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Circular economy financing: a package for success

EcoCortec’s new polymer processing plant will extend the life of its products and reduce its impact on the environment.

25/01/2023

EcoCortec is the largest manufacturer of bioplastic anti-corrosion coatings and packaging in Croatia. Its success is such that it has quickly needed to expand its manufacturing facilities to meet demand from its customers. And in areas such as the automotive industry, corrosion of transported parts can lead to expensive waste.

EcoCortec’s new 1000 sq m polymer processing plant was completed in 2022 and will be fully operational in 2023. As well as allowing EcoCortec to serve more customers with more products, the new plant will allow it to extend the life of the materials used in its bioplastic flms and bags. Putting the circular economy frrt Dijana Zrinski, EcoCortec’s General Manager, says: “We can incorporate up to 20% of recycled content into our products. We always look at the full life cycle of the product itself – at the beginning, when we decide what material we will use, and at the end, so the same product can be reused.”

In the spirit of the circular economy, the new plant is made partly from the materials of the building that formerly stood at its site. No old materials were wasted; instead they were adapted for the needs of the new facility. Financed by Intesa Sanpaolo’s circular economy fund, the plant is yet another example of sustainable lending in action. PBZ, a subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo, has supported EcoCortec since 2016 with banking services. To make sure the company qualifed for funding from the circular economy, the team had a series of discussions to learn about what the company wanted to do with the loan.

Vedrana Jelušić, a board member of PBZ, says: “When you need to engage in much more technical discussions, you become really interested in learning how the company’s new production will impact the environment. “When we learned about the new technology – which would increase the capacity of production, serving to increase product life, but at the same time reduce waste – we were very excited by the opportunity to work together with the company to design the fnancing that would suit them best.” In 2022, Intesa Sanpaolo saw a 20-fold increase in the amount loaned under ESG conditions – supporting older businesses with loans to make their practices more circular as well as helping newer, already circular businesses to fourish.

The fnancing of ESG projects goes hand-in-hand with the bank’s role as the frst strategic fnancial services partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Nurturing the green tranrition As well as to the circular economy funding pot, Intesa Sanpaolo’s 2025 business plan sees €115bn earmarked for society and the green transition. “We are now looking at a revolution,” says Giuseppe Ferraro, Head of the Corporate and SME Department at Intesa Sanpaolo’s International Subsidiary Banks Division, “This is really important considering what is going on around us in Europe and the issues we have with pollution and global warming.

"But I must say: this is just the beginning.”

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