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SACE Goes Green: Supporting A More Sustainable Growth

SACE

SACE is the Italian Export Credit Agency, specialised in supporting Italian businesses and enterprises through a wide range of tools and solutions to support their competitiveness in Italy and worldwide.

For the past two years, measures put in place by the Italian government have broadened SACE’s mission, which no longer only entails supporting exports and activities abroad, but also working at national level through the so-called Garanzia Italia and Green Guarantee.

Both tasks aim to support the recovery of the Italian economy, but in different ways.

In particular, the Green Guarantee is linked to the Green New Deal and aims at strengthening the competitiveness and revamping of the economic fabric of the country, facilitating its transition to a more sustainable economy. The aim is to promote the development of a cleaner and more circular economy in Italy and Europe.

Within this framework, SACE plays a central role as the implementing agency of the Green New Deal in Italy, through its Green Guarantees. More specifically, SACE can insure financings towards projects aimed at facilitating the transition towards an economy with a lower environmental impact, integrating production cycles with low-emission technologies for the production of sustainable goods and services, and developing a new mobility with lower polluting emissions.

The first loan supported by SACE in the Green Guarantees program, which became operative at the end of 2020, was granted to Arvedi Group, one of Europe’s main players in the steel sector, with the aim of financing their sustainable projects. Thanks to the SACE-covered loan, Arvedi was able to realize the first steel mill in the world for completely de-carbonised products, demonstrating that it is possible to produce steel with practically zero emissions, in a circular economy logic, using scraps and recovering 98% of production waste and steel mill slag.

Since then, the number of green operations has grown, as well as the number of companies involved, regardless of their size and location.

One example is Duferco Energia, a company based in Genoa that has always been committed to promote the ecological transition in the energy sector. It is an all-round active operator in the Italian energy market and one of the leading Italian players in electric mobility, with a network of over 25,000 charging points in Italy and over 200,000 in Europe. SACE’s Green Guarantee has supported Duferco Energia’sproject to install ultra-fast and standard charging stations and their connection to the distribution networks, located mainly in the central and northern regions of Italy.

The support to the Tuscan Group Lucart, one of the most important European paper producers, also falls within this scope. The goal of SACE’s intervention has been to support the Group’s growth and development plan from an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and circular economy standpoint. The financing supported by the Green Guarantee contributes to Lucart’s optimisation in the use of raw materials and reduction of waste by transforming it into new resources, in line with the principles of a circular economy. Lucart is indeed the only paper mill in the tissue sector capable of recovering all the elements of beverage cartons.

The Green Guarantees have been very successful in southern Italy as well. One of the most recent guarantees was granted to Sicily by Car, a Sicilian based company founded in 1963, national leader in the car rental sector that has set the ecological transition as its primary objective. Specifically through the financing backed by SACE’s Green Guarantee, it has been able to implement its own sustainable evolution, converting its fleet to the latest generation of green cars – hybrid or electric – with reduced consumption and emissions.

“As implementing agency of Italy’s Green New Deal, – says Daniela Cataudella, Managing Director and SACE’s Green New Deal Task Force Manager – through our Green Guarantees, we are committed to spur the sustainable growth of Italian companies, from SMEs to larger enterprises, in order to become champions of the green economy and enable Italy to play a leading role internationally. As SACE, we have supported over EUR 3 billion in green operations with the aim of facilitating the transition to a clean and circular economy. A figure that will increase significantly given the growing attention to sustainability”.

It is important to point out that even before it was entrusted with this mandate, the attention to sustainability has always been a significant part of SACE’s DNA, going beyond this kind of operations.

For about 20 years, SACE has had a specialised unit – consisting of environmental engineers – that assesses the environmental and social impacts of the operations and projects it supports.

Since 2001, SACE has been applying the OECD Recommendation“Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence”, a set of guidelines for the environmental and social assessment of export credit operations, which are also applied to other activities outside the Common Approaches, in accordance with its own internal procedures.

In addition to the path undertaken by SACE in the field of sustainability, it is also important to note the introduction in May 2021 of the Climate Change Policy – a set of measures, in line with industry best practices, to improve the contribution of business activities to the reduction of climate-altering emissions – and, in October 2021, the adoption of the Poseidon Principles – the first agreement in the world between financial institutions on climate alignment addressed to the maritime sector, under which SACE undertakes to monitor the greenhouse gas emissions of its shipping portfolio.

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