The FINANCIAL — During the current economical crisis when most companies have started shortening their expenses and saving money Bank Republic, SocGen subsidiary, started offering its customers a way of saving 20-30% expenses from energy efficiency. The Bank continues to prove its concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR), which as its CEO, Mr. Gilbert Hie, formulated, for him it means “to Care, Share and Respect”.
“It is obvious that the crisis could be introducing a difficulty to the development of CSR but without being an obstacle. It could be more difficult in the CSR subject directly related to companies’ expenses like Charity actions. But CSR does not concern grants only”, Hie says.
As Mr. Hie says, during the crisis the focus of CSR should be changed to topics where expenses are not so crucial. “For example we can choose to work in a more clever way in traditional banking activities and to give orientations of financing and priority towards energy efficiency projects, environmental developments, agro-food industry and employment developing projects”.
For its energy efficiency project Bank Republic received a USD 5 billion credit line from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
As officials from Bank Republic, SocGen group note, “being socially responsible for BR is to have a specific mission and purpose and be committed to achieving specific results, where the corporate purpose is not to achieve financial results only but is also concerned with attaining the highest possible social and ecological quality in the pursuit of economic interests”.
Bank Republic is a member of the UN Global Compact aiming to promote CSR. Stable development issues are evident in the priority trends of Societe Generale. The Group adheres to the CSR concept through its own products, service and selected target markets. Bank Republic participates in the strategy by the attainment of environmental, social and economic goals.
As officials of EBRD note, “Studies indicate that Georgia uses three times more energy than the average Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country compared with output. As prices rise, this has a direct impact on the production costs of Georgian enterprises and places them at a distinct disadvantage in a global economy.
Using available technology, Georgian companies can reduce energy consumption by over 20%, a saving of some EUR 12 million to Georgian businesses.
The EBRD has provided a USD 35 million credit line to help Georgians finance energy efficiency projects.
“Energy projects started gaining popularity among our citizens. At first it was difficult as people could not understand well what it was aimed at and how it can be used. EBRD is interested in making the energy efficiency project popular among Georgians that’s why our team members are dealing out consultations for our citizens. To popularize the energy efficiency project among the masses we have planned to create a third direction which means training individuals. Our fourth partner bank for which we’ll give out loans for energy efficiency will be oriented at only individuals. Clients will be able to receive credits of small amounts and install energy efficiency products in their homes and offices,” Irakli Mekvabishvili, EBRD Senior Banker, told The FINANCIAL.
“We can’t talk about market assimilating yet but Bank Republic has already started negotiating with its potential clients and introducing them to energy efficiency projects. While the whole world is facing the crisis and companies from different directions are trying to save even a cent the projects aimed at saving money are very important. It’s the right time for companies to overlook their systems and base efficiency projects to get profit to the amount of 20-30%,” Nikoloz Alavidze, Head of the Corporate Banking Division of Bank Republic, SocGen Subsidiary, says.
“The top management of Bank Republic is separately negotiating with its clients. By referring to our potential clients we don’t only mean producing companies, as this might also be of interest for educational centre schools and universities where expenses for heating are too high. As for our own branches’ example I can say that from the very beginning the head office of BR was projected with maximal efficiency of our expenses for heat and light. We can say that in our branches we don’t pay one extra cent than is necessary but the logistic department is still working on improving results,” Alavidze notes.
As Mekvabishvili, EBRD, says, “on the Georgian market there is not a big enough number of specialists to realize these projects that’s why an expert group of EBRD’s is working with customers interested in this project.
EBRD has already given out loans aimed at energy efficiency to TBC Bank and Cartu Bank. “At TBC Bank we have realized three projects and mainly they are oriented at the rehabilitation of hydro electro stations. TBC Bank already assimilated USD 3 billion. The total amount of loans given out to TBC Bank for its energy efficiency project is USD 10 billion and to Cartu Bank – USD 5 billion. Besides the mentioned loan additional expenses of EBRD for starting the energy efficiency project is EUR 1.5 billion which is used for a highly qualified specialists’ consultant group and technical support. The fact that we have entered in to agreement with a third bank with our project means that this project has indeed become popular,” Mekvabishvili declares.
Written By Madona Gasanova