Bancolombia, which is Colombia’s largest commercial bank, provides a construction financing rate of up to 1 percent less than market rates for projects certified with EDGE or other leading certification systems. The more measurably green the project is, the better the rate that is given to developers. At the same time, Bancolombia offers green mortgages to qualifying home buyers who purchase EDGE-certified properties at a discounted rate of 65 basis points for the first seven years of the loan. To do this, the bank uses its own resources alongside the proceeds of a pair of green bonds.
Qualifying projects must receive a preliminary design certificate from a rating system such as EDGE, with certification services provided by CAMACOL. Dozens of projects have been brought forward by developers eager to secure the discounted rate from Bancolombia. Davivienda, another leading bank in Colombia that has issued a green bond, now offers discounted financing as well, in addition to paying for a portion of EDGE certification fees. The insurance company, SURA, also offers a partial refund on construction and compliance insurance for EDGE-certified projects.
“Our financial services are linked to a positive transformation of society,” says Franco Piza, the Corporate Director of Sustainability for Bancolombia, which recently won the title of “the most sustainable bank in the world” by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. “It’s our responsibility to offer products and services to reach new markets, lower risk and improve rates. The first order of business is profits for our clients through better assets, the second is protecting the environment.”