European Investment Bank Group halves emissions intensity as staff numbers increase
The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group has announced that it has halved its emissions intensity over the past decade, despite staff numbers increasing more than two-fold over the ten-year period.
The Group, which consists of the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF), revealed the achievement in the latest iteration of its annual carbon footprint report. The finance firm’s emissions intensity per employee stood at 5.98 tco2e in 2017, marking a 49.9% decrease on 2007 levels.
Despite an 11.9% year-on-year growth in employee numbers, the Group achieved a 2.8% reduction in its emissions intensity compared to 2016 levels, the report notes.
The milestone puts EIB Group ahead of its 2020 target of reducing emissions intensity by 20-30% against a 2007 baseline, which was set in line with the European Commission’s target of reducing the European Union’s (EU) emissions by a fifth by 2020.
However, the report also reveals that the Group’s overall emissions rose 8.8% year-on-year in 2017, with the company emitting 22,024 tonnes of direct and indirect emissions combined. This meant that, since 2007, the Group’s net emissions have risen by more than one-fifth (22.8%).
EIB Group said in a statement that this increase came as a result of “upward pressure on both business travel and buildings-related emissions”, driven by an increase in employee headcount. It estimates that 94.3% of its net emissions are accounted for by transport and mobility, with building-related consumption accounting for the remainder.
Of the Group’s total mobility-related emissions in 2017, which stood at 20,835 tco2e, air travel accounted for 85%. In a bid to decrease this figure, the company said it has altered its travel policy to include the consideration of transport-free alternatives for meetings, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing.
With regards to car travel, which accounted for 14.3% of EIB Group’s mobility-related emissions last year, the firm has begun offering free bus travel passes to its employees and running a string of initiatives communicating the benefits of sustainable travel.
EIB Group released its carbon footprint report alongside its annual sustainability report, which highlights its progress on investing in green innovation projects, energy infrastructure improvements and water stewardship initiatives.
The Group, which is the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender, provided more than £69bn (€78.2bn) for initiatives contributing towards green policy goals across Europe, the report reveals. It claims that this lending and investment leveraged a total investment of (€250bn) by crowding in private capital.
“When the Treaty of Rome entered into force on 1 January 1958, the European Investment Bank was founded. In the 60 years since then, the EIB has contributed significantly to making Europe more open, innovative and sustainable,” wrote EIB president, Werner Hoyer, and chief executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, in a joint statement.
“Sustainable finance is deeply embedded in the way we refinance our activities in the capital markets.”
In order to receive financial backing from the EIB, projects must meet one or more EU policy objectives and comply with the bank’s environmental and social standards for supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The report additionally highlights the fact that EIB has issued more than £17m (€19.4bn) in green bonds over the past decade, after issuing £3.8bn (€4.3bn) through the format in 2017.
“Initially, demand for green issues was limited, but the idea of a green fixed-income product gained traction quickly as climate change became a focal issue,” the report states.
The milestone comes after a Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) report revealed that the green bonds market grew by a staggering 78% between 2016 and 2017, with national and institutional investors funnelling more than $150bn into low-carbon projects.