Anders Langworth, Nordea’s Head of Group Sustainability, gave the intro speech, outlining how he has seen the corporate world moving from being a silent observer at the COP22 in Morocco to taking an active and determining role in creating plans and setting goals at this year’s COP in Glasgow.
He then handed over the discussion to the panel consisting of Nina Arkilahti, Nordea’s Head of Business Banking, Hanna Kaskela, Director of Responsible Investment at the insurance company Varma, Arjen Berends, CFO and Executive Vice President at Wärtsilä, a producer of green technology solutions for the marine and energy markets, and Petri Vuorio, Director of Entrepreneurship, Industrial Policy and EU Affairs at the Confederation of Finnish Industries.
Green lending on the rise
Nina Arkilahti explained how green lending has become more and more important for small and medium-sized businesses:
“The companies face pressure and demands from their investors, their owners and their customers to be sustainable and make the transition – and it’s of course our business to support them in that journey. It’s also risk management for us, as we need to make sure that within the next ten years or so we will have a portfolio of and are financing the customers that have been willing and able to make the transition as well as financing solutions in place for them.”
She also explained how Nordea has recently introduced green corporate loans at reduced rates for small and medium-sized companies in Finland and Sweden through collaboration with the European Investment Fund to further stimulate their transition, but also highlighted how complex it is for many small and medium-sized companies to integrate sustainability regulations and principles into their businesses.
“A key challenge for our customers, especially for small and medium-sized companies, is not only to find the right data to report, but also how to make the transition happen. That’s why Nordea will focus strongly on sharing our expertise and supporting them.”