Vienna, Austria, June 2, 2021—A new capacity-building program will help banks in Europe and Central Asia scale up climate finance, with the launch of the Green Banking Academy in Europe and Central Asia (ECA), an advisory initiative of IFC. The initiative—implemented in partnership with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance—will help accelerate the green transformation of the banking sector in the region while tackling climate change.
The huge untapped potential for climate investments in the region presents a significant business opportunity for financial institutions. As regional economies recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the appetite for green finance is likely to grow in the coming years. This is especially true for ECA where, according to an IFC study, the estimated need for climate investments through 2030 is $665 billion. The demand is especially high in sectors such as industrial energy efficiency, solar, green buildings, electric transport, waste, and climate-smart agriculture.
IFC is working to grow its climate-related investments to an annual average of 35 percent of its own-account long-term commitment volume between 2021 and 2025. Further, as part of the World Bank Group's upcoming Climate Change Action Plan— IFC will align 85% of new direct investments with the goals of the Paris Agreement starting on July 1, 2023, and 100% of all new investments starting on July 1, 2025.
To ensure the region's transition to a low-carbon economy, financial institutions will need support to integrate climate and development while offering new financial products. A recent IFC survey of over 100 financial institutions and banking associations from 16 countries in the region shows that nearly 70 percent of respondents lack a targeted strategy to develop their climate business and that the main barrier is insufficient knowledge.
In response, the Green Banking Academy will offer knowledge, specialized training programs, and tailored advisory services to help banks speed up their green transformation. The program will also offer virtual and offline knowledge sharing events on current topics relating to climate finance with internationally renowned experts.
The program in ECA is built upon best practices and the success of IFC's Green Banking Academy in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was launched in 2018. Since then, the Academy has trained over 5,000 bankers and facilitated $1.1 billion in climate loans (FY 2019-2020).
"While we see a growing demand for climate finance from the private sector, the vast majority of financial institutions in the region could be more active in the green space," said Vittorio Di Bello, IFC's Regional Head of Industry for Financial Institutions in Europe and Central Asia. "IFC's Green Banking Academy is a unique platform that will allow financial institutions to build knowledge, access strategic training, and high-quality advisory support to realize the existing green finance market potential."
The efforts are part of the Europe and Central Asia Climate-Smart Finance Facilitation Program, which aims to help increase the availability of agricultural finance in emerging markets, supporting countries in their efforts to tackle climate change.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
For more information about the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, visit: http://english.bmf.gv.at