European Investment Bank
European Investment Fund
The year 2019, and the climate protests it brought, may go down in history as a turning point. While climate protests are certainly not new, what we witnessed in 2019 was of a different order. This time, across most continents and cultures, a young generation started an unprecedented global movement, demanding governments’ action to solve the existential threat of climate change. Science is on their side, and their demands are well founded. We must act, and we must act now.
We are writing this foreword in 2020, which began with the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. As countries are struggling to contain the pandemics, it is only natural that all eyes are on health systems and on the businesses - and their workers - that have been severely affected by the lockdown. Yet, we must act, and we must act now. Finding solutions for COVID should not reduce our commitment toward climate. As businesses slowly begin to reopen, we should work to ensure that any recovery plan is fully aligned with the EU’s Green New Deal.
Tackling the climate challenge fast and effectively requires substantial investment. In 2019 alone, the European Investment Bank together with the European Investment Fund provided financing of €72.2 billion to promote climate action, to protect the environment, to enable innovation and skills, to support SMEs and mid-caps, to build necessary infrastructure, and to stimulate regional development. Our support triggered around €280 billion of investment overall. 31% of the EIB’s financing went in supPort of climate action alone, making us one of the world’s largest multilateral providers of finance for climate action. Going forward from 2021, we will also target finance for environmental sustainability – to address the parallel planetary emergency of biodiversity loss, pollution and degraded oceans and seas, all of which are further exacerbated by climate change.
We welcome the European Council’s and the new European Commission’s request to the EIB Group to step up our climate action activities and further support efforts to achieve the Paris goal of limiting temperature rise globally to 1.5 degrees. In 2019, following an extensive stakeholder engagement process, the EIB’s Board of Directors approved a new Energy Lending Policy to stop financing unabated fossil fuel projects, which will enter into effect at the end of 2021. We are proud of this decision, as a key milestone in the fight against global warming. We are already increasing our ambitions for 2030 in climate action and environmental sustainability. Our approach builds on three pillars. The first is to increase our own financing. Last year, over 30% of the EIB’s new commitments worldwide were dedicated to climate. We are now aiming at 50% for climate and environmental sustainability by 2025. The second pillar is a commitment to unlock at least €1 trillion of investment for climate action and environmental sustainability by working with our public and private partners from 2021 to 2030. The third pillar is to align our activities with the principles and goals of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2020. This will require a change in the Group’s policies and actions, which started with our pledge to phase out energy projects that depend on unabated fossil fuels. In the year ending the former European Commission’s term under the presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker, it is also worth highlighting the phenomenal success of the initiative that colloquially bears his name: the “Juncker Plan”. Largely delivered by the EIB Group, the Investment Plan for Europe has contribute to fostering growth in the European Union, particularly for smaller companies on the European Union’s periphery. By the end of 2019, the total Group financing signed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) amounted to €62.2 billion. This is a legacy we have been proud to support so far, and we will continue to do so going forward.