Environmental protection

Citizens worldwide increasingly face the effects of environmental degradation in their daily lives. The European Investment Bank, the EU's climate bank, is taking action to preserve natural resources and protect the environment for future generations.

We invest in projects in over 160 countries by providing lending and advisory expertise. Our support acts as a catalyst to mobilise private finance by encouraging other public and private investors to match our long-term investment. All our projects are carefully checked for alignment with our environmental and social principles and standards, to ensure they conform with our corporate responsibility commitments.

Sustainable transport, including transport safety

We encourage a shift away from private transport by investing in sustainable public transport solutions. We support sustainable shipping, road, air safety and other transport projects which aim to:

  • facilitate growth and job creation
  • cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce noise pollution
  • improve air quality
  • promote safety

Nature and biodiversity

Nature and biodiversity are essential for life. Approximately half of the world’s GDP is generated by natural resources. In addition, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis go hand in hand.

We support EU policy for biodiversity preservation by minimising negative impacts and enhancing natural habitats through all our projects. We make prior assessments to measure the biodiversity implications of our actions. We work together with policymakers, companies and civil society to meet biodiversity challenges and increase investment in nature, ecosystem restoration and resilience.

The EIB invests in nature in several ways:

  • we finance projects and support new financial players in the fields of climate and nature;
  • we provide loans to other financial institutions, who act as intermediaries for smaller projects and companies;
  • we invest in funds that leverage private investor interest in support of nature.

Together with the European Commission, we also put in place the Natural Capital Financing Facility, a dedicated instrument to finance biodiversity and nature-based solutions in Europe. 

Forestry, agriculture and urban nature

Forests play a key role in our fight for climate action. They are major carbon stores and help increase resilience against some of the effects of climate change, such as soil erosion and increased flood risk. Our activities support the full forest value chain, including restoration of forests, afforestation and forest industries. We aim to protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, while fostering rural economic growth and employment.

Agriculture both protects natural assets and makes use of them for our well-being. It is also the backbone for local entrepreneurship, employment and social development in many countries around the world. As the EU bank, the EIB supports the rural economy to benefit entrepreneurs and society as a whole, with the aim of promoting environmental sustainability and lowering agriculture’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.

Greening a city has many positive effects: it reduces the risk of floods, tackles the negative effects of heat waves and improves local air and water quality. It also enhances the permeability of soils and limits encroachment on fertile land. Urban nature-based solutions can also strengthen social cohesion and increase overall attractiveness and quality of life. Our support for urban regeneration and nature-based solutions in cities is already improving living conditions for millions of citizens worldwide.

Sustainable Oceans and Blue Economy

Covering more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, oceans and seas play a vital role for the planet’s climate and biodiversity. They also provide food, medicines, renewable energy and natural resources to billions of people around the globe. Since the 1970s, oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Keeping our oceans healthy is crucial for sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. The EIB, as the EU climate bank, is investing in the sustainable blue economy and supporting initiatives to reduce pollution and preserve this natural resource.

Find out more on the dedicated page on Sustainable Oceans and Blue Economy

Depollution including noise, clean air, clean water

Pollution prevention and control are key pillars of EU environmental policy. As the EU bank, we promote an integrated approach to prevention and control of emissions into air, water and soil for the protection of the environment as a whole. and we finance specific depollution projects.

Our standards, which are applied to all projects, provide project promoters with clear requirements for preventing, reducing and, as far as possible, eliminating pollution arising from different activities during the entire project lifecycle - from design to decommissioning. Our environmental and social handbook provides an outline of EIB’s standards.

Water supply and wastewater

We back a diverse range of projects related to the provision and management of water:

  • Water supply
  • Wastewater treatment and disposal
  • Coastal erosion
  • Flood control

We offer long term financing and technical advice, as well as support for research, development and innovation. Most of our water and wastewater activity is located in the EU, but we also support international initiatives such as the ACP-EU Water FacilityHorizon 2020 and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation.

Circular economy and waste management

The EIB supports the transition towards a circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised.

Circular economy projects typically reduce resource consumption and waste generation which results in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Disaster risk management, recovery and reconstruction

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, mudslides, avalanches and landslides, put human lives, ecosystems and economies at risk. Investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction is essential to enhance the resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.

The EIB works on strengthening national and international governance, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction endorsed by the United Nations in 2015, in relation to natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. Our climate strategy promotes a risk management approach to increase the resilience of assets, communities and ecosystems related to EIB projects.

We also support post-disaster reconstruction projects, a critical opportunity to build back better - including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.

Energy

Energy systems need a substantial transformation to meet long-term climate targets and this is an important sector for EIB financing. We focus on:

  • Unlocking energy efficiency: Increased energy efficiency lowers costs of decarbonisation. We typically support projects that include retrofitting and expansion of existing social and urban infrastructure and services.
  • Supporting the decarbonication of energy supply: We focus on the development and expansion of renewable energy projects in Europe and beyond ─ onshore and offshore wind farms, solar, hydropower, geothermal and solid biomass projects, among others – and the development of innovation and enabling infrastructure.
  • Sustainable energy project advice: Many EU towns and regions lack the necessary technical expertise and organisational capacity to implement large energy efficiency and renewables projects. ELENA (“European Local ENergy Assistance”) is there to help. It covers up to 90% of the technical support cost needed to prepare, implement and finance the investment programme. Run by the EIB, it is funded by the European Commission