Good afternoon, and welcome to the EIB Brussels Office.
It is my great pleasure to be with you here today and to address this important topic.
Nine months after a historic achievement of international diplomacy at COP 21, the need to scale up green financing was recently emphasised again at the G20 meetings.
Climate action is and remains a top priority for the EIB. As the EU bank we are committed to demonstrating leadership in climate finance amongst international financial institutions.
From many perspectives, 2015 was a watershed year for climate-related finance at the EIB. We adopted the Climate Strategy that enshrines our commitment to dedicate at least 25% of our lending portfolio to low-carbon and climate-resilient growth. With around 27% of our total lending or almost EUR 21 billion allocated to climate action in 2015, we are delivering on our targets.
EIB’s involvement in the green bond market is an essential part of our commitment to spur the development of climate finance. The Bank pioneered the green bond market in 2007 as the world’s first issuer of a labelled green bond, which we called the “Climate Awareness Bond”, or CAB.
Our Climate Awareness Bonds were the first bonds with proceeds earmarked to match disbursements to projects with a positive environmental impact.
Since then, the EIB has issued over EUR 14 billion in green bonds – with EUR 3 billion already raised in 2016 – making the Bank not only the first but also the largest issuer of green bonds in the world as we speak.
The EIB contributes to market development not only by driving volumes, but also by enhancing the quality of green bond issuance. The Bank was first to introduce a number of green bond practices which serve the market as a benchmark.
With the issuance of the first Climate Awareness Bond in 2007, the EIB established the concept of ring-fencing of proceeds, the backbone of a credible green bond programme.
When the first allocations were made in 2008, we started to report in detail in our Sustainability Reports which projects were backed by our Climate Awareness Bonds each year.
Last year, the EIB broke new ground as the first issuer to publish an in-depth report on the environmental impact of projects associated with its green bonds, adopting a template developed together with other MDBs. The EIB’s impact reporting includes important metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions avoided and energy consumption saved.
The market has seen another milestone this week, which brings further transparency and accountability to climate finance.
Last Tuesday, the EIB obtained an independent reasonable assurance conclusion for its Green Bond Framework, provided by the external auditor KPMG. The KPMG report, the first of its kind, confirms alignment with the Green Bond Principles and provides a higher degree of reliability to the information reported by the EIB in a separate CAB statement for 2015 with regard to responsibilities, operational criteria, allocations and impact reports.
This audit exercise helped us to improve processes, separate responsibilities further and review the impact data which we published earlier this year, making revisions for transparency where necessary.
[Why this workshop?]
Over the past few years, and particularly in the aftermath of COP 21, we have noted growing demand from the broader civil society for information on EIB activity in the area of climate action. The external public consultation on the EIB Climate Review in 2015, the 2016 Board Seminar with Civil Society and the “EIB Lunch Dialogue” held in Brussels in March 2016 gradually led to the idea of holding a stand-alone event on this topic for all interested stakeholders.
This civil society workshop is part of our overall commitment to transparency and accountability in everything we do. It is an opportunity to keep up our constructive involvement, inform you about our activities and learn from you what can be done or what could be done better.
Please make the most of today. I hope you will find the discussions and exchanges fruitful and worthwhile.