The banking sector has a significant role in the economic development of a country. Importance of finance in developing more environment friendly technologies which address concerns regarding the environmental protection is now known to the world. If the bank facilitates funding of projects in areas of renewables and cleantech, it helps to develop the technology and bring down the cost. This is one of the core values of Axis bank towards bringing environmental sustainability for its customers and overall citizens of India. Axis Bank is the third largest private sector bank in India.
Axis bank communicated its efforts of reducing its impacts on the environment through its Business Responsibility Report this year. The section below describes how Axis bank is heading towards becoming more eco-friendly bank in India-
Axis bank’s environmental management efforts are inclined towards resource conservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Through its Green Banking Initiative, the bank –
Encourages its customers to subscribe for e-statements and other electronic formats of communication to reduce paper consumption,
Encourages to adopt green building concept for its office space (Bank’s corporate office ‘Axis House’ is designed and constructed as a Platinum LEED-Certified “Green Building”) and many other similar activities.
Conducts tree plantation programs (Plant a Sapling initiative)
Uses renewable energy units for the purpose of street lighting.
Uses water collected from rainwater harvesting system and a sewage treatment plant.
Uses furniture made out of a high percentage of recycled materials.
Initiated solar-based UPS for ten ATMs under its Independent ATM Deployment (IAD) model.
Axis bank is doing this by ensuring active involvement of its stakeholders including employees. Bank explores two dimensional approach in environmental conservation- first is to reduce the environmental impact of its own operations and second is to promote eco-friendly technologies through its lending business.
The bank is very responsive of the environmental impacts of the projects where it has provided loans. All the projects where bank is intending to lend money have to undergo thorough necessary scrutiny process on environmental background. Bank doesn’t provide finance to project which are – (a) dealing in banned wildlife related products, (b) creating pollution and doesn’t have clearance from pollution control boards and haven’t installed effluent treatment plants (ETP), and (c) setting up new units consuming or producing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) such as Chloro-fluoro Carbon (CFC), Halons and units manufacturing aerosol products using CFCs.These environmental aspects are integrated with credit risk management framework for the lending process.
Axis bank is very actively providing finance to projects in the areas of clean technology, renewable energy, energy -efficiency and sustainable infrastructure. The bank could do it because of successful negotiated Line of Credit of USD 70 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC) to facilitate the funding. By March 31st, 2015, Axis bank has provided funding of Rs. 3,688 Crores to projects in the areas of clean technology, renewable energy, energy -efficiency and sustainable infrastructure.
Apart from this, Axis bank has also implemented various other initiatives in environmental management and energy efficiency domains such as implementation of ‘Remote Managed Service’program that enables to centrally monitor and regulate energy use at its offices, shifting to highly energy efficient solid-state data storage system from hard disk storage technology at its data centres, etc.
You can read more about such initiatives taken by Axis bank at its BRR report.
Shailesh is post graduate in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (FRI) University, Dehradun, India. Presently he is working in the areas of Environmental and Renewable Energy Advisory Services. He has started GreenCleanGuide.com during his college days.