“Green”: the EBRD’s new Transition concept

By Josué Tanaka


At its foundation, the EBRD integrated the environmental dimension into its core constitutive document. The Agreement Establishing the EBRD stipulated that “the Bank is committed to promoting environmentally sound and sustainable development in the full range of its investment and technical cooperation activities.” 

The 2016 review of the transition concept finally explicitly recognises the “green” dimension of environmental sustainability as an integral quality of transition within a sustainable market economy, making plain that economic decisions should reflect the full value of resources to present and future generations.

This recognition is in line with the aspirations of the international community, expressed last year in the seminal United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Accord on climate change.

The EBRD took part in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco.

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It is also very timely as 170 countries agreed recently to phase out hydrofluorocarbons  (HFC gases are thousands of times more destructive to the climate than carbon dioxide) and the Paris Accord is expected to enter into force next month.

The ”green” quality of transition provides an enhanced context within which the EBRD can pursue the ambitious objectives set out in its Green Economy Transition (GET) approach, including that GET financing account for 40 per cent of total EBRD financing by 2020.

This will be achieved by scaling up existing activities (from industrial and municipal infrastructure energy efficiency to renewable energy and Sustainable Energy Financing Facilities, or SEFFs) and through innovation in environmental financing and policy products.

The EBRD has a strong base from which to pursue these objectives, with cumulative environmental financing since the launch of the Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2006 reaching close to €21 billion in over 1,170 projects.

The formal recognition of a “green” transition quality provides a still stronger basis for achieving our Green Economy Transition objectives, with benefits to the countries where we work and beyond.