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King Charles III officially opens EBRD’s new HQ

By Marcus  Warren

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EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso with King Charles III in the Bank's new headquarters.

  • King Charles III inaugurates Bank’s new headquarters in Canary Wharf
  • 26-storey skyscraper one of the most environmentally advanced buildings in the UK
  • 30 years – almost to the day – since His Majesty opened Bank’s previous HQ in Bishopsgate

King Charles III has today officially opened the new headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London’s Canary Wharf district.

The King unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit and met members of the Bank’s Board of Directors, senior management and members of the staff, including those from Ukraine and Türkiye, during his time at the new HQ.

His Majesty was also presented with a landscape painting by a 16-year-old Ukrainian girl from Tarashcha from an exhibition organised by staff in aid of the Kids and Art for Ukraine charity.  

’It was an honour to welcome His Majesty to our new home today,’ EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said. ’His passionate advocacy for sustainable markets and the environment predates our Bank’s existence and has been an inspiration to many in the EBRD regions.’

The EBRD was founded in 1991 at the end of the Cold War to build open market economies and promote private enterprise in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

As Prince of Wales, the King inaugurated the Bank’s previous headquarters in Bishopsgate in March 1993, nearly 30 years ago to the day. At the time he noted the EBRD’s important role in ‘generating and sustaining the right momentum’.

The Bank has since expanded into new regions and is now active in 36 economies across three continents. Since its creation it has invested over €180 billion in more than 6,600 projects.

For the last two years the EBRD has also invested more than half its annual business volume in the green economy and, as of the start of 2023, has aligned all its activities with the Paris Agreement.

Its new headquarters reflect its commitment to green values. Its new home at Five Bank Street has been acknowledged as one of the most environmentally advanced buildings in the United Kingdom.

It boasts features such as rooftop photovoltaic panels delivering almost 20,000 kWh/year, grey water recycling, a green wall, green and brown roofs as wildlife habitats, and extensive cycle parking and facilities.

The 26-storey skyscraper, 12 floors of which are occupied by the Bank, is fully powered by renewable energy. 

The EBRD is also the largest institutional investor in Ukraine. Last year, under wartime conditions and responding to the country’s urgent needs, it deployed €1.7 billion there, plus almost €200 million more from partner banks.

EBRD staff last year donated €313,000 to local charities in Ukraine and other countries affected by the war. The Bank’s Community Initiative has matched that sum with nearly €482,000 of its own.

Some of the Bank’s Turkish members of staff were also able to meet His Majesty during his visit. The EBRD recently announced plans to invest up to €1.5 billion in Türkiye’s south-east over the next two years to address the impact of last month’s earthquakes.

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