Environment

EIB issues first Sustainability Awareness Bond as Bankwatch urges it to shift away from fossil fuels

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Published

September 7, 2018

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Published:

September 7, 2018

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Just as the European Investment Bank (EIB), heavily present in South-East Europe (SEE), issued its first, EUR 500 million Sustainability Awareness Bond, CEE Bankwatch Network, one of the largest networks of environmental civil society organizations (CSO) in Central and Eastern Europe, unveiled a report calling on the lender to shift away from financing fossil fuels to sustainable energy projects.

The EIB is one of the largest financiers of water projects worldwide and proceeds from its Sustainability Awareness Bonds will first be allocated to water investment that supports sustainability objectives as defined by EU legislation. These sectors include sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources; transition to a circular economy, waste prevention and recycling; pollution prevention and control; and protection of healthy ecosystems, a press release from the EIB reads.

The new Sustainability Awareness Bonds complement Climate Awareness Bonds, the EIB’s established green bonds that support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects worldwide, the lender added.

Bankwatch calls for a stronger sustainability pledge

The Bankwatch analysis shows that in the years 2013-2017, the EIB invested EUR 18.4 billion in renewable energy projects in Europe and beyond, but at the same time disbursed EUR 11.8 billion to fossil fuels projects. The new report details a set of measures – including an unequivocal commitment to end support for fossil fuels – that can be introduced in the course of the upcoming review of the EIB’s energy strategy to ensure the world’s largest public lender facilitates the global effort to tackle the climate crisis, rather than hamper it, Bankwatch said.

In 2013-2017, the EIB committed a total of EUR 52.5 billion, or more than 14%, of its entire portfolio to energy projects, however, it kept financing fossil fuels projects – mostly gas transportation and distribution, and mainly in western Europe, led by Italy, Spain, and the UK, Bankwatch said.

“The EIB’s annual fossil fuel lending should have long been on a downward trend. It seemed to have peaked in 2010, the year after the Copenhagen climate summit debacle, but it has since fluctuated. Moreover, two record loans to sections of the Southern Gas Corridor which were approved in 2018 mean the EU’s house bank is again doubling down on fossil fuels,” Bankwatch said.

Over the same period, 2013-2017, energy companies with a high share of coal in their electricity and heating generation capacity – including Energa, Tauron, and PGE in Poland, Endesa in Spain, PPC in Greece, and CEZ in the Czech Republic – enjoyed nearly EUR 4 billion in EIB money, the CSO network noted.

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