Sustainability is a big part of what we do – and we help our clients make it a big part of what they do too.
The annual EBRD Sustainability Awards celebrate the achievements of our clients in promoting environmental and social responsibility. For over 10 years we have been proud to recognise those who demonstrate excellence and commitment to managing environmental and social issues, promoting energy efficiency, combating climate change and advancing inclusion.
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 economic inclusion.
The judging process
Nominations are received from teams across the Bank and are judged by an independent panel against a number of criteria, including:
Standards and best practice: Has the client implemented higher standards, introduced best practice, or gone beyond the Bank’s Performance Requirements to deliver energy savings or similar?
Innovation: Has the client introduced new or unique practices, products, or services with significant E&S benefits within the sector/region/country?
Demonstration effect: Has the client introduced technologies, practices or management techniques with significant demonstration effect and with the potential for replication?
Capacity building: Has the client made changes or improvements to the management culture or working practices which promote better understanding and management of key environmental and social issues?
After receiving 47 nominations, a total of 16 clients from 11 countries were selected for gold, silver and bronze awards.
Environmental and Social Practice
Environmental and Social Innovation
Gender and economic Inclusion
Joint winners of this year’s Gold Award 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 per cent 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.
The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) wins the Silver Award in the Sustainable Energy category for its commitment to innovation, as well as pioneering steps to promote equal opportunities and “green skills” for women in the country’s growing renewable energy sector.
EETC is sole buyer of all electricity generated in Egypt. In 2019, the EBRD provided the company with a sovereign loan of up to €185 million to improve Egypt’s electricity transmission network and develop a robust electricity grid across the country. The EBRD funds will help EETC facilitate the integration of 1.3 GW of new renewable energy into the Egyptian electricity system by connecting new renewable energy plants, with the help of nine new or refurbished high-voltage substations in the Minya, South Sinai, Sharqia, Port Said, and Asyut governorates. In addition, the investment will help in reducing electricity losses, thus saving 77,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. EETC is also promoting economic opportunities for women in the renewable energy sector, through ambitious technical cooperation activities. Gender gaps are wide in Egypt, but the client is committed to creating a systemic impact and elevating social best practices.
The Šabac District Heating Company in Serbia has won the Bronze Award for its affordable and replicable scheme to promote the energy efficiency renovation of residential buildings connected to a district-heating network.
In 2019, the EBRD provided a €2.5 million loan for an upgrade of multi-storey residential buildings in the city of Šabac in order to lower energy consumption, reduce costs and lower CO2 levels. The Šabac District Heating Company - the public utility company owned by the city - has contracts in place with homeowners and thus can act as an “aggregator” for investments in the residential sector. Based on a tenants’ survey conducted by housing associations, forty buildings have been selected for refurbishment with priority given to buildings with higher consumption and larger heating areas. Refurbishment includes thermo-insulation, as well as the installation of modern devices that can regulate heat and calculate consumption and heating costs. These energy efficiency measures are set to result in an estimated average annual savings of 33 per cent, corresponding to around 4,200 MWh per annum. This will also produce significant environmental benefits through a carbon emission reduction of 1,572 tCO2e per annum.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) in Serbia has taken home the Gold Award for its work to advance the reform of the irrigation sector in the country.
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.
Winner of the Silver Award is the Government of North Macedonia and the City of Skopje for introducing state-of-the-art wastewater treatment services for the majority of residents of the capital city of Skopje, reducing environmental pollution, and improving ecosystems and the livelihoods of people.
Wastewater treatment was identified as one of the most urgent tasks under the Green Cities Action Plan developed by the city’s authorities and the EBRD. An €58 million loan from the EBRD (complemented by a €68 million loan from EIB and a €10 million investment grant provided by the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative) will finance the first large-scale wastewater treatment plan for Skopje. The project will build climate resilience into the design of the wastewater treatment system in order to cope with the more frequent and severe flooding events that are anticipated in future decades to come, and so avoid the severe social-economic risks associated with flooding, especially when contaminated with sewage.
The Bronze Award goes to Motorways of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBHM) and Motorways of Republika Srpska (RSM), who are developing a robust road network by integrating a range of climate resilience measures.
An EBRD loan of up to €210 million is financing the construction of a new 14-kilometre section section of the Corridor Vc Motorway project, which will further enhance Bosnia and Herzegovina’s economic integration with the Western Balkans.
