In our response, we explain that in assessing whether to fund a project, we first ask whether such project will have a positive impact. Then we also look at risks and profitability. Two key references we use in that respect are our minimum standards (which state which sectors we exclude because they cause too much harm) and our business principles.
No focus on biomass
Our standards are not static, but are improved on the basis of social, scientific and technological developments. A good example is the use of biomass to generate power. Over the years, our view thereon has changed. A few years ago, we believed that some forms of biomass could be a good solution, for example, if residual wood (tree trimmings) were used and if it led to a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. But in the meantime, better alternatives have become available, such as thermal energy storage systems and surface water heat pump systems. In new financing deals, therefore, we no longer focus on biomass.
This can also be found in our minimum standards. That list explicitly states that we always exclude biomass if it competes with food production or originates from intensive agriculture. We also address biomass in our vision paper on energy and climate, published in 2019. This vision shows how we want to contribute to combatting global warming and the loss of biodiversity. We state the following about biomass: In a sustainable, circular economy that respects planetary boundaries, heavy use of biomass is hard and seems impossible without limiting food production and jeopardizing biodiversity. Focus should be on local-for-local sourcing of the biomass input. Burning of biomass for power production or application in mobility should be avoided.