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Environmental sustainability


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Our 2020 impact

 

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As the EU's climate bank, we are taking action to preserve natural resources and protect the environment for future generations. We invest in projects in over 160 countries by providing lending and advisory expertise. Our support acts as a catalyst to mobilise private finance by encouraging other public and private investors to match our long-term investment.

We back projects that protect the environment our children will live in while we innovate to make their future more prosperous. In line with our responsible approach to investment, Environmental and Social Issues are reflected in all our projects.

We carefully check that our projects meet our environmental and social principles and standards and conform with our corporate responsibility commitments. Our environmental activities include:


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Nature and biodiversity

Nature and biodiversity are essential for life. Approximately half of the world’s GDP is generated by natural resources. Biodiversity loss and the climate crisis go hand in hand.

We support EU policy for biodiversity preservation by ensuring our projects enhance natural habitats and do not impact biodiversity negatively. We work together with policymakers, companies and civil society to meet biodiversity challenges and increase investment in nature, ecosystem restoration and resilience.

The EIB invests in nature in several ways:

  • we finance projects and support new financial players in the fields of climate and nature;
  • we provide loans to other financial institutions, who act as intermediaries for smaller projects and companies;
  • we invest in funds that leverage private investor interest in support of nature.

Together with the European Commission, we put in place the Natural Capital Financing Facility, a dedicated instrument to finance biodiversity and nature-based solutions in Europe.

Forestry, agriculture and urban nature

Forests are essential in the fight for climate action. They are major carbon stores and help increase resilience against some of the effects of climate change, such as soil erosion and increased flood risk. Our activities support the full forest value chain, including restoration of forests, afforestation and forest industries. We aim to protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, while fostering rural economic growth and employment.

Agriculture protects natural assets and uses them for our well-being. It is also the backbone for local entrepreneurship, employment and social development in many countries around the world. The EIB supports the rural economy to benefit entrepreneurs and society as a whole, promote environmental sustainability and lower agriculture’s CO2 emissions.

Greening a city has many positive effects: it reduces the risk of floods, tackles the negative effects of heat waves and improves local air and water quality. It also enhances the permeability of soils and limits encroachment on fertile land. Urban nature-based solutions can also strengthen social cohesion and increase the quality of life. Our support for urban regeneration and nature-based solutions in cities is improving living conditions for millions of citizens worldwide.

Sustainable Oceans and Blue Economy

Oceans and seas cover over 70% of the Earth's surface. They play a vital role for the planet’s climate and biodiversity. They also provide food, medicines, renewable energy and natural resources to billions of people around the globe. Since the 1970s, oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Keeping our oceans healthy is crucial for sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. The EIB is investing in the sustainable blue economy and supports initiatives to reduce pollution and preserve this natural resource.

Find out more on the Sustainable Oceans and Blue Economy

Depollution including noise, clean air, clean water

Pollution prevention and control are key pillars of EU environmental policy. We promote an integrated approach to prevention and control of emissions into air, water and soil for the protection of the environment as a whole, and we finance depollution projects.

We provide project promoters with clear requirements for preventing, reducing and, as far as possible, eliminating pollution arising from different activities during the entire project lifecycle - from design to decommissioning. Our environmental and social handbook provides an outline of EIB’s standards.

Water supply and wastewater

We back a diverse range of projects related to the provision and management of water:

  • Water supply
  • Wastewater treatment and disposal
  • Coastal erosion
  • Flood control

We offer long term financing and technical advice, as well as support for research, development and innovation. Most of our water and wastewater activity is located in the EU, but we also support international initiatives such as the ACP-EU Water FacilityHorizon 2020 and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation.

Circular economy and waste management

The EIB supports the transition towards a circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised.

Circular economy projects typically reduce resource consumption and waste generation which results in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable transport, including transport safety

We invest in sustainable public transport solutions. We support sustainable shipping, road, air safety and other transport projects, with the goal to:

  • facilitate growth and job creation
  • cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce noise pollution
  • improve air quality
  • promote safety

Energy

Energy systems must transform to meet long-term climate targets. We finance projects that:

  • Unlock energy efficiency: We support projects that include retrofitting and expansion of existing social and urban infrastructure and services.
  • Support the decarbonisation of energy supply: We finance renewable energy projects in Europe and beyond ─ onshore and offshore wind farms, solar, hydropower, geothermal and solid biomass projects, among others – and the development of the enabling infrastructure.

We also provide:

  • Sustainable energy project advice: Many cities and regions lack the necessary technical expertise and organisational capacity to implement large energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. ELENA (“European Local ENergy Assistance”) is there to help. It covers up to 90% of the technical support cost of preparing the implementation and securing the financing of the investment programme. Run by the EIB, ELENA is funded by the European Commission.

Disaster risk management, recovery and reconstruction

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, mudslides, avalanches and landslides, put human lives, ecosystems and economies at risk. Investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction is essential to enhance the resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.

The EIB works on strengthening national and international governance on natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Our climate strategy promotes a risk management approach to increase the resilience of assets, communities and ecosystems related to EIB projects.

We also support post-disaster reconstruction projects, a critical opportunity to build back better - including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.


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Reviewing our Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework

The European Investment Bank Group launched a public consultation on its Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework.

We received 41 contributions on the new EIB Group Environmental and Social Policy and our 11 Environmental and Social Standards from 97 organisations and individuals.

We are currently reviewing the contributions and will publish our comments in Q4 2021.

Find out more.


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Managing our environment

As Europe’s climate bank, we continuously evaluate, report, and improve our environmental performance.

We have been measuring and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions since 2007. We sort waste, recycle and reduce plastic usage, among other activities.

Read our EIB Group Environmental Statement 2021.


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Key areas

Overview

The EIB is the EU’s climate bank and one of the world’s main financiers of climate action

Climate action explained

Our lending is aligned with the Paris Agreement and promotes adaptation, mitigation and environmental sustainability

Climate Bank Roadmap

Find out how the roadmap provides a framework to counter climate change and protect the environment during the critical decade ahead

Supporting your project

We work with many parts of the public and private sectors to increase investment in projects that help the climate and environment


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  • Last modified-on: 20-10-2021