2020 Annual report on the Positive Impact support notes

Societe Generale has created a range of notes, the Positive Impact support notes, to allow its clients to invest in a note whilst promoting Positive Impact Finance (PIF).

What is Positive Impact Finance?

Positive Impact Finance serves to deliver a positive contribution to one or more of the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social), once any potential negative impacts have been duly identified and mitigated.

How do Positive Impact notes support Positive Impact Finance?

When a client invests in a Positive Impact note, Societe Generale commits to hold in its books loans dedicated to Positive Impact Finance projects equivalent to 100% of the value invested in the note.

Societe Generale’s Commitments

Societe Generale is committed to monitor its Positive Impact Finance projects through the stringent Societe Generale Environmental & Social (E&S) risk management process during the life of the note.

Positive Impact Finance projects are evaluated by dedicated Societe Generale Environmental and Social experts using the Positive Impact Assessment Framework which is based on the UNEP-FI (United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative) Positive Impact Finance principles, which drived from the most stringent Environmental & Social (E&S) International Standards.

Independent Review By Vigeo Eiris

Vigeo was founded in 2002. It has established itself as the leading European expert in the assessment of companies and organisations with regard to their practices and performance on Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) issues.

Vigeo Eiris was commissioned by Societe Generale CIB to conduct an independent assessment of the sustainability credentials and contribution to sustainability of the Positive Impact Finance projects, according to Vigeo Eiris’ Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) exclusive assessment methodology.

Vigeo Eiris’ statement on the sustainability of the Positive Impact Finance projects

August 2020

Vigeo Eiris provides a reasonable* level of assurance on the sustainability credentials of the Positive Impact Finance asset portfolio currently attributed by Société Générale CIB to the Positive Impact notes.

  • As of October 2019, Societe Generale displays an overall advanced* ESG performance.
  • We provide a reasonable level of assurance* on the ESG and PIF assessment frameworks.
  • Vigeo Eiris confirms that the asset portfolio presented by Societe Generale CIB as the one currently attributed to its Positive Impact notes is:
    • Composed of Positive Impact Finance assets, which are likely to have a positive impact on at least one of the three main sustainability pillars (environment, social and economic), i.e. climate change mitigation, natural resources preservation, access to water, access to education and access to telecommunications in line with seven United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (the “UN SDGs”), and for which an appropriate management of the potential negative impacts is implemented and not on the basis that they are offset by the positive impacts.
    • Managed by Societe Generale CIB to be equivalent to the total nominal value of the Positive Impact notes.

*Vigeo Eiris’ scales of assessment:
Level of assurance: Weak, Moderate, Reasonable
Performance: Advanced, Good, Limited, Weak

Positive Impact financings supported by the PI Notes

Split by business sector

Split by positive contribution

(source: Vigeo Eiris - 2020)


DEVELOPMENT OF A WIND FARM IN EUROPE

Description of the project

Development, construction, and operation of the 10 MW Neuilly Saint Front wind farm and the 6 MW Monnes wind farm. Both are located in Aisne (02), approximately 90km northeast of Paris and 70km southwest of Reims.

ENVIRONMENTAL – Climate: This Project is expected to generate about 44.6 GWh/year electricity from wind energy, avoiding Greenhouse Gas emissions – around 36 500 tCO2e/year – that would otherwise have been emitted considering the French electricity generation mix.

Resources: This Project will generate power from wind energy and supply the national grid, reducing the need for natural resources.

ENVIRONMENTAL – Biodiversity:The Project’s area is not located within any designated or protected area. The Project’s impact on birds is anticipated to be low, considering that the identified species in the area are anticipated to adapt to the Project. Wind turbine generators are located more than 150m away from any wooded area in order to minimize the risks to bats, and this will be monitored post completion.

Landscape: The location of the wind turbine generators are chosen according to a comprehensive landscape assessment, in order to minimize the visual impacts of the Project. Residual impacts are anticipated to be low.

SOCIAL – Physical or Economic Resettlement: The Project is located on intensive agricultural lands, and no wind turbines generators will be installed less than 600m away from the nearest habitation. The owners of the lands where the wind turbines generators will be located will be compensated by an annual rent.

Quality of Health: The Project is designed in conformance with French regulations regarding noise an electromagnetic interferences and radiations impacts on the community. Only negligible impacts are anticipated.


