• EIB financing for the circular economy reached record level of €1.1 billion in 2022
  • Stronger partnerships on circular economy with multilateral development banks and civil society organisations
  • The EIB is stepping up its advisory activities, in particular to support cities and regions in their circular economy transition and decarbonisation

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is participating in the World Circular Economy Forum 2023 (WCEF 2023), from 30 May to 2 June in Helsinki, Finland. The annual WCEF, a global initiative of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra), presents the world’s leading circular economy solutions with business leaders, policymakers and experts participating from around the world. This year’s edition will focus on the ambitious action to accelerate the circular economy transition and to promote circular solutions for nature and the economy.

During the conference, the EIB, as one of the biggest multilateral providers of climate and environment finance, will present its financing and advisory solutions for circular economy projects, discuss the challenges and opportunities of investing in the circular economy and the role of cities in the transition.

EIB lending to circular economy projects has consistently increased over the years, amounting to €3.4 billion over the past 5 years, with a record level of €1.1 billion alone in 2022. Some recent project lending signatures include venture debt financing with PackBenefit in Spain to accelerate rollout of sustainable food packaging technology, a loan to European waste-to-product business Renewi for new waste sorting and biogas facilities or an equity-investment in the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B to prevent ocean plastic pollution and advance the circular economy in Asia.

Nevertheless, the financing gap remains huge: for the plastics recycling sector alone, the EIB study “Cutting plastics pollution – Financial measures for a more circular value chain” found an estimated investment gap of at least €6.7 billion to achieve Europe’s plastics recycling targets.

The EIB has also been building strong partnerships with multilateral development banks and civil society organisations to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Most notably:

  • We are collaborating with financial institutions within the International Financial Institutions (IFI) circularity exchange network. This collaboration delivered the high-level roadmap proposal “Unlocking the Potential of the International Financial Institutions in the Circular Economy Transition”. To further this collaboration, the directors of leading Multilateral Development Banks will meet at the WCEF2023.
  • We are supporting the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Plastic Initiative. The initiative is working with reuse partners and experts to develop a vision for scaling returnable packaging systems. This work uses future visualisation and analytical modelling to show how scaled reuse systems can perform economically, environmentally, and experientially in comparison to single-use.

Ahead of the WCEF 2023, Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President responsible for financing environment, climate action and the circular economy said: “It is very clear today that there can be no transition to a carbon-neutral economy without a transition to a circular economy, one where we keep resources in use for as long as possible and significantly reduce waste. Financial institutions have an important role to play as one of the drivers of the transition to the circular economy. In the last 5 years, the EIB provided €3.4 billion to co-finance 118 circular economy projects in a variety of sectors and stands ready to do more to help meet the lending needs of its partners in this domain.”

Join the EIB at WCEF 2023

Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle will be a keynote speaker at the Plenary session Money talks – what enables a systemic shift for corporates and investors? on 31 May (09:00-10:00) and Nicola Pochettino, Director of the environment and natural resources department, will speak at the session Unlocking finance for a circular and regenerative economy on 30 May (13:30-16:00).

The EIB is also co-organizing an Accelerator session at the event where it will present the Circular City Center, a competence and resource centre within the EIB that aims to support European cities in their circular economy transition:

If you are on site, come and join us at the EIB stand (#43) at the at the Messukeskus, the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre.

For any interview requests, please reach out to the press contacts below.

For more information about the EIB’s support to the circular economy visit: Circular economy (eib.org)

By launching its Climate Bank Roadmap, the EIB has committed to align all its new operations with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement and to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030.