30 September 2019

The First Gender Loan of the World will be Used by Polat Enerji

Polat Enerji signed a loan agreement with Garanti BBVA for a total of USD 44 million for 48 MW Soma 4 Wind Power Plant project. The loan agreement was signed for the financing of the extension of the wind farm. With the completion of Soma 4 project, the total installed capacity of Soma wind farm, which is the largest operational wind farm of Turkey, will increase to 288 MW.The loan of Soma 4 was structured as a “Gender Loan”, a first not only in Turkey but also worldwide. Within this structure, if Polat Enerji makes a certain level of improvement in its gender equality performance according to the criteria included in the annual ‘gender performance’ assessments, Garanti BBVA will apply a discount in both the interest rate of the cash loan and the commission rate of the non-cash loan.

Gender Loan structure, that is used for the first time under the loan agreement signed with Garanti BBVA for the financing of 48 MW Soma 4 Wind Power Plant project, has demonstrated the importance that Polat Enerji gives for sustainable finance initiatives to support the climate action and gender equality. The total amount of the loan is USD 44 million that includes a cash facility worth USD 21.4 million with 8 years maturity and a non-cash facility worth USD 22.6 million with a maturity of 11.5 years.

Within the scope of the product, Garanti BBVA’s sustainable finance teams will score Polat Enerji's annual performance in the field of gender equality along its entire value chain according to internationally accepted norms and practices. The score that will be assigned in the initial assessment will be considered as the baseline score. In subsequent assessments, if Polat Enerji increases its score to a certain level, a discount will be applied to both the cash loan interest rate and non-cash loan commission rate. In this way, companies that perform well in gender equality will be rewarded and those who are new in implementing gender initiatives will be incentivized to improve their performance.

Criteria include actions such as return-to-work programs for employees returning from maternity leaves, ensuring gender equality in new hires, prioritization of women-owned enterprises in the supply chain, measures to avoid gender pay gap, policies to prevent harassment and trainings to overcome unconscious negative bias against women. The score, which will be calculated according to the methodology developed by Garanti BBVA, will reveal the gender equality performance of Polat Enerji along its entire value chain. Garanti BBVA will be ready to support Polat Enerji with its own HR department in setting relevant policies and procedures if there is any need.

Polat Enerji Chief Strategy Officer Alkım Bağ stressed the weight the company places on gender issues: “We have always considered gender equality to be an important issue, as it allows us to benefit from different perspectives and talents in our human resource pool and sustain our success. There is also significant female representation in our current organizational structure. Despite being a very new method for financing for our country, we have found that the gender loan structure aligns with the current vision of our management and finance teams. We are proud to be the first company in Turkey to encourage the use of this credit structure.”

Ebru Dildar Edin, Executive Vice President of Garanti BBVA, has commented the following with regards to the launching of Turkey’s first and only gender loan “We believe that gender equality is above all a human rights issue. The importance of woman needs to be understood, both a fair society that respects human rights and for better economy. If we are able to reach the OECD average of 63 percent through strong policies that support the participation of women in the workplace, Turkey’s gross domestic product has the potential to increase by 20 percent by 2025. This would mean an increase of $200 million t0 $250 million. This figure corresponds to an increase in per capita income of approximately $2,300 to $2,900 by 2025. Women make up 45 percent to 50 percent of the educated Turkish population yet even in leading companies, the rate of female representation does not exceed 30 percent. Both the state and the private sector have very important roles to play in this regard. Thanks to gender loan, companies will be able to access financing under more favorable conditions by taking steps toward gender equality. To date, we have achieved many firsts on gender equality. We were proud to be included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index three times in a row and the first bank in Turkey committing to the UN Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs). Today, we are proud to achieve another first in this areas not only in Turkey also worldwide. We aim to pioneer our sector in the field of gender equality and to set an example for other institutions that are willing to take action in this field by reaching more women.”