Extreme weather events such as flooding and landslides are increasingly frequent and so Motorways of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBHM) and Motorways of Republika Srpska (RSM) are committed to ensuring that climate change resilience recommendations are incorporated at every stage of the project, including in the tender documents for design and construction. Strengthening motorway assets this way will improve the reliability of the transport infrastructure and reduce the costs of disruption from weather-related road closures.
This is the first time that the two national motorway operators have come together under one project to ensure that the same high-quality standards and requirements are aligned throughout the whole project cycle, which paves the way for future joint initiatives.
Environmental and Social Practice
Winner of the Gold Award is the City of Lviv in Ukraine for its strong and demonstrable commitment to environmental and social 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 road 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 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.
Joint Silver Award
The Silver Award is shared by two Turkish companies: Migros and Isik Organic.
Migros, Turkey’s leading supermarket operator, ensures that sustainabity is an integral part of its culture and corporate activity.
The company has been rolling out green investments across its network, with CO2 emissions and water consumption in 2019 already below the levels anticipated by the EBRD. For example, water drawn from municipal water mains declined to 884,790 m3 from 981,450m3, while CO2 emissions declined to 531,428t from 747,995t. That year, Migros also continued to implement training to its employees across the regions in Turkey, via its Retail Academy and demonstrated its belief in youth inclusion by providing training to 2,500 young people.
Migros has a senior-level Sustainability Committee responsible for improving the integration of sustainability measures throughout the organisation, as well as monitoring and enhancing EHSS performance. The results achieved are an integral part of the overall corporate performance evaluation system. In addition, the company has obtained multiple EHSS and quality certifications, including ISO14001, OHSAS18001, ISO22000, ISO14064-3 (validation and verification of GHG assertions), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and Organic Agricultural Operator, among others.
Isik Organic, one of the largest exporters of organic and natural dried fruits and nuts from Turkey, integrates sustainability into its core business processes and supply chain and disseminates organic farming expertise within the country.
A €16 million loan from the EBRD will help Isik Organic build a new plant, increase the capacity of its existing operations and reduce waste. Isik Organic will promote sustainable land management expertise and significantly contribute to biodiversity by switching more than 660 hectares of land to organic farming practices. Its organic farming techniques prevent the use of chemical fertilizers and other chemicals from polluting and eroding soil, water resources and causing pollution. The EBRD’s involvement facilitates capacity building to develop the technical know-how of farmers, training them to apply advanced farming techniques to grow and harvest organic crops and to ensure the consistency of quality and quantity of the agricultural yield.
The Bronze Award goes to Arkas Holding (Turkey) and Diusport (Germany) for the development of Railport – the first privately-run inland terminal to provide intermodal cargo services in Turkey. This innovative new logistics hub represents an efficient and environmentally-friendly way to transport cargo and is set to boost Turkey’s domestic and international trade.
It will be partly financed with loans of US$ 30 million from the EBRD and ICBC Turkey. The terminal will result in a shift of commodity flows away from fossil-fuel based freight truck transport and towards low-carbon railway transport. Some key environmental and safety related benefits of the project include: an estimated sizeable GHG reduction compared to no-project case between 2018-2050 being 300,628 tons (or 9,395 tons of CO2 abatement on an annual basis), through moving freight by rail compared to road; reduced use of natural resources (diesel) through switching freight from road to rail; reduced congestion on public highways which will also increase efficiencies in supply chains; and reduced risk related to road traffic collisions through the development and implementation of a Traffic Management Plan.
Environmental and Social Innovation
The Gold Award goes to Polcom, a Polish provider of modular construction that uses cutting-edge technology and innovation to disrupt traditional construction.
Polcom supplies the hospitality industry worldwide with modular prefabricated elements, which are manufactured away from a building site and later installed on site. Modular construction has productivity gains and 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 per cent 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.
Duran Dogan, a Turkish manufacturer of premium packaging, wins the Silver Award for its innovative system which produces fully recyclable cardboard and plastic products that minimise waste and contribute to the circular economy.
With the support of an EBRD senior secured loan of up to €2.4m, Duran Dogan has successfully changed its production process by adopting the Gloss & Green technology for metallic card. Traditional metallic card packaging contains a plastic film overlay, but this is not recyclable and has a negative environmental impact. But Gloss & Green technology ensures that the card not only looks identical to the conventional premium packaging in terms of quality as well as visuals (brilliance and glossy effect), but also that the polyester film can be removed and recycled.
