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INVESTING IN THE FUTURE: BPI bankrolls ‘green’ buildings all the way, cites huge demand

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BPI bankrolls ‘green’ buildings
all the way, cites huge demand
By Monsi A. Serrano

Amidst all reservations from other developers to embrace and support “green” developments, Ayala Corporation’s Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is committing to bankroll environment-friendly and sustainable realty development.

While a lot of developers see this endeavor as impractical, a tall order, and, most of all, costly, BPI looks at the the long-term benefits for their business, the entire society, and the future of the next generation.

Not many people know that back in 2008, BPI has helped more than 300 companies, including property developers, in embarking on more environment-friendly but cost-efficient projects. This was done via BPI’s Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) Program that disbursed P52.6 billion for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate resiliency projects as of the end of 2018. And 20% of the funds were earmarked for Green Building projects.

Jo Ann B. Eala, head of sustainable energy finance and specialized lending of BPI, said: “The green building initiatives of the private sector was a product of the law environment law that needs to be complied with. But more than the fact that it is the law, it is also high time to do our share and make this a strong business consideration for different project owners who build or construct new buildings, to contribute to preserving our environment apart from the fact that if you do not comply with the law, you will not be able to get a building permit.”

Eala noted that there would be a growing number of green buildings in the Philippines and more than double in terms of the company’s portfolio. And BPI has disbursed P9.6 billion just for the green building projects alone as of end of 2018 and since the implementation of the law.

She said BPI sees further growth of the program in order to reach more businesses. “We are very hopeful in attaining our target to grow at a much faster rate than regular loans. Definitely, more than 10%. But if we can achieve the 15% per year, given the momentum of the green building we have aggressively taken-up, then I think we could go at a really much faster rate than the regular loans,” she said.

For his part, BPI Senior Vice President and Head for Corporate Credits Products Group Eric Roberto Luchangco said, “In terms sustainable energy and sustainable development, we’re looking at probably between 15 to 20% in terms of our target growth. I think it will be accelerating compared to where it was previously because we are seeing increased consciousness among borrowers… and we think that will continue to grow as time goes on.”

Challenges to face

Given the fact that not all companies are keen on embracing the green initiative taken by BPI, this does not stop them from continuing their mission to pursue this endeavour. In fact BPI will continue to educate stakeholders and businessmen on the deeper understanding of the purpose of green projects given the financial impact to those who would embark on this.

Eala revealed, “Certainly there was resistance because of the perceived cost without fully understanding the long term benefits. Just like any businessman, the bottomline is always the primordial concern. Therefore, if they are not aware of how much they are going to gain also in terms of profitability then it becomes really difficult.”

To show that they put their money where their mouth is and to set as an example, BPI’s head office in Makati City which has, 30-year old chillers were replaced and this resulted into an  annual savings of about 990 megawatt hour (MWh) and in terms of peso value it is around P12 million since 2012. Apart from that, it was able to avoid emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) at 431 total carbon dioxode (tCO2) per year.

Eala concluded, “What we hope to do, knowing that there is so much potential in the business sector, is to educate first and encourage more and more private sector participation in sustainable initiatives. This as a whole is mobilizing and boosting private sector participation in protecting the environment but making sure as it is done, it is done in a very successful, well-studied way so that the project will definitely yield the results expected… and will encourage the business sector to continue and make it a sustainable venture.”

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