivered by post within a few days. The account is intended to be used in a purely paperless manner, with all online services (bank transfers, standing orders, account statements etc.) covered by the GoGreen account management fee of EUR 2.98 per month.
Sustainable financing in the amount of the account deposits
Sustainable loans are at the very heart of the GoGreen account. UniCredit Bank Austria is committed to providing sustainable funding equivalent in the amount of deposits in GoGreen accounts, both in the retail and non-consumer sectors. The allocation of this sustainable financing will be reviewed on the basis of defined criteria. The focus is on projects in the field of renewable energy (wind and solar power stations), as well as building renovations with the purpose of improving energy certification, newly built low-energy houses, and consumer loans with clear evidence of a sustainable purpose.
Financing sustainable housing
With “financing sustainable housing” all interested customers in construction and housing financing receive advice vouchers for topics such as energy efficiency, ecological construction and sustainable green space design, on presentation of an energy performance certificate customers receive a 200-euro voucher from Bank Austria.
Ecological debit and credit cards
All of the cards available with the GoGreen account (ATM cards, Visa or Mastercard credit cards etc.) are made of a special PVC material that has been specifically selected by Bank Austria and accelerates plastic degradation. The backing paper used with the cards is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) certified. Over time, all of the 1.1 million cards issued by UniCredit Bank Austria will be changed to this more ecological version.
The new UniCredit Bank Austria Debit Mastercard will be available from mid-November
From mid-November, UniCredit Bank Austria will be rolling out the new ecological version of the Debit Mastercard, which allows you to make online payments even more easily than before. From this time the Debit Mastercard will also be available as part of the GoGreen account. The Debit Mastercard replaces the Maestro cards that have been used up to now and is not a credit card. Although there are more features, there are no additional costs compared to the existing card and the money is immediately debited from the account. The greatest advantages of the new card are its online acceptance and its worldwide distribution.
A special green benefits programme — GoGreen CashBack
The three variants of UniCredit Bank Austria’s CashBack benefit programmes are now being expanded by around 50 “green” or “sustainable” companies. In addition to local sustainable microenterprises, partners also include well-known sustainable providers such as Hess Naturmoden, Zotter Schokolade and AFB (a company that employs disabled people and refurbishes used IT equipment).
Reduced purchase prices for sustainable investment products
When purchasing sustainable funds from UniCredit Bank Austria’s broad product range, GoGreen account holders receive a discount on the purchase price. These sustainable funds are identified through a strict, multi-stage selection process. “We offer our customers a broad investment universe, allowing them to invest in companies and projects that contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy”, concludes Robert Zadrazil.
UniCredit Bank Austria Press Office
Matthias Raftl, tel. +43 (0) 50505-52809