• The agreement will help the Spanish company achieve its energy saving targets and its goal of producing renewable energy for its own use.
  • The EIB grants an EU taxonomy-aligned green loan to El Corte Inglés.
  • The innovative EIB-financed investment plan focuses on improving cybersecurity and the logistics chain.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and El Corte Inglés have signed a financing agreement of up to €74 million that will enable the Spanish company to bolster its energy efficiency and digital transformation plan up to 2024.

The financing via an EIB green loan is fully in line with the European Investment Bank’s climate action and environmental sustainability requirements.

El Corte Inglés’ energy efficiency plan includes improved refrigeration, lighting and air conditioning in its network of facilities and department stores, as well as better energy consumption management. It also covers investments in the production of decentralised and integrated renewable energy for self-consumption in its logistics centre in Valdemoro (Madrid). These measures will be implemented across Spain, with more than half of the sites located in EU cohesion regions. El Corte Inglés’ energy efficiency plan is expected to save up to 176 GWh of energy and generate around 12 GWh of renewable energy a year.

The EIB’s support for the plan is in line with the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU initiative and the EU Fit for 55 package. The REPowerEU initiative, which was announced by the European Commission in May, aims to accelerate the green transition by rolling out renewable energy in homes, industry and power generation to replace fossil fuels, enhancing energy saving measures in the short, medium and long term. The initiative aims to raise the 2030 target for the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption in the European Union from 40% to 45% and to increase the binding energy efficiency target under the Fit for 55 package from 9% to 13%.

Progress in innovation

The investment plan will be key to innovation. The investments financed will enhance business processes in many areas, such as the development of tools to support decision-making, new optimised purchasing systems, advanced data analysis models, and logistics automation, backed by data analytics, artificial intelligence and other technology. In addition, El Corte Inglés will expand its cybersecurity capabilities to enhance the group’s resilience by stepping up mitigation and remediation plans in areas of vulnerability.

EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix said: We are pleased that this new loan signed with El Corte Inglés will help to optimise its energy consumption and increase the production of renewable energy. As the EU climate bank, we consider it a priority to support projects such as this in order to tackle both the energy and climate crisis, in line with initiatives such as REPowerEU. This agreement will also accelerate innovation capabilities in vital areas such as artificial intelligence, a sector that creates economic growth and job opportunities.”

Santiago Bau, corporate managing director of El Corte Inglés, added: “This agreement with the EIB highlights El Corte Inglés’s commitment to society and to the environment, as well as the drive to innovate that has characterised the company since day one. Energy efficiency and the use of renewables are at the heart of our environmental priorities, while cybersecurity and artificial intelligence are essential for developing our business model, with the ultimate goal of ensuring customer satisfaction and trust.”

This is the third agreement between the EU bank and the leading Spanish department store. The previous operations served to finance El Corte Inglés’ innovation and digitalisation plans between 2016 and 2021. This new collaboration will further strengthen competitiveness and accelerate the company’s sustainability plan.

Background information:

EIB and energy security

Over the past decade, the European Investment Bank Group has channelled almost €100 billion into the EU’s energy sector. These timely investments are now helping Europe weather the crisis triggered by the abrupt cut in Russian gas supplies. In the first nine months of 2022 alone, the EIB has signed financial support totalling more than €8.3 billion for projects in energy efficiency, renewables, electricity and storage inside the EU, thus helping strengthen the resilience of the European economy.

In October, the EIB’s Board decided to raise the Group’s clean energy financing volumes to unprecedented levels in support of the REPowerEU objective of ending Europe’s dependency on Russian fossil-fuel imports. An additional €30 billion will be invested over the next five years, on top of the EIB’s already robust support for the energy sector in the EU. It is estimated that the dedicated REPowerEU package will mobilize an additional €115 billion in additional investment by 2027, thus making a substantial contribution to Europe’s energy independence and the EIB Group’s target to mobilize €1 trillion this decade in climate financing.

Find out more about the EIB’s energy support here and the latest energy projects we financed here.

About El Corte Inglés

The El Corte Inglés Group is the biggest department store chain in Europe and a benchmark in Spanish retail. Its diversification strategy and its endeavours to constantly adapt to the new needs and demands of its customers have led it to create different commercial formats and to promote multi-channel retailing, combining the benefits of the physical and online environments. This is all within a framework of innovation and constantly striving to adapt to the new needs of society. Furthermore, since its early days, the Group has maintained a policy of commitment to society, which is reflected in the numerous cultural, environmental, social and sporting activities in which it participates.