Energy efficiency presents an enormous potential to mitigate climate change while contributing to sustainable development and resource efficiency. According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency accounts for 49% of the measures needed to stay in line with a 2°C degrees scenario globally (and 56 % in G20 countries). It also generates multiple benefits including local jobs, increased productivity and competitiveness of companies, improvements in air quality and health, energy access and energy security. A significant scaling up of investment in energy efficiency is urgently needed to meet global objectives.

The UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is engaged in cross-cutting work on energy efficiency finance, with investors, banks and insurers, steering international policy dialogues including in the G20 and with the European Commission. In parallel, UNEP FI reaches out to financial institutions, individually or through various networks, to support this developing work, give more importance to energy efficiency, and scale up their energy efficiency financing.

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

  • Promotion of Energy Efficiency Finance in the G20
  • Global mobilization of investors and banks on energy efficiency
  • Policy dialogue at the European level – the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG)
  • Exchange of information between financial institutions from all world regions – the UNEP FI Energy Efficiency Finance Platform

UNEP FI is also a member in committees of several peer initiatives on the topic:

  • In the Advisory Committee of the project led by the European Mortgage Federation and European Covered Bond Council (EMF-ECBC) on energy efficiency mortgages,
  • In the Low Carbon Buildings Technical Working Group of the Climate Bond Initiative

Promoting Energy Efficiency Investment in the G20

The topic of energy efficiency and its financing entered the G20 agenda with the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan at the 2014 G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane. The Internal Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) was mandated to support the G20 energy efficiency collaboration and it coordinates a work stream dedicated to finance, the Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (EEFTG). Co-chaired by France and Mexico, EEFTG currently counts 15 member countries and aims to create awareness on the need to scale up energy efficiency investments and put in place supportive policy environments. UNEP FI is part of the Secretariat of this working group, along with the co-Chairs, IPEEC, and Climate & Strategy Partners. As the global partnership between United Nations Environment and the financial sector, UNEP FI 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.

EEFTG has developed G20 Voluntary Energy Efficiency Investment Principles for Participating Countries, a policy framework to catalyze public and private investments in energy efficiency. These five principles were welcomed by the G20 Energy Ministers in their 2015 Communiqué. Under its G20 Presidency, China put the spotlight on energy efficiency with the proposal of new G20 energy efficiency strategy. Adopted in June 2016 by G20 countries, the Energy Efficiency Leading Program refers to the Voluntary Energy Efficiency Investment Principles, consolidating their impact. The topic of energy efficiency investment was also specifically mentioned in the 2016 Energy Communiqué.

EEFTG 2016 Activity Report
EEFTG 2015 Activity Report

As a further major development, the G20 EEFTG released the G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit in 2017, which provides a collaborative architecture for countries to exchange best practices in scaling up energy efficiency investment and aims to establish a structured dialogue between private financial institutions, public development banks and policy-makers. The Toolkit was referenced in the G20 Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth adopted at the G20 summit 2017 in Hamburg.

For the Japanese presidency of the G20 in 2019, UNEP FI and IPEEC are jointly hosting the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology in Tokyo, Japan, on June 12th 2019. Further information on the event available here. Financial institutions interested to participate in this landmark, invitation-only event, please contact Martin Schoenberg (martin.schoenberg (at) un.org).

Global mobilization of financial institutions (G20, COP)

In conjunction with several partners, UNEP FI is leