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Work Streams


Energy Efficiency



UNEP FI and partners mobilise over 140 financial institutions to scale up global investment in energy efficiency

The unprecedented mobilisation of over 100 banks from 42 countries and investors managing close to USD 4 trillion supporting two specific Statements to increase energy efficiency finance was presented at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. It highlights the fast growing awareness of the relevance of energy efficiency to remain under a 2°C Scenario, while also serving sustainable development goals.

The topic is relevant for all countries, and benefits from the first G20 dedicated work led by the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group which proposed investment principles for countries to provide more investment-enabling conditions that were welcomed by the G20 energy ministers. Committed to promote the topic over the last 3 years, UNEP FI has joined forces with other initiatives to enable the broadest mobilization of financial institutions and bring their positive contribution to the COP.

Presentation of the mobilization of financial institutions to scale-up energy efficiency finance at the COP Building Day


Energy efficiency represents a huge potential to meet some of the challenges linked to sustainable development and climate change. According to the International Energy Agency, increasing energy efficiency accounts globally for 49% of the measures needed to achieve the emission peak and meet the +2 degrees target. Energy efficiency is also relevant for sustainable economic development and offers multiple benefits including local job creation, increased productivity and competitiveness for companies, reduction of pollution, improvements in health, energy access and energy security. A significant scaling up of global investment in energy efficiency is urgently needed.

UNEP FI has engaged in cross-cutting work on energy efficiency finance, with investors and banks, through several international policy dialogues and initiatives. UNEP FI initiated its policy/finance work on energy efficiency with the European Commission in 2013, taking advantage of an ambitious European Union Energy Efficiency Directive in late 2012, and of the willingness of the UNEP FI Property Working Group members to contribute to such policy work. The aim was to tackle systemic issues, contribute to an investment-enabling environment and the scale up of investments, while discussing the issues of both supply and demand for energy efficiency finance. Building on this, UNEP FI began working at a more global level at the end of 2014, when the G20 launched an Energy Efficiency Action, and mandated the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) to manage its six work streams. UNEP FI is now part of the Secretariat of the work stream dedicated to finance, the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (EEFTG). In parallel to the international collaboration work between countries, UNEP FI is reaching out to investors and banks, as individual institutions or through various networks, in an open and collaborative fashion, for them to support this developing work, give increased importance to energy efficiency, and commit to scale up its financing, on the road to the G20 Summit, COP21 and beyond.

UNEP FI’s main areas of work on energy efficiency finance include:


Global mobilisation of financial institutions (G20 Summit, COP21)

Under the Australian G20 presidency, energy efficiency was put on the G20 agenda through the Energy Efficiency Action Plan launched at the 2014 G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane. The Internal Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) has been mandated to coordinate the six work streams, including one dedicated to finance. The work previously co-led by UNEP FI at the European level contributed to the G20 Energy Efficiency finance Task Group (EEFTG), which has the same initial scope (buildings and SMEs/industry). Countries participate on a voluntary basis. The EEFTG counts 13 countries amongst its members. UNEP FI is part of the Secretariat of this three-year working group, along with France and Mexico as co-chairs, IPEEC, and Climate & Strategy Partners.

The ultimate goal of this work is to create visibility and awareness about energy efficiency, and its critical economic, developmental and environmental benefits for G20 countries. EEFTG works both at policy and finance levels, to remove common barriers, and to promote international cooperation. UNEP FI, as the global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the financial sector, is a credible partner to represent the financial sector in this policy dialogue, reaching out to its members globally, as well as to peer finance networks.


One year after its launch, the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan has progressed in its implementation through its six work streams as highlighted by the 2015 Report to the G20. The Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group conducted five multi-stakeholder consultations in different key geographies and produced a report with a series of case studies of energy efficiency investments. It also prepared Energy Efficiency Investment Principles for countries, aiming to contribute to the establishment of more investment-enabling policy environments.

In their Communiqué, the G20 Energy Ministers have welcomed the ‘Voluntary Energy Efficiency Investment Principles for G20 participating countries’ highlighted in the 2-pager below.

2-pager Energy efficiency Investment Principles
G20 Energy Ministerial Communiqué
Press Release


UNEP FI has contributed to the development of a 'G20 Energy Efficiency Investors Statement' highlighting six areas where investors can act to increase energy efficiency in their portfolios. UNEP FI is reaching out to investors to mobilise their support, and send the positive signal from the financial sector to the policy-makers on the importance of the topic, on the road to the G20, COP21 and beyond.

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has joined UNEP FI to support this Statement, and a momentum has been created with many networks disseminating the information and inviting their members to join this mobilisation.

For further information and if you wish to support the Statement, please contact Annie Degen at annie.degen (at) unep.org

G20 Investor Statement

Commercial Real Estate: Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit investment opportunity - Publication of the PWG on investing in EE property


UNEP FI has partnered with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to reach out to commercial banks on energy efficiency. The start of this joint work was a two-day event dedicated to the topic in mid-September 2015 in Istanbul. It provided the opportunity to over 200 participants to exchange information on the integration of energy efficiency finance into their bank strategies and business operations.

A Statement by Financial Institutions on Energy Efficiency was launched at the Istanbul event and received the support of over 100 banks from more than 40 countries by the COP 21 in Paris. This global mobilization sends a positive message from banks on the increasing relevance of energy efficiency finance for all countries in the fight against climate change and the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Policy dialogue at the European level

In 2013, UNEP FI initiated a policy dialogue with the European Commission as co-convener of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institution Group (EEFIG), gathering over 100 participants, on the financing of energy efficiency in buildings and SMEs. Energy efficiency investment is the most cost-effective manner to reduce the EU’s reliance and expenditure on energy, while also de-carbonizing the energy system. Energy Efficiency also meets the EU’s climate and energy strategy as well as providing attractive financial opportunities for real estate investors. Presently, however, there is largely insufficient public and private investment in energy efficiency in buildings, industry and SMEs.

The outcome of Phase I of this work was released in February 2015 in the report "Energy Efficiency – The first fuel for the EU economy". The report analyses the drivers of supply and demand of energy efficiency finance as well as the most imminent challenges. It formulates key recommendations to policy makers and financial institutions, on a sector-by-sector level, to scale up energy efficiency investments across the EU.

Future work is expected under a Phase II, based on the recommendations of the report. It also includes an active dissemination of the work achieved under Phase I, both within the European Commission, within the financial sector, and at Member State level.



Energy Efficiency Publications
  PDF Over 100 Financial Institutions mobilized to increase energy efficiency finance
(971 KB | 4 pages)
  Statements from financial institutions and G20 investors on energy efficiency  
  PDF G20 Energy Efficiency Investor Statement
(563 KB | 1 pages)
  Statement supporting energy efficiency activities and its financing  
  PDF Statement by Financial Institutions on Energy Efficiency
(216 KB | 1 pages)
  PDF Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy
(2.7 MB | 127 pages)
  How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments - Final Report covering Buildings, Industry and SMEs
Executive Summary
  PDF Commercial Real Estate: Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit investment opportunity
(670 KB | 32 pages)
  A briefing on why investors should invest in retrofit opportunities.
Japanese version
Press release
Event page
  MoreAll Publications