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Environment & Sustainability

Respect for, and preservation of the environment forms one of the key pillars of Fransabank’s corporate social responsibility which manifests itself in a range of initiatives that left a tangible contribution to the environment’s welfare. But most importantly, we believe that we have an opportunity to affect the climate agenda by the investments we make and the credits we grant.


Investing Responsibly

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), there has never been a better time for banks that finance energy related technologies to make profitable investments in sustainable development. In the same perspective, Fransabank believes that access to energy is central to human well-being and a key factor in poverty reduction. This shared recognition, forged the way for the introduction of sustainable energy finance into Fransabank SME, corporate, and leasing activities as the essence of our “Go Green Strategy”, as it allows the Bank to expand its market share through new business lines, target new market segments, improve the risk profile of its portfolio, and enhance its social and environmental impacts. 

Consequently, Fransabank concluded with the IFC in November 2013 a Services Agreement by virtue of which they provided the Bank Advisory Services to implement the needed know-how, and structure, coupled with lines of credit for Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF). These lines aim to promote the financing of sustainable energy in Lebanon, thus allowing businesses to adopt clean energy and energy efficient technology, save money, and combat climate change. Furthermore, the Government of Canada’s instrumental contribution to the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program has helped make this financing package viable. In total, Canada has provided USD 276.6 million to the program to support climate change investments that generate environmental and economic benefits in developing countries. 

In 2015, Fransabank partnered with the Lebanese oil private sector, in particular the IPT Gas Stations, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the implementation of IPT Energy and Environmental Management Strategy (EEMS) which aims to transform IPT Stations into green and sustainable ones. The importance of this initiative comes at a critical time. While Lebanon is facing a tremendous social crisis and hard times finding a viable solution to an incessant garbage crisis.

In 2016, Fransabank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lebanese American University (LAU) crowning the partnership between LAU and Fransabank to cooperate with the objective to fight climate change and, create global awareness. Fransabank will be financing LAU energy related projects. This partnership falls in line with LAU objectives to transform into a green and sustainable institution for a greener Lebanon. It was followed by an MoU signature with The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture of Tripoli and North Lebanon and Phoenix Energy to build a solar power station in Tripoli which aims to provide the city with extra power of 5 megawatts.

Additionally, Fransabank targeted the educational sector signing a Memorandum of Understanding with E-Eco Solutions for the Green Schools Certification Program to support schools in their “greening” process. As a strategic financial partner, the Bank would provide school with credit facilities to help them turn into environmentally conscious institutions. ​

In addition, Chairman Kassar, as a believer in the impact of a business energy on social progress, supported the Businessworthy Pledge by submitting his thought piece as a commitment to ethical and responsible values. Sharing the commitment is a mean of endorsing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, agreed on by world leaders in 2015 and the values we all want by 2030. He was then asked to provide a brief on Fransabank’s CSR initiatives explaining how they fall within the scope of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Bank’s Sustainable Energy Finance strategy received the highest recognition and as such, Fransabank, Chairman, was selected to represent Goal 13 Climate Action.

Fransabank has been also attending the annual Conference of Parties - the COP21 in Paris and the COP22 in Marrakech, for the past two years. General Manager, Mr. Nadim Kassar has been representing the Bank and discussing Fransabank’s “Go Green” strategy, sharing the Bank’s experience in launching, managing, and financing energy projects. In addition, a focus on climate change perspectives in Lebanon and on Fransabank’s commitment towards the environment through its CSR achievements and targets was presented during the conference.
On the local scene,  Mr. Adnan Kassar was granted the “Energy Ambassador of the Year 2016” as an acknowledgement to the efforts exerted by Fransabank to finance energy projects and create general awareness in Lebanon during the 7th edition of the International Beirut Energy Forum 2016. While, an Appreciation Award in the Sustainable Champions Category was granted to Fransabank during the Energy Awareness Awards held during the same event.
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Protecting the Environment - Eco-Friendly Loans

