Combining finance and sustainable business

Published on 26 January 2024

Since 2022, SPIE has linked all its refinancing to sustainability criteria. Thirteen major banks have been involved in this initiative, which meets the highest market standards. Pascale Forde Maurice, Head of European Corporate, Sustainable Investment Banking at Crédit Agricole CIB, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) joint coordinator for the programme, tells us about the project.

Is it common for loans to be linked to non-financial criteria these days?

Yes, it’s increasingly common. We’re witnessing a real shift in the market. With this type of financial instrument, known as a sustainability-linked or ESG loan, we assess both financial risk and the risk that the company will not meet the non-financial targets it has set itself. This drives a virtuous circle by creating an economic incentive to achieve key CSR objectives.

What role did Crédit Agricole CIB play in refinancing the SPIE loan?

We were at the SPIE project team’s side every step of the way, helping them to draw up the ESG framework document detailing the refinancing mechanism and non-financial indicators (see boxes). It was an exciting project because the team brought together members from both SPIE’s finance and CSR departments, aking a truly cross-functional approach. Our role was to advise them on the structure of the loan(1) and the choice of material, relevant and ambitious ESG indicators and targets in line with the recommendations of the Loan Market Association (LMA). We also played an important part in coordinating with the other banks.

What was the most inspiring and innovative aspect of your work with SPIE?

We’re proud to have supported SPIE because the indicators the Group selected have the distinction of covering the entire value chain. They include aligning revenue with the EU taxonomy and reducing the carbon footprint of SPIE and its suppliers. Moody’s ESG Solutions, an independent third party, also carried out a public assessment of the framework document. While this is now recommended practice, it is still fairly uncommon for loans. In a similar vein, SPIE issued its first convertible bonds contingent on CSR criteria in January 2023, raising €400 million through Ornane bonds(2). This is a highly innovative form of financing – the last transaction of this type on the European markets took place 18 months ago. These initiatives demonstrate SPIE’s ambition and high standards when it comes to sustainable finance.

We are proud to support a company like SPIE, with its high standards in CSR and sustainable finance.”
PASCALE FORDE MAURICE, Head of Corporate Europe, Sustainable Banking at Crédit Agricole CIB, and ESG loan coordinator
  1. SPIE and participating banks first agreed on what non-financial indicators to include in the loan. 


  2. They then determined quantitative targets associated with each of these indicators to be achieved by 2025, broken down into annual targets.


  3. These targets will be reviewed each year and, if they are met, SPIE’s margin will be reduced. If they are not, the margin will be increased.


of new loans granted to companies in Europe in 2022 incorporated an ESG component, only five years after transactions of this type began.

€1.2 Bn

The amount of the facility (term loan and revolving credit facility) that SPIE refinanced and which is now linked to sustainability criteria.


These indicators apply until 2025 and are based on SPIE’s CSR roadmap, as follows:

- 25%

reduction in direct greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1 & 2)


of purchases from suppliers with science-based carbon footprint reduction targets


of revenue aligned with the EU taxonomy

+ 25%

more women in key management positions