Twenty-one businesses that have made outstanding contributions to environmental and social sustainability were honoured with awards at the EBRD’s 2021 Annual Meeting.The awards ceremony was preceded by the launch of the EBRD’s latest Sustainability Report.
Sustainability is at the heart of the EBRD’s operations and the awards recognise partner companies that are committed to ensuring sustainability as a key priority in their operations too.
The winner of this year’s Sustainable Energy Gold Award is Intergas Central Asia in Kazakhstan. A financial package of €243.5 million, provided to the subsidiaries of the national gas transportation system operator KazTransGas, will help them reduce fugitive methane emissions and carbon intensity, according to EBRD.
The project is expected to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and contribute to the country’s commitment to move away from coal-fired power and reach carbon neutrality by 2060.
In the Climate Resilience category, Tajikistan won the gold award for the Obigarm-Nurobod Road Project (M41 Detour Road). This project targets one of the key barriers to economic and social development in the country – the efficient and reliable functioning of transport corridors. It does this by promoting regional trade via the development of safe and reliable road corridors, sustainable mechanisms for road maintenance, as well as road safety improvements.
As Tajikistan’s primary trading links are via road, the economic cost of a day’s closure is estimated to be about US$ 2 million. With the road more able to cope with increasingly common extreme weather events, the number of days’ closure will be significantly reduced. Also, the costs of repairing any damage will be lower and the time needed for repairs will be less.
The gold award for Environmental and Social Best Practice went to Anadolu Etap in Turkey. The company improved the working and living conditions of female migrant workers and their children by providing a safe and healthy working environment and offering children a chance to attend school and summer school, which also helps to reduce the risk of their being involved in child labour.
Anadolu Etap also implemented a Covid-19 response plan to reduce pandemic risks for migrant workers, and initiated a world-class supply chain risk assessment programme with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and EBRD. The company also became a member of the country’s circular economy platform, Turkey Materials Marketplace, and matched with Sutas, another EBRD client, to reduce waste and pollution. This collaboration has reduced energy costs considerably while providing significant ecological benefits. Furthermore, Anadolu Etap developed and implemented a comprehensive gender and youth inclusion programme, EBRD notes.
In the Environmental and Social Innovation category, the gold award went to Georgia Healthcare Group (GHG), the largest healthcare services provider in the country. The EBRD supported GHG with a US$ 25 million loan to fund working capital and operational expenditure requirements for its critical role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The funds enabled GHG to adapt six major hospitals for Covid-19 patients, as well as enhance its diagnostic capacities. GHG also developed a unique mobile healthcare application called EKIMO (translates as “Hey Doctor”), which is an example of accelerating digital transition, a key priority for the EBRD.
May Agro Tohumculuk Sanayi Ve Ticaret (MAY Seed), one of the leading producers of seeds in Turkey and a pioneer in the field of seed production, was recognised with the Gender and Economic Inclusion gold award.
MAY Seed is the first seed producer in Turkey to sign up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and is an active member of the Women Empowerment Platform of Bursa, a city in north-western Turkey. The company has introduced a “Gender Equality in Society” policy, which sets out its corporate approach and commitment to gender equality. Moreover, the company has three dedicated programmes to attract and prepare youth for a future career. The financial literacy training developed in collaboration with the EBRD and implemented by the company in 2020 further strengthened May’s engagement in regional and gender inclusion.
Piraeus Bank Greece won the Financial Intermediaries gold award. Piraeus Bank collaborates with the EBRD on several products, including the Bank’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and covered bonds. Piraeus Bank has actively advanced the agenda for sustainable business by issuing the first sustainability-linked loan in the Greek market in 2020. Piraeus Bank was also the only Greek bank involved in the formation of the Principles of Responsible Banking, along with 29 other banks from around the world.
It is the highest-ranking financial intermediary among the EBRD’s financial intermediary clients, based on the E&S scoring derived from the Bank’s Sustainability Index, its annual environmental and social reporting tool. It has also received the prize for the EBRD’s Most Active Issuing Bank in 2019 – Green Trade. The bank facilitated the highest number of transactions, most of them in the renewable energy sector, with total CO2 emission reductions equivalent to taking 6,000 cars off the roads.
The following companies won silver and bronze.
Sustainable Energy: Johnson Matthey, Poland
Climate Resilience: Louis Dreyfus Company and ES “Milli Hasyl”, Turkmenistan
Environmental and Social Best Practice: Fozzy Group, Ukraine
Environmental and Social Innovation: KESH Floating Solar PV Project, Albania
Gender and Economic Inclusion: Osmangazi Elektrik Dağıtım, Turkey and Tbilisi Transport Company, Georgia
Financial Intermediaries: Banca Comerciala Romana Romania
Sustainable Energy: City of Walbrzych, Poland
Climate Resilience: Banque Centrale Populaire, Morocco
Environmental and Social Best Practice: Beo Cista Energija, Serbia
Environmental and Social Innovation: TAURON Polska Energia, Poland and Sapro Temizlik Urunleri Sanayi ve Ticaret, Turkey
Gender and Economic Inclusion: Agrofusion Group, Ukraine
Financial Intermediaries: Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor (Nova KMB), Slovenia
After receiving 62 nominations, 21 projects were selected across six categories for the gold, silver and bronze awards. The projects were scored by three independent judges: Gulbin Uzuner Bekit, CFO, Akfen Holding, which also sponsors the EBRD Sustainability Awards; Barry Cowell, Head of Environment, WSP; and Elena Amirkhanova, Partner, EMEA Account Director, Sustainable Finance, ERM.