Protecting the Environment - Eco-Friendly Loans
Due to rising energy costs, the recent technological advances, and a growing awareness and concern for our environment, Fransabank launched its new series of environmental friendly loans to meet the needs of both consumers and businesses alike. Whether the customer wishes to benefit from energy power efficiency at home or at business premises to develop environmentally friendly projects, Fransabank’s revolutionary energy loans are the perfect solution to save on expenses resulting from daily consumption of energy such as electricity, water and others. Fransabank aims at maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment and equally giving consumers the chance to save on primary household and operating expenses.

Accordingly, the Bank signed with the Union of the Municipalities of Jezzine – South of Lebanon, the Energy and Water Ministry, and the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation an MoU through which the Bank launched an Eco-Friendly loan for the citizens in the areas aiming at the reduction of household expenses, and energy consumption. The eco-friendly loan is used to better insulate the walls and roof and to install double glazing windows and water heater for around 100 houses in the region. This loan is characterized by the very low interest rates coupled with one year grace period.

It was coupled with the signature of a similar MoU with the Union of Municipalities of Qalaat Al Istiklal (قلعة الاستقلال) – West Bekaa, Lebanon. The loan is granted in order to support citizens of the area to enhance the beauty of their houses while reaching a model of environmentally friendly living lifestyle. This initiative supports the sustainable energy and residential projects for citizens of all Lebanese regions. 

Additionally, Fransabank targeted the educational sector signing a Memorandum of Understanding with E-Eco Solutions for the Green Schools Certification Program to support schools in their “greening” process. As a strategic financial partner, the Bank would provide school with credit facilities to help them turn into environmentally conscious institutions. ​​

In addition, Fransabank re-launched its Eco-Business Loan through a new advertisement campaign that highlighted statistics on how much can be saved in cost for different sectors while adopting efficient sustainable solutions. This cost effective access to energy efficient technology and equipment helps companies generate a higher level of productivity on the long-term, as such:
  • A Bakery saves 25% in energy when investing in energy efficient technology
  • A Restaurant saves 25% in energy when investing in energy efficient technology
  • A Printing Press saves 45% in energy costs by investing in energy efficiency & renewable energy technologies
  • A Steel Factory saves 50% of its energy demand by investing in energy efficiency and solar power technologie.
The statistics were retrieved from a study conducted by the International Finance Corporation.​

Fransabank participated as well in the renovation of Bkassine Public Garden, hosting one of the most beautiful pine forests and largest natural reserves in the Middle East. Similar public gardens are hosted next to Fransabank large network of branches where the Bank coordinates with the relevant municipalities on the “green” needs of their areas. Such endeavors are executed in various areas like Marjeyoun and Zahleh, amongst others.
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When Culture, History and Ecology Come Together

The caza of Aley - Bsous particularly – in Mount Lebanon, witnessed the golden age of silk production in Lebanon was the main activity for a large section of the population. Being proud of our heritage and as an effort to keep up Lebanon’s ecological and cultural legacy, Fransabank was a major sponsor of The Silk Museum in Bsous which was open to the public from May till November 2015. The aim of this initiative was to attract people to one of the most beautiful olive groves and gardens in Lebanon while presenting a gentle reminder of the interaction between humans, insects and plants and the rewards that this brought to Lebanon for hundreds of years. 

Engaging Employees

To achieve continual progress in sustainability, environmental concerns should not only be implanted into our operations but also in our corporate culture.

Recycle Today for Better Tomorrows

In collaboration with arcenciel, Fransabank launched the Bouchons Roulants initiative in 2014, with the objective, to educate Fransabank’s employees on the importance of sorting and recycling to preserve the environment, and provide the bestowment of wheelchairs to a person with special needs.

The plastics collected were sold to a recycling company in order to provide a wheelchair to a person with special needs; as, every one ton of recyclable plastic bottle caps collected and sold endows arcenciel with a wheelchair. 

