Specific financial assistance for all the agents on the sea value chain
Abanca is the only Spanish financial body with an exclusive fishing sector business division. The body decided in 2016 that a sector like the one related to the sea, which is so important in the productive economy of the territories where Abanca is mostly present and has many unique aspects in the market and legislation scope, etc., should have its own specific unit.
Thus Abanca Mar came about, a specialised unit attending the entire value chain of the sea sector regardless of size (from the self-employed, to SMEs and companies), in addition to this, they advise and finance the creation of associations like the Fish Producer Organisations, ship-owner co-operatives, guilds, FLAGs, etc. “Our value proposal is supported by experience accumulated over years in the sector together with the ability to create customised products for the segment.” The result is a portfolio with over 9,000 customers and turnover exceeding 2,700 million Euros, meaning sustained growth.
Another key is that of territory proximity and knowledge in the northern communities, particularly the Basque Country, thanks to Bankoa Abanca, which means unconditional support for the ship-owner industry needs. Regarding the chain scope, Abanca Mar attends segments like: shipbuilding, harbour services, ship-owner companies of any size, processing, canning industry, fish farming, etc. “We prioritise in the north, although in recent years we’ve seen growth in all communities with these activities. We believe specialisation is the secret, since it’s what this sector needs”.
The most noteworthy is the financing plan for the fishing fleet renovation, involving equipping the ship-owners with vessels which are more sensitive in terms of environmental impact and make more efficient catches. Other actions in this sense are: investments in energy efficiency of installations, improvement of fish trade market management and implementation of new technologies aimed at giving fish products and their traceability value, which contribute to the protection and recovery of the marine biodiversity likewise fostering environmental awareness. Fleet renovation and generation renewal via financing of new and second-hand fishing vessels with approximately 80 operations/year for annual financing costs of approximately 50 million Euros where there are initiatives of tens of millions of Euros and others under 100,000 depending on whether they’re inshore or offshore. “For the largest ones, we do this for vessels fishing under the Spanish and third party country flags”.
Abanca is also the first Spanish financial institution to adhere to the Principles for a Sustainable Ocean, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact Network
Furthermore, Abanca is also the first Spanish financial body to adhere to the Sustainable Ocean Principles, an initiative of the UN Global Compact Network, forming a Global Compact framework for good responsible trading practices to guide companies in their contribution to the care of the oceans and aim to support the efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement and 2030 Action Programme.
These 9 principles are focused on ocean health and productivity, governance and transparency, moreover they complement the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact on: human rights, work, environment, and fight against corruption. “By subscribing to these principles, Abanca materialises its commitment to act in those areas where their contribution may be more relevant.” One of which is the coast, where a part of their business is concentrated. In other words, it’s a step further in their climate sustainability strategy and action. Moreover, it’s in line with the other alliances the body belongs to, namely: UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking, UN Principles for Responsible Investment and Net-Zero Banking Alliance, among others.
Abanca Foundation has been working with the sector for many years and since 2020, with the Plankton initiative, in collaboration with the inshore and fish farming sector on a waste removal programme on sandbanks, shellfish beds and harbours. The data speak for themselves: over 1,200 people take part, over 30 tonnes of waste have been removed and more than 30 bodies are collaborating. “In addition to the cleaning, this programme also works on awareness, dissemination and training with exhibitions and encounters; and also with finance training programmes to help improve financial and economic sustainability.”