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Stefano Del Punta: championing change and building the future

Intesa Sanpaolo’s chief financial officer on how using finance to change things for good is a big part of the bank’s identity

Rhiannon Edwards



Intesa Sanpaolo recently announced it is extending its Circular Economy funding plafond by €1 billion, meaning €6 billion has been made available to businesses looking to transform to circular ways of working.

Companies of any size can apply to benefit from the fund and the lower interest rates charged for working on circular projects.

As well as the fund, the bank has seen great success with its circular bond and is now making business property loans based on environmental credentials.

With more than 30 years’ experience in banking, Intesa Sanpaolo’s chief financial officer Stefano Del Punta understands how using finance to change things for good is a big part of the bank’s identity.

“Twenty per cent of our shareholders are represented by foundations. It is in our DNA to be very attentive to social issues… Today, one of the most important things you can do for society is to do something good for the climate.”

In the bank’s most recent business plan, CEO Carlo Messina set out a bold ambition for Intesa Sanpaolo to commit to ESG targets. Today, Intesa Sanpaolo is the highest rated bank in Italy when it comes to ESG commitments. Its partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, now in its fifth year, is a big part of that achievement.

"Today, one of the most important things you can do for society is to do something good for the climate"

Stefano Del Punta, chief financial officer of Intesa Sanpaolo

Del Punta believes that backing companies who choose to change now and make those commitments is not only ethically sound, but also makes good business sense. “These companies are better and will be more likely to succeed in the future than those companies who do not follow circular processes,” he says.

The pandemic has stalled investment and growth in companies across the world.

Del Punta is confident companies will resume investment – especially with a new vaccine on the horizon. “We expect a strong rebound… 2020 has been, unfortunately, a year of almost complete standby,” he says.

Italian companies are facing the future confidently and setting an example to the world. “We have SMEs that are very dynamic… they are very proactive and quick in reaping market opportunities,” says Del Punta.

Today, there are many global forces at work affecting banking. Not just environmental change and the impact of COVID-19, but also a changing Europe now that Britain is to leave the EU.

Brexit is a sad event for Del Punta, who has personal memories of living in London, but for him the change also creates new opportunities.

“We are not far away from seeing a wave of cross-border consolidation, whereby we create some pan-euro area banking champions,” he says. “We want to see that process from the front seat, not the back seat.”

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