Since 2014, Fransabank spurred hundreds of employees at its Beirut headquarters and Hamra main branch to collect the plastic bottles and caps, not just from their workplace, but also from their homes.  With over 5.9 tons collected and sent for recycling, this initiative resulted in the acquisition of 3 wheelchairs over the past three years. Moreover, Fransabank’s management matched the number of wheelchairs donated through an equal contribution to employees’ efforts. A total of 6 wheelchairs were donated to people with special needs.​
 
The Bank also decided to target its customers. Following the garbage crisis that Lebanon went through in 2016, and through our commitment to a greener environment, Fransabank reacted to the crisis by introducing an awareness campaign inciting its clients to embrace recycling habits. 

As a result, an awareness initiative “Start Recycling Today” was launched at selected branches in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the areas that were the most affected by the garbage crisis.

Accordingly, each branch received two color-coded bins, whereby clients could throw in the blue lid bin: papers, plastic bottles and cans, and a in the black lid bin all non-recyclable waste.

The initiative was intended to alert our clients on the necessity of adopting waste management practices in their daily life, and better inform the public on how and what to recycle.
 
 

Keeping it Green

Keeping it Green

When a fundraising campaign "Always Green" was launched in October 2008, Fransabank was quick to respond with USD 1 million donation to the cause. Launched by that time by Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, the “Always Green” campaign sought to raise money to purchase planes, vehicles and equipment that would enable Civil Defense firefighters to respond to firefighting emergencies in a more efficient manner. “Fransabank is absolutely committed to protecting Lebanon’s natural resources,” said Fransabank Group Chairman Adnan Kassar. “Our donation to the Always Green campaign is just one element of a host of initiatives designed to preserve our country’s natural wealth for generations to come.”​​


Protecting the City’s Heart

Protecting the City’s Heart
The effects of war on the environment are perhaps best illustrated by the fate of Beirut’s largest public park, Horsh Beirut (also known as La Foret des Pins), which was almost completely destroyed during Lebanon’s 17 year civil war. Thanks to a generous donation from the French government, the reconstruction of the park and replanting of pine and other native trees was able to take place in the late 1990s. Fransabank contributed to this important initiative through a donation to cover the cost of building a two-meter high iron fence and gates to protect the newly planted trees and flowers. Thanks to the combined efforts of all involved, one of the city’s most important, large green spaces has been able to flourish once again.
 
Such initiatives not only cover the capital Beirut but extend to other cities and villages. Lately, Fransabank participated in the renovation of Bkassine Public Garden located in South Lebanon, hosting one of the most beautiful pine forests and largest natural reserves in the Middle East. Similar public gardens are hosted next to Fransabank large network of branches where the Bank coordinates with the relevant municipalities on the “green” needs of their areas. Such endeavours are executed in various areas like Marjeyoun and Zahleh, amongst others.

Growing Hope

Growing Hope
Since 2008, Fransabank has been a proud supporter of non-governmental organization Jouzour Loubnan and its mission to help restore Lebanese woodland and promote sustainable forestation in arid regions. Pistachio, olive, oak, cedar, and pine are among the trees native to Lebanon which are being given a new lease of life through Jouzour Loubnan’s planting activities. In 2010, Fransabank employees and their families planted more than 1,000 “Cedrus Libnani” effectively contributing to the reforestation of Kfardebian forests in collaboration with Jouzour Loubnan. This strongly aligns with the Bank's belief that preserving the environment and keeping Lebanon green should start from within.

