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Promerica Costa Rica – a mid-size commercial bank and GCPF Partner since 2015 – has won the 2021/2022 Global Climate Partnership Award for their role in boosting the adoption of electric vehicles in the market through financing. Mr. Federico Chavarria, Deputy Business Manager received the award at a ceremony attended by the 2022 Academy participants in Zürich.

The bank’s head of sustainable business, Gustavo Calderón, spoke about the local context, their commitment – and why the award is an encouragement to continue promoting clean technology.

The power of a supportive environment

Gustavo Calderón,
Head of Sustainable Business

Costa Rica is really committed to decarbonizing the economy. The government has been working on a program associated with ten different pillars of work, one being electric vehicles and electric mobility. That’s why we decided to start a program to actually help the government, our clients and the bank achieve that goal. And when the regulation is right next to you, it’s easier to succeed.

Costa Rica is really well-known for caring about the environment. The reason we have tourism from so many countries is because people want to get in touch with nature. Almost 90% of the electricity we generate comes from renewables, especially hydropower and windmills, so that really makes a statement about what Costa Rica is all about.

Banco Promerica’s Savings Calculator

Leading by example

At the bank, we’re very passionate about sustainability. It resonates throughout the company, – from the sustainability manager to the CEO and owners. When so many people are involved, encouraging you and your clients to do something that is good business, I’m pretty sure you’re going to make a change. With our ‘Join the change’ campaign, we want all our clients to join us on this adventure.

Sometimes, you need to convince people of the technology by going there with the company owners to explain that this is real, it really works and it’s profitable – you’re going to make money from it. So, we’re promoting savings instead of just promoting loans, which for people is more understandable.

Also, when you promote something and do it yourself, that’s another statement you are making to the market. I think Promerica really lives sustainability from the inside. We’ve installed solar panels in our branches, we have charging stations for electric vehicles, we’re working on having LED lighting for all our buildings – and to certify those buildings through LEED and EDGE to have efficient water treatment processes.

Electric Mobility Fair, Costa Rica
Electric Mobility Fair, Costa Rica
Electric Mobility Fair, Costa Rica

Recognition and responsibility

Winning the Global Climate Partnership Award is actually a challenge. Right after you get it, you almost think your work is done – but that’s not true. You have to continue evolving, and you have to innovate. I told the GCPF that this is the beginning of something bigger.

Electric mobility is growing fast, not just in Costa Rica but around the world. At home, projections for the import of electric cars are good, and our goal is to finance most of them. We’re trying to create alliances with the dealers so they will come to the bank with salespeople to understand our models as well as the other green technologies we finance.

Of course, you have to work really hard. You always have other banks trying to reach out to clients with better interest rates, so you really must differentiate yourself from other banks. That’s why we chose the slogan ‘Join the change’ because we want them to work with us on committing to sustainability. We are a founding signatory of the Principles of Responsible Banking and also signed the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. Right now, we are working on how to ‘net zero’ our portfolio of loans.

We are really thankful to the GCPF for this opportunity. Their technical assistance has helped us take steps to develop a clear strategy based on our net-zero commitments. Although there are many challenges, part of this award, and perhaps part of why we won this award, is because we want to continue to help drive the green transition in Costa Rica.