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Alessandra Simonelli (Banque Internationale à Luxembourg) : facilitating the sustainable transition  

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According to Alessandra Simonelli, who is in charge of sustainable development, an institution like Banque Internationale à Luxembourg plays a central role in helping individuals, companies and employees make the transition to sustainability. Interview.  



What role should a bank play in sustainable development?  


Our role has two main dimensions. As a company, we have to do our part in the transition underway in terms of the three criteria E, S and G. Taking care of the environment, including managing our waste and our carbon footprint. It includes  social aspects by supporting our employees, developing their talents and diversity, interacting with local groups and society at large. And finally, we are committed to contemporary governance, with a strict and committed code of conduct. These aspects apply to most Luxembourg companies. The second dimension of our role concerns our specific role as a financial intermediary. We need to steer capital flows in the right direction, both in terms of investments and of financing. The European taxonomy clearly defines sustainable investments and we are developing products and strategies in this sense. Example : BIL’s four ESG funds labelled by Luxflag.   


"We need to steer capital flows in the right direction, both in terms of investments and financing.” 


How are your clients' needs changing?  


We are witnessing a steady transition on both the investment and financing sides. Our clients want to  have an impact with their investment. They want to generate a benefit for both themselves and the planet, sometimes by avoiding harmful investments, other times by supporting important causes such as diversity or access to water. Most of them are changing their behaviour in their daily lives, which I believe explains the gradual but irreversible nature of the current dynamic. Our bank supports them in terms of investments, but also in financing solar panels, eco-friendly renovations and the installation of modern heating systems including heat pumps. And you find the same dynamic on the corporate side where companies are investing to become more sustainable, sometimes in a radical way, for example in the case of car manufacturers who want to switch from diesel to electric. For all these reasons, we act as a facilitator of our clients' sustainable transition. 


What is the impact of this transition on your company's activities?  


In my view, all employees are making this transition on a collective journey. We are integrating ESG into all the processes of the bank. Examples range  from real estate to car leasing, where we have introduced a cap of the CO2 rate, to the development of new products, to our purchasing process where we are becoming more and more demanding. The idea is to integrate ESG considerations into most of our processes. For example, in the future, the diversity could become a decisive factor in our choice of a consultant. Diversity is perceived as a subject that directly affects our performance. It is our CFO who leads the initiative regarding diversity. We are building a real ESG culture, which all our employees must not only adopt but above all shape by proposing ideas to move forward relentlessly and bring us closer to our common destination.  

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