EBRD announces winners of the 2020 Sustainability Awards

By Jane  Ross

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  • Clients awarded for commitment to environmental and social sustainability
  • 16 clients from 11 countries recognised for excellence
  • Winners demonstrate innovation, best practice and leadership

Businesses, a government ministry and a city that have made outstanding contributions toward promoting environmental and social sustainability were announced today as winners of the EBRD’s 2020 Sustainability Awards.

Sustainability underlies all EBRD operations and the Sustainability Awards recognise clients that the Bank works with that are also committed to ensuring sustainability is at the heart of their operations. 

Alistair Clark, EBRD Managing Director, Environment and Sustainability said: “These Awards recognise the great achievements of our clients in going beyond business as usual to address key environmental and social issues within their projects.” A special ceremony for the Sustainability Awards was scheduled to take place at the EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum in May 2020, which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Clark added: “We look forward to celebrating in person with all our award winners when circumstances allow and raising a toast to their success”.

The Sustainability Awards recognise achievements in five specific categories: sustainable energy, climate resilience, environmental and social best practice, environmental and social innovation, and gender and inclusion.

A total of 16 clients from 11 countries were selected for gold, silver and bronze awards.

Gold Awards

Joint winners of the Gold Award for Sustainable Energy are LG Chem Poland and Shams Al Etisalat Lil Taka PSC, Jordan.

LG Chem Poland produces and supplies electric vehicles (EV) batteries for European manufacturers.  In 2019, the EBRD signed a €250 million loan with LG Chem Poland to support the construction of a fully integrated Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery plant in Wrocław. The gigafactory – due for completion in 2022 – is expected to reach a production capacity of around 65-70 GWh a year. This will allow LG Chem Poland to supply batteries for up to 1 million electric vehicles per year (approximately 6 per cent of cars sold in Europe), resulting in the annual reduction of over 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.  The new plant in Wrocław will also have a sizeable impact on the local labour market. The company currently employs 2,700 people and plans to hire an additional 1,000 skilled employees by 2022.

The EBRD together with its partners is supporting a pioneering energy project in Jordan with a financial package of up to US$ 35 million. The project will enable the telecoms operator Orange Jordan to cover part of its demand with clean energy generated in solar plants. Shams Al Etisalat Lil Taka PSC was established in Jordan to design, build and operate the three 36.8 MWp solar photovoltaic plants for the project.  The plants will help the large telecom operator avoid c. 42,000 tCO2e emissions per year, which is particularly significant given the high energy needs for the development of 5G. The project demonstrates that essential energy needs can be met from indigenous, sustainable, renewable energy sources, and highlights the benefit of transitioning towards renewable energy by setting its management fee 74% lower than the current regulated tariff paid by the off-taker. It also proves that the transition to clean energy sources can be achieved in a replicable, scalable, and economically viable manner. In addition, the project commits to a comprehensive Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) to address the issues associated with the project’s implementation and bring it in compliance with the EBRD’s E&S Policy.

In the Climate Resilience category, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) in Serbia has taken home the Gold Award. An EBRD sovereign loan of €15 million will finance the construction and rehabilitation of the primary irrigation infrastructure in the Negotin region and the rehabilitation of two small accumulation lakes in Vojvodina. Within the framework of this programme, MAFWM is undertaking policy dialogue to prepare the country's first Irrigation Strategy with a five-year Action Plan. This will pave the way towards improved efficiency in the management of the irrigation sector and the introduction of commercial principles through a revised tarriff system. The Ministry is also promoting capacity-building for the Agricultural Advisory and Professional Services of Serbia ("AAPSS"), which will deliver quality training on irrigation and sustainable water use and ensure future access to agricultural extension services for all users – men and women.