On Duran Dogan’s production site in Istanbul, machinery recycles and reuses the plastic waste generated by the Gloss & Green process. After transfer, the peel-off transparent films are melted down and transformed into pellets, then resold as raw material. The machine, operational in January 2020, will enable some 1,000 tonnes of plastic to be processed per year.
The Bronze Award goes to Apa Canal Pitesti, a regional operator of water and wastewater utilities. The company is recognised for its achievements in upgrading infrastructure, reducing water losses and adapting digital solutions for operational improvements.
An EBRD loan of €12.5 million to Apa Canal Pitesti will allow more than 200,000 residents of Arges county to have access to more reliable water and wastewater services. The investment programme aims to upgrade and expand water supply and wastewater treatment services, with a focus on small communities of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants. More than 2,000 residents will get access to a water supply network for the first time. The water company also aims to cut its annual water losses by 5.2 million m3 and to treat an additional 1.0 million m3 of wastewater per year. In addition, the loan will help develop an asset management system, including a software application to increase Apa Canal’s operational efficiency.
Apa Canal Pitesti has successfully trailed the Satellite Leak Detection approach and is seeking to mainstream it. From the 83 potential ’points of interest’ that indicated significant, suspected water loss, the leakage crews revealed and fixed 48 damages from that investigation. The company has made substantive efforts to pursue leakage reduction and has embraced novel and more efficient digital solutions to develop and mainstream these asset practices.
Gender and economic Inclusion
The winner of the Gold Award in the Gender and Inclusion category goes to the JSC Medical Corporation EVEX in Georgia. The company is recognised for spearheading social innovations in the healthcare sector to promote gender and economic inclusion.
The EBRD has provided a senior secured local currency loan of up to US$ 4 million 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 play a key role in promoting 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 Silver Award winner is KazMicroFinance for their sustained efforts to improve access to finance for women-led enterprises in Kazahstan.
An EBRD loan of US$ 5 million equivalent in local currency (tenge) was provided to KazMicroFinance for onlending to eligible women-led micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), within the context of the Kazakhstan Women in Business (WiB) Programe.
KazMicroFinance (KMF) - the largest private microfinance organisation in Kazakhstan with over 210,000 active clients and over 100 offices - has been making wide-ranging efforts to support women entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan for more than 20 years.
To date, KMF has disbursed over 20,000 micro-loans to women-led MSMEs, amounting to KZT 11.8 billion (approx. US$ 30.7 million), exceeding the EBRD funding of KZT 7.5 billion (approx. USD 19.7 million) by 57 per cent.
The number of sub-loans disbursed by KMF accounts for 95 per cent of the overall sub-loans disbursed within the Kazakhstan WiB Programme. Some 89.3 per cent of these sub-loans have been disbursed outside major cities (Nur-Sultan and Almaty), demonstrating KMF’s commitment to serving rural and underdeveloped regions. Furthermore, some 16.3 per cent of WiB sub-loans (in number) and 11.4 per cent (in terms of amount) have been disbursed to first-time borrowers who did not have access to credit before KMF’s holistic value proposition for women-in-business was created.
Besides adjusting the product features and service model (including reduced interest rate, differentiated loan terms and relaxed collateral requirements), KMF also offer comprehensive and innovative non-financial services for women entrepreneurs to tackle gender-specific challenges or barriers.
Egyptian National Railways (ENR) won the Bronze Award for its commitment to tackling sexual harrassment on its rail network. Improved safety in trains and platforms is expected to contribute to greater access of women to transport services, essential for employment, economic opportunities, education and other social benefits.
ENR has established a Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee and a Complaints Unit to deal with sexual harassment incidences and complaints, and has nominated a Gender Focal Point to drive promotion of gender initiatives. It has also developed a no-harassment policy which publicly denounces sexual harassment within its services, for both employees and customers. Several training sessions have been conducted for ENR staff on the new policy and complaints system, including ‘Train the Trainers’ sessions, in order to maintain an on-going transfer of knowledge across the organisation.
The EBRD is committed to further supporting ENR to implement an awareness raising campaign to combat sexual harassment in railway transport. It is the first public gender campaign implemented by Egyptian public transport service providers.
In 2018, ENR won the Gold Award in the Environmental & Social Best Practice category of EBRD’s Sustainability Awards in 2018.
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