A New Cedars Forest in Bsharri – North of Lebanon

Fransabank decided to be part of a new environmental project in the region of Bsharri, North Lebanon. The project was launched by the National Commission for Lebanese Women and the Friends of the Cedars Forest Commission in Bsharri through a cooperation protocol to create a new cedar forest entailing planting 1,000 cedar trees in a 30,000 square meter area in Bsharri. The trees that were planted through the Bank’s donations will carry the name of Fransabank. The sponsorship is binding for 9 years, until the tree becomes self-sustaining.​

Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve

Having faith in local communities’ involvement to achieve sustainable development, and with the aim to conserve the biodiversity and preserve the cultural heritage of Jabal Moussa Mountain and its villages, Fransabank Group supports the Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa.
In addition, Fransabank Amicale Club designed and executed an adventurous trip to the Reserve whereby Fransabank employees explored closely dominant features of the biosphere reserve which is divided into a core area mainly dedicated to experts’ visits and research, a buffer zone where ecotourism activities take place, and a transition zone that involves human use of the land.
Jabal Moussa, an outstanding Biosphere Reserve located in Keserwan-Jbeil area in Lebanon, was designated in 2009 as the 3rd biosphere reserve in Lebanon as part of the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves under Man & Biosphere (MAB) program. The Reserve reflects a true mosaic of ecological systems with its predominant land uses including: forest management, charcoal production, traditional agricultural activities, fruit trees plantation, grazing, and seasonal recreation.

Ashrafieh 2020’s Discover Ashrafieh – Marches on Wider and Cleaner Sidewalks

Ashrafieh 2020’s Discover Ashrafieh – Marches on Wider and Cleaner Sidewalks
Fransabank supported Ashrafieh 2020 to bring to life a livable, breathable, welcoming and friendly neighborhood. The key objective of this event was to initiate awareness within Ashrafieh's community by banning cars for an entire day, and to transform this noisy and crowded residential area into a better, greener and more environmentally friendly ambiance. ​​









Reducing Our Ecological Footprint

A comprehensive green audit on Fransabank Headquarters was conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to evaluate the building energy efficiency and come up with applicable solutions to be implemented in a multi-phase schedule. A brief update on the audit recommendations and implementations:

Lighting load was the largest electrical energy consumption with more than 31% of the total cost
• The Bank has been gradually replacing conventional lighting with LED lighting
• As for the branches, Led lighting and VRV systems are being employed in all new major renovations (around 25% of branches have already been refurbished)
• All decorative lightning were removed from the management offices​

Replacing old air conditioning chiller system with the VRV air conditioning system 
• The project was completed; old air conditioning system has been replaced by the VRV air conditioning system, thus reducing the Bank’s energy consumption in the HVAC area by 30% to 40% coupled with a drop in water consumption​​

Implementing a full energy management program with clear targets
• The monitoring and targeting program has been completed for the VRV system

Increasing demand control: lighting, A/C, escalators, and ventilation
• Lighting control was finished for the new Data Center area
• Night consumption control was completed for parking lighting and ventilation

Retrofitting parking ventilation (work in progress)

Implementing renewable energy solutions (PV on roof and facade) (project under study)​

#LebanonClimateAct

Supporting national efforts to fight climate change, Fransabank joined the Lebanon Climate Act. This pledge again demonstrates our ongoing engagement to climate action, and assurance to reduce our environmental and carbon footprint, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and build more sustainable businesses and communities.
 
Consequently, Fransabank has been recognized with a token of appreciation for its active engagement in supporting Lebanon’s overall reduction of carbon emissions and pollution, during the Lebanon Climate Act Business Knowledge Platform session that was held in July 2017.
 
 
 

Green Business Pledge

Being one of the first signatories to the Green Business Pledge launched by Info Pro, (an information provider in Lebanon that owns several publications, platforms, products and services related among others to media and marketing fields);  Fransabank was rewarded with a certificate of appreciation during the “Business Opportunities in Lebanon’ Conference: “Cutting-edge” Economy. The conference witnessed the creation of the ‘Lebanon Opportunities Green Business Club’ providing a forum in which all the signatories can exchange information and learn about sustainability practices, and whereby Fransabank shared its expertise in sustainable energy finance.



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