The City of Lviv in Ukraine took home the Gold Award for Environmental & Social Best Practice. Lviv is notable for having developed eight municipal projects with the EBRD across every area of municipal services, including public transport, e-ticketing, solid waste, wastewater treatment and biogas production, district heating and roads rehabilitation. Throughout this collaboration, Lviv has consistently placed environmental and social innovation at the top of its agenda: it piloted the EBRD’s Green Cities Programme in Ukraine, was one of the first municipalities in the country to undertake voluntary CO2 reduction obligations under the EU Covenant of Mayors, and has developed a a number of environmental projects. The municipal projects with EBRD alone are expected to result (upon implementation) in CO2 reductions of 360 thousand tons per annum, which is equivalent to planting 5.9 million trees or taking 76,000 cars off the road. Through piloting new initiatives and projects with the EBRD, the City of Lviv has consistently achieved a significant demonstration effect both in Ukraine and the region as a whole. 

The Gold Award for Environmental & Social Innovation goes to Polcom, a Polish provider of modular construction that caters to the hospitality industry worldwide.

Polcom is notable for its cutting-edge technology and innovation, disrupting traditional construction. In addition to productivity gains, modular construction can have a massive environmental impact as buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions in the EU. An EBRD loan of PLN 108.43 million (€25 million equivalent) will fund an investment programme to expand Polcom’s production capacity, and implement process and energy efficiency improvements. Over the five-year tenure of the loan, it is estimated that the increase in module production capacity will avoid generation of 7,800 tons/yr of construction waste. It will also cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6,700tCO2eq/yr, compared to traditional construction practices. This corresponds to a 25% reduction in estimated lifecycle GHG emission from reduced transport for material delivery, the commuting of construction operatives and disposal of construction wastes, as well as reduced heat losses from building insulation defects.

The winner of the Gold Award in the Gender and Inclusion category goes to the

JSC Medical Corporation EVEX in Georgia. The EBRD has provided a senior secured local currency loan of up to US$ 4m equivalent to EVEX, which is the largest provider of healthcare services in Georgia. Proceeds will be used to finance the construction of a new laboratory facility in Tbilisi. As a local market leader, EVEX is uniquely placed to spearhead social innovations in the healthcare sector to promote gender and economic inclusion. It is advancing nurses’ education and improving economic opportunities at the entry level for the benefit of young labour market entrants.  In particular, EVEX is focused on the development of textbooks for nurses, improving learning outcomes and strengthening entry-level skills for young people;  outreach to male nurses, addressing equal opportunities in a ‘pink-collar’ occupation to broaden the labour supply; and policy dialogue on skills standards, reducing skills mismatches to ensure that young trainee nurses and midwives gain the best possible start in their careers and for their future livelihoods.

The following clients won Silver and Bronze prizes:

The Silver Winners

Sustainable Energy: Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (Egypt)

Climate Resilience: Government of North Macedonia and City of Skopje (North Macedonia)

Environmental & Social Best Practice: Joint winners were Migros (Turkey) and Isik Organic (Turkey)

Environmental & Social Innovation: Duran Dogan (Turkey) 

Gender and Inclusion: KazMicroFinance (Kazakhstan)

The Bronze Winners

Sustainable Energy: Šabac District Heating Company (Serbia)

Climate Resilience: Motorways of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBHM) and Motorways of Republika Srpska (RSM) (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Environmental & Social Best Practice: Arkas Holding (Turkey) and Diusport (Germany)

Environmental & Social Innovation: Apa Canal Pitesti (Romania)

Gender and Inclusion: Egyptian National Railways (ENR) (Egypt)

Read more about the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners of the 2020 Sustainability Awards here.

There were 47 nominations for the 2020 Sustainability Awards, of which 35 nominations were shortlisted by an internal EBRD committee. These shortlisted clients were then assessed, using a scoring matrix devised by the Bank, by an external judging panel. The three judges for the 2020 awards were Gulbin Uzuner Bekit, CFO of Akfen Holding; Barry Cowell, Head of the Environmental Discipline, UK at the international consulting company WSP; and Elena Amirkhanova, Partner and EMEA Account Director, Sustainable Finance at Environmental Resources Management (ERM).

The EBRD promotes environmental and social sustainability through investments in projects, financial intermediaries and technical cooperation programmes.

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