Sustainable Investment Awards 2021

Investment leader of the year: Ebru Dildar Edin, Garanti BBVA

Garanti BBVA corporate investment banking and global market executive vice president Ebru Dildar Edin secured the Investment leader of the year award amid her long-standing sustainable investment leadership in Turkey, forging a pioneering path in an emerging market not generally recognised for its sustainable leadership.

Ebru Dildar Edin One Environmental Finance Sustainable Investment Awards judge commended her role as an early sustainable investment influencer in Turkey, with another praising her "incredible leadership in a challenging jurisdiction".

Edin has been at Garanti – the only Turkish bank listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – for 25 years, during which she drove several key sustainability initiatives at the lender. She helped establish a board sustainability committee in 2010 and launched an in-house sustainability team in 2012, laying the foundations for its market-leading position on sustainability issues.

By the end of 2020, Istanbul-based Garanti has extended more than TRY51 billion ($5.8 billion) in sustainable finance across more than 40 different instruments. Under the leadership of Edin, all energy investments by Garanti since 2014 have been in renewable energy – including becoming a top lender to the wind energy market.

The judging panel said Edin had provided "strong leadership" across multiple dimensions of sustainable investment, and demonstrated a "track record of collaboration leading to concrete results". Judges were particularly impressed, however, by her role in innovating through gender loans and bonds, noting that she has demonstrated a clear commitment towards using finance to support gender equality.

Edin and her team signed the $44 million gender loan with Polat Energy in 2019 – the first gender loan in the world – by which improved annual performance across a number of gender quality criteria would translate into improved financial terms on the loan. The bank signed its second gender loan with Limak in 2020. Garanti also signed a gender bond with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2018, the first in an emerging market.

Edin led the efforts to launch the Women Leadership Programme at the bank which has provided more than 80 female executives with mentorship, and she initiated the Women Executive Network at the bank for senior and mid-level managers to encourage and support female leaders. Overall, nearly three-fifths of senior managers at Garanti are female and two-fifths of mid-level managers. This pioneering practice resulted in Garanti being the only Turkish firm to have been listed on the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for five years in a row.

Under her leadership, Garanti also raised $700 million from the first sustainability-linked syndicated loan in an emerging market in 2020 – which was also the first instrument of this type secured by a global bank.

Judges also noted that Edin has "pioneered critical country-level sustainability action" in Turkey. Since 2015, Edin has served as vice chair of the 60-member Business Council for Sustainable Development (BSCD) Turkey – one of the 70 national councils that compose the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Overall, the judges said it is important to see domestic sustainable investment champions in emerging markets – and Edin has been an early and pioneering champion within Turkey supporting its sustainable investment journey.