WASTE TO ENERGY: A GREENER ENVIRONMENT FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

The waste to energy plants are not only addressing the waste treatment issue, but also generating energy. They are therefore significantly improving the environment for local communities.

Description of the project

Societe Generale is helping to finance a series of waste-to-energy plants in France and beyond with tangible benefi ts for local communities. This includes, notably, the Valtom waste treatment plant financing for Suez in 2013.


UNIVERSITY OF GRENOBLE

Description of the project

The project consists of designing, financing, constructing and routine heavy maintenance of Grenoble University’s energy pole, including amphitheaters, classrooms, an agora, a laboratory, a technological platform dedicated to energy, a multimedia library and a café-restaurant.

The project is part of the French government’s ‘Operation Campus’ scheme to renovate and expand 10 Pôles de Recherche et d’Enseignement Supérieur (PRESs), or super-campuses.

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: Construction of a new structure with a capacity of 1,450 students. The site will address the challenges of producing renewable energy as well as managing energy storage, control and efficiency.

RESOURCES: A strong emphasis is placed on integrating Energy and Water Efficiency into the design and running of the buildings. Energy consumption is largely below the French thermal regulation requirement RT2012.

All environmental issues will be managed according to the French regulation


THE “ROSACE PROJECT” A HIGH SPEED BROADBAND IN ALSACE

Host countryFrance
Industrial SectorTelecommunications
Date of signature05/04/2016
Date of final maturityApril 2041
Initial amount with Societe
Generale at date of signature
EUR 87m
Societe Generale’s
role
Sole Mandated Lead Arranger,
Documentation Bank, Hedge
Coordinator, Lender, Hedging Bank,
Facility Agent and Account Bank

Description of the project

Financing of the construction, operation and maintenance of an ultra-high speed digital network in the less densely populated areas of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin “Departements”, in former Alsace Region. The roll-out of the project will cover ca. 374 000 fiber-to-the-homes plugs in ca. 700 municipalities by 2022. The Rosace Project is part of the “Plan France Très Haut Débit”, a EUR 20bn investment plan launched by the French State in 2013 with the objective to equip 100 % of French households with an access to high-speed technology by 2022.

SOCIAL – Access to telecommunications:

The project will significantly improve the coverage of high-speed broadband in the Alsace region, with about 374 000 new connections in 700 municipalities in less densely populated areas. It will therefore help to bridge the digital gap between the largest town and cities and the remaining rural and semi-urban localities, thus contributing to social cohesion within Alsace and across France.

Creation of Employment:

The project will boost job creation in Alsace with the creation of 300 sustainable jobs and the mobilization of local SMEs. 15% of direct and indirect jobs created by the project will be reserved for an insertion plan for Alsace job-seekers.

To minimize the impact during construction, existing infrastructure will be reused for laying the cables, whenever possible. Civil works (light engineering) will represent a minor part of the work and take place along existing infrastructures like roads, water, electricity, gas or telecom networks which should mitigate the impact. All in all, the environmental impact of the Project is therefore considered minimal.


MILAN BECOMES GREENER WITH ITS PURPLE LINE

Description of the project

Development and extension of the Milan Metro Line 5 connecting the stations of San Siro and Bignami in the Western and Northern part of Milan. This is the first fully automated line of the Milanese metro.

SOCIAL – Transport communication:

The project to extend the railway network linking Bignami and San Siro covers a distance of 12.8km and has a total of 19 stations. The development has also allowed for the connection with other Metro lines and the railway network as a whole. Metro Line 5 is now able to carry up to 24,000 passengers per hour, thus optimizing transport.

ENVIRONMENTAL – Climate:

The project is expected to save more than 8,470 tons of oil per year as it will be a substitute to private transportation. A compensation plan was set up during the construction phase to develop additional green spaces.

Management of key negative impacts:

ENVIRONMENTAL – Air:

Whenever possible, the trees located on the construction area are moved and planted in alternative sites before being replanted at their original area after completion of the construction. The creation of the M5 metro line delivers Milan with a new heritage of green public spaces. The compensation plan will increase the number of trees: more precisely: 3.6 shrubs (at least twelve years of age) will take root in the city for every tree removed during the construction phase. This compensation is perfectly in line with the Kyoto Protocol and is set to triple the current levels of fine dust and carbon dioxide absorption.

The new metro line promises the concrete reduction of air and noise pollution: it is estimated that, at full capacity, the M5 line will lead to the reduction of 15 million private cars trips per year and therefore, a considerable decrease in pollutants.

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