“Green loan to Mowi can become a gamechanger in the market and engage others”

Stian Olsen

Director of Seafood at DNB, Anne Hvidstendal believes sustainability influents every step the bank takes in their day to day operations- also when they decide which companies to give loans.

A week ago, Mowi received a green bond loan for EUR 200 mio. In a stock exchange statement Mowi wrote that the loan will help fund green projects defined by Mowis framework for green bonds.

DNB Markets where one of the facilitators for the bond loan, which marked the first green loan ever issued by a seafood company.

Anne Hvistendahl, Director of Seafood in DNB believes more farmers will follow:

“Green loan to Mowi can become a gamechanger in the market and engage others. Sustainability is on the agenda for all these seafood companies right now, and I believe green bonds can be a great tool,” she says to SalmonBusiness.

Read also: “Mowi landed EUR 200 mio. green bond” 

The savings are tremendous
DNB is the biggest seafood bank in the world and has an exposure to the industry of EUR 5,4 billion. The bank is also the leading investment bank in seafood. Hvistendahl says to SalmonBusiness that DNB divides green investment into two.

“The one is green bonds, that for some are very well developed, but who have not engaged in seafood before. But there are also green loans, which we have in several sectors of the bank. This means some of our loans are going to good causes if they are green investments. We especially mark these loans as green and obtain loans we label as green in the portfolio. This means that over time it may become better and cheaper financing as a bank,”

Hvistendahl goes on to says that green bonds can be divided into two things.

“One is if the company is green by itself and meets all criteria. There are also companies, which are not green at all, but who are making investments to improve their company’s image. Such funding push forward real savings for the environment. The real savings will be huge,” Hvistendahl believes.

Baby steps
Hvistendahl says there is a huge pressure from the financial industry and from the bank’s investors to move the world in a greener direction.

“But we have to engage, where it’s right to do it. To classify financing as green is not easy. It’s not so a troublefree move, so we move cautiously,” says Hvistendahl.

When asked how DNB is “moving cautiously”, she refers to the process of green financing and the criteria that determine whether the client will receive a loan.

“We have teamed up with the internationally renowned sustainability agency Sustainalytics and developed our own DNB framework for green financing. This looks at what criteria we have set for customers to receive a green loan. For example, there may be different certifications to classify a loan as a green loan. We have also entered a collaboration with DNV GL to follow up. When we make new financing, it has to be in line with our standards for a green loan. Afterward we receive an expectancy from an external third party, and finally it becomes a green loan,” explains Hvistendahl.

Sustainability in everything
At the beginning of January, DNB Chief Executive Kjerstin Braathen told VG that DNB gives lower interest rates to companies with lower emissions. Hvistendahl likes this idea.

“We may make loans where we look upon emissions as an extra incentive. If this helps to create a better world, we are happy to do so.”

Kjerstin Braathen also told VG that DNB had recently refused a large Norwegian listed company refinancing because they were unwilling to include sustainability with potential sanctions from the banks associated with this in the loan agreement. Hvistendahl also points this out when she explains why loans to seafood companies are refused.

“It means a lot if the company is sustainable, and also influences the financial part. It’s a stamp of “license to operate”. I think sustainability permeates everything we do, that is, all business decisions and all credit decisions. In our credit cases we have a great deal that goes on sustainability. Over time, we will be distributing less capital to companies that pollute, and more to those who do not,” Hvistendahl concludes.

Read also: Largest seafood bank will not finance land based salmon farms in china