The EIB's activity in the environmental field is extensive with staff involvement to match, in particular operational staff working on the environmental assessment of projects.
Environmental protection and improvement are among the EIB's key lending objectives. The target of the Bank is to ensure that between a quarter and a third of all loans, with the exception of global loans, in the European Union and the Accession Countries support environmental projects. In addition, the EIB assesses the environmental impact of any other investment project the Bank considers for financing. Regularly, new environmental areas are being added to the Bank's activity. As the European Union's policy-driven bank, EIB is often called on to support new European policy initiatives.
The EIB's environmental work is therefore increasingly varied and complex. To ensure a sustained high standard of its environmental approach and activities and its capacity to react adequately to new environmental remits and operational challenges, EIB has reinforced its environmental organization as from the 1st of January 2002. Three interlinked bodies have been established, built upon and integrated into the existing environmental structure.
Three environmental bodies
The objective of the new structure is to continue to ensure a high quality to environmental assessment and policy developments.
The Environmental Assessment Group (ENVAG) is
- a permanent expert group within the Projects Directorate.
- ENVAG comprises seven senior engineers and economists specializing in the sectors of transport and other infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, waste management, industry and services, mining and health as well as the members of the Environmental Unit (ENVU).
- it is responsible for helping to develop and to promote the application of the Bank's environmental policies and procedures throughout the project cycle.
- an ENVAG member is assigned to every project that is appraised by the Projects Directorate (distinct from the normal project team that remains responsible for environmental work on a specific project). He or she supports the environmental assessment carried out by members of the project team and provides a quality control function.
- ENVAG is chaired by PJ's Environmental Coordinator Peter Carter and reports to PJ's Director General.
The Environmental Unit (ENVU) is
- charged with horizontal EIB-wide functions, notably the general development and monitoring of the enforcement of the Bank's environmental policies and procedures.
- ENVU is also involved in information dissemination and environmental training.
- PJ's Environmental Coordinator is Head of ENVU.
- the Unit is located in the Policy Support Department of PJ.
Reinforcing the strengths of the existing organization
The Environmental Steering Committee (ENVSC) is
- an inter-Directorate Committee made up of senior representatives (Directors General or their alternates) of the various services of the Bank involved in environmental matters, including the Projects Directorate, the Directorates for Lending Operations, the Secretariat General, Legal Services and Ex-post Operations Evaluation.
- ENVSC is responsible for addressing strategic environmental issues, as well as individual projects that may be particularly difficult and/or risky from an environmental point of view.
- in addition, the Steering Committee provides high level direction and advice to the Management Committee on the EIB's environmental policy. At the level of the Bank's Management Committee, Vice-President Peter Sedgwick has lead responsibility for the environment.
- ENVSC is chaired by Constantin Christofidis, Director in the Projects Directorate. PJ's Environmental Coordinator advises the chairman, with ENVU providing the secretariat.
The new arrangements draw on internal as well as external expertise and resources, as appropriate. A key role is played by the Projects Directorate (PJ), which consists of some 75 high level sectoral specialists with international experience, including environmental engineers and economists. These people have technical, analytical, sector and subject specific environmental skills. They integrate environmental issues in their work, covering the areas of infrastructure, energy, waste management, industry, services and telecommunications.
PJ is responsible for the technical appraisal of projects, including assessing environmental implications of an investment, in particular that a satisfactory impact assessment has been carried out and appropriate measures are to be implemented. All EIB supported projects are assessed from an environmental point of view. The provision of an EIB loan in the European Union and the Accession Countries is conditional on the project promoter meeting all relevant national and EU environmental legislation, such as the Union's EIA Directive. Elsewhere, EU standards are used as a benchmark for judging a project's environmental acceptability for the Bank.
The PJ sector specialists do not work in isolation; they form part of multidisciplinary appraisal teams with colleagues from other disciplines (notably financial and legal experts). The full integration of the various disciplines in these teams has resulted in a solid professional record.
The new structure will bolster the Bank's support for promoting the European Union's environmental policy and sustainable development, ensure that all activities funded by the Bank take environmental considerations into account in an optimal manner and provide the basis for EIB's value added service on environmental matters.
The role of EIB's sector specialists with environmental expertise in the Project Directorate and their participation in the multidisciplinary appraisal teams helps to strengthen the integration of environmental considerations in the appraisal procedures and the overall project cycle.