25 years of sustainability

By Philippa  Moore

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The EBRD contributes through investments and cooperation programmes

Since its establishment in 1991, the EBRD has helped countries in the transition region suffering from a legacy of industrial pollution, social exclusion and environmental neglect make positive steps towards more sustainable futures.


The Bank has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to environmental and social sustainability through its investments in projects, financial intermediaries and technical cooperation programmes.

The EBRD established its first carbon fund in 2003, and then launched the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) in 2006 to address the challenges of climate change and energy efficiency in the region.

Soon after, we began to deploy Sustainable Energy Financing Facilities (SEFFs), combining funding with technical cooperation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in sustainable energy projects, and introduced Environmental and Social Performance Requirements for all projects.

By 2011, nearly 30 per cent of our investments were in sustainable energy. In 2013, the first projects under the new Sustainable Resource Initiative (SRI), established to deliver improvements in water efficiency and waste minimisation, were launched.

In numbers

  • EBRD investments have been estimated to be carbon neutral or better every year since 2006
  • Our sustainable energy projects have generated an estimated 77 million tonnes per year of CO2 savings
  • Since 2006 we have invested in 1,095 sustainable energy and resource projects with a total value of over €107 billion
  • We are aiming to increase our green financing to at least 40 per cent of total annual investments by 2020 compared with a target share of 25 per cent over the previous five years
  • In 2015, we dedicated 30 per cent of our total €9.4 billion in investments to sustainable energy and resource finance.

2015: stepping up

In 2015, the EBRD adopted a new Green Economy Transition (GET) approach to increase the level of sustainable resources financing to around 40 per cent of total annual investments by 2020 compared with a target share of 25 per cent over the previous five years, thus building sustainability into every facet of our work.

2015 was also a year the EBRD actively participated in green economy discussions with the global community. We provided input into the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and held an energy efficiency finance forum “Building a Global Energy Efficiency Financing Alliance” in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), where over 70 international financial institutions (IFIs) pledged to step up their commitment to integrate energy efficiency into their operations.

We finished off a landmark year for our commitment to sustainability by participating in the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris; launching a climate resilience credit line in Tajikistan, a new financing mechanism to counter the effects of climate change; and our first project in response to the refugee crisis, a loan of up to US$ 14 million to the Water Authority of Jordan to carry out an urgently needed and sustainable upgrade of the country’s wastewater infrastructure.

Working together for a sustainable future

We encourage our clients and partners to embrace sustainability too – both in investments and in practice – and a leading example of this is our cooperation with Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second-largest private bank, whom we have worked with since our first investments in the country in 2009.

Garanti Bank has been a strong advocate for a low-carbon economy in Turkey, an objective that grows more and more crucial as Turkey continues to import nearly 75 per cent of its energy needs and energy demand in the country is forecast to double within the next few years.

Throughout our cooperation with them, Garanti have demonstrated great leadership in addressing key sustainability issues and continuous support for innovative green finance. They have adopted their own environmental and social responsibility mandate, a low-carbon business model and have even established their own sustainability department.

The EBRD recognised Garanti’s efforts with the Environmental and Social Performance Award at our 2014 Sustainability Awards.

We invest in changing lives

As our 2015 Sustainability Report, to be published in May, will illustrate, EBRD finance influences change, achieves results and sees a positive impact on daily lives. In 2015 alone, over 24 million people benefited from improved infrastructure as a result of our investments.

Sustainable investments are becoming more and more crucial in the modern world and for countries in transition there has never been a better time to implement green, sustainable practices to safeguard the future.

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