Sustainability & Green Transformation

Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. The urgency for action has never been greater. To make it to net zero and dial back emissions we need to spark transformative and innovative solutions while also accompanying traditional businesses as they seek to navigate the green transition and make their operations more environmentally sustainable.

Driven by the EU’s Green Deal and the EIB Group’s Climate Bank Roadmap and strong political determination at all levels, we are ramping up our equity investments and guarantee activity, ensuring a strong green flavour in all aspects of our work.

We ourselves are on our own green transformation pathway as our commitment is taking shape and form and will only intensify in the future. We have made significant progress in adapting our internal workings in order to track sustainability criteria more closely, to demand more from our partners and in general to introduce greater diligence in our investments.

With the addition of infrastructure funds to our arsenal, we have continued to invest carefully in game changers and adapters that are leading the green transition, supporting the innovative entrepreneurs that will turn bright ideas into solutions to tackle the planet’s greatest challenges.

At the same time, we have made pioneering investments in blue economy funds and private credit funds to broaden the scope of our greening efforts.

These solutions are set to contribute to the broader EU agenda and help cement the bloc’s position as the world leader in climate action and environmental sustainability.

Infrastructure funds

Climate and infrastructure funds are a catalyst for sustainable growth and development, promoting the transition towards a greener economy. Within the EIB Group, investments in such funds were formerly carried out by the EIB, but as of January 2021 they were transferred to the EIF, thereby adding a new business line to our portfolio.

Funding for this purpose will be steadily increasing over the coming years, aiming to reach annual investment amounts exceeding €1bn by 2023.

Investments are being directed at funds that provide capital to new infrastructure projects, with a primary focus on climate action and environmental sustainability. Targeting a 70% climate content at portfolio level, the underlying investments are expected to make a substantial contribution to the ambitious targets of the EIB Group’s Climate Bank Roadmap. Key policy areas we will be focusing on include renewable energy and enabling infrastructure, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, digital economy, circular economy, urban development and social infrastructure.

In 2021, we invested €200m in five funds and around €20m in one co-investment. A contribution of €50m was dedicated to Impax New Energy Investors IV, targeting new investments in renewable energy and renewable energy enabling infrastructure. The fund will focus on projects in the EU, and has an allocation to Central and Eastern Europe, and particularly Poland and Croatia.

In the field of sustainable urban regeneration, we extended our partnership with Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity and invested €30m in Ginkgo 3, a fund dedicated to the decontamination and redevelopment of contaminated land plots in Europe. The EIF is among the fund’s largest contributors, underlining our commitment to work closely with our partners to support the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Supporting game changers

The EIF has pioneered greentech investment since 2006 and has channelled over €1bn to climate and environment VC and PE funds to date. These investments have helped catalyse no less than €3.4bn for climate and environmental innovation.

Within our VC activities, agrifoodtech has been a major theme for the last two years. In addition to three investments made in 2020 in this sector, we have committed to two additional agrifoodtech funds in 2021:

  • The Yield Lab Europe, a fund based in Ireland supporting early-stage innovation across Europe geared towards the sustainability of the agrifood industry (EIF commitment of €27.5m out of a total fund size of €51m).
  • Food Tech Opportunity II, a pan-European fund operating out of France, focused on the sustainability and efficiency of the food system with a special emphasis on consumer-facing business models (EIF commitment of €44m out of a total fund size of €180m).

Our commitment as anchor investor to funds active in the blue economy is also deemed critical to the European Green Deal and to address the pressing climate and environmental issues that undermine the sustainability of this sector. The EC aims to foster innovation and sustainability in the marine economy through the mobilisation of capital investment and by helping to create a wellfunctioning European equity ecosystem for this space. In this vein, in 2021 we made commitments to three specialised blue economy funds:

  • We committed a total of €35m - guaranteed by EFSI - in Ocean 14, a private equity fund focused on the UN SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use ocean, sea and marine resources. Ocean 14 is the first investment fund of its magnitude to focus exclusively on the blue economy. It will target growth-stage technologies and companies promoting sustainable fishing, aquaculture and alternative proteins as well as ocean conservation and health, including marine flora regeneration and plastic waste solutions.
  • In December, we signed a €21m commitment to Faber Blue Pioneers Fund, the first fund selected under Portugal Blue, a programme developed with the Portuguese government, which seeks to support blue economy investment in Portugal with clear climate impact and sustainable development goals. The fund has the ambition to invest in early-stage companies developing innovative deep-tech solutions in areas such as blue biotech, sea-food and feed, ocean health and intelligence, as well as the decarbonisation of multiple blue economy industries.
  • We also backed the impact-driven Norwegian VC fund Norce Sarsia Venture focusing on early-stage ventures targeting ocean-related deep-tech and energy technologies. The EIF’s €15m commitment to the fund, using InnovFin Equity resources, will contribute to the development and growth of a blue economy sector-specialised investor ecosystem in the Nordics.

Furthermore, we invested €50m under EFSI Private Credit in Eurazeo Sustainable Maritime Infrastructure Fund (ESMI). ESMI’s goal is to finance the transition of maritime assets to a low carbon maritime economy.

In March, we joined forces with Banco Sabadell to support early-stage technology VC firms and companies in the renewable energy industry. The transaction, which was the EIF’s first operation in Spain under EGF, grants Banco Sabadell a €103m guarantee, which will enable the mobilisation of financing amounting to €148m. The loans that Banco Sabadell has undertaken to channel via Sabadell Venture Capital and SINIA Renovables, will be used to promote investment and working capital in SMEs and mid-caps. It will specifically target start-ups via venture debt operations and companies in the renewable energy industry with products such as senior “bridge”/construction loans, loans for photovoltaic and other systems for self-consumption, and long-term subordinated loans for solar power plants. By taking up to 70% of the risk on the loans granted, the EIF will promote – thanks to the EGF - new financing in Spain and indirectly support the entire ecosystem of start-ups and renewables.

ApisProtect: in-hive sensors


Cork, Ireland

Financial Intermediary

The Yield Lab Europe

EIF financing

EFSI Sub-window 1

Financing purpose

product development, prototype testing

Number of employees


“Our technology can monitor temperature, movement, humidity and sound, triggering smart alerts to help beekeepers catch problems like pests or disease early, rather than rely on periodic manual inspections.”

Dr. Fiona Edwards-Murphy

CEO and co-founder

Transforming from within

Throughout 2021, the EIF continued to equip itself with the tools and foundations necessary to strengthen our policy delivery and thematic orientation, and ultimately ensure that we are in a stronger position to make a meaningful contribution to the broader sustainability agenda that we have collectively committed to.

In this vein, we have reviewed our existing procedures and practices related to due diligence and risk management. As of 2022, we will be integrating the newly-approved Paris Alignment of Counterparties framework into our transaction appraisals. This allows us to better assess and monitor the climate-related strategies, practices and risks of our financial intermediaries, in addition to the already-covered wider ESG policies and practices.

Furthermore, significant counterparties falling within the scope of the framework will be requested to publicly disclose climate-related information, based on the recommendations of the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

In cooperation with the EIB, we have also developed a new climate risk tool to assess the sector and country climate risk of the final recipients to which EIF is exposed indirectly through its intermediaries. The assessment will be rolled out for all new financial intermediary transactions as of 2022. In parallel, our risk management department performs, on a monthly basis, an assessment of our existing portfolio in terms of climate risk.

We have, moreover, updated our internal guidelines for restricted sectors and activities in line with the Paris Alignment framework approved in our Climate Bank Roadmap. This entails restrictions related to fossil fuels and fossil-fuelled energy production, high-emitting industries and transport vehicles and vessels. These restrictions were implemented across all our mandates and products for new appraisals as of 2021.

Furthermore, building on the support that we expressed in 2020 for the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s TCFD, this year we published our first TCFD report in which we provide an overview of our achievements and further actions to integrate climate-related risks and opportunities into the core of our business.

With regard to tracking our green financing flows, the EIF has implemented the climate action and environmental sustainability (CA&ES) tracking framework. This framework identifies investments or loans for activities that are promoting climate and environmental objectives, building on the EU Taxonomy significant contribution criteria.

Further work is on-going, in cooperation with the EIB but also within the Platform on Sustainable Finance, to assess and recommend how “do no significant harm” and “minimum safeguards” criteria and requirements stemming from the Taxonomy Regulation could be integrated into our financing model without causing undue burden for the SMEs that our financing is predominantly targeting.

Accure: intelligent batteries


Aachen, Germany

Financial Intermediary


EIF financing

InnovFin Equity; EFSI; LfA; ERP

Financing purpose

product development & marketing

Number of employees


“The 21st century is built on batteries. I think they are amazing in the way they can pack all this energy. Optimise and upgrade them and you have the key to energy efficiency, decarbonisation and net zero.”

KP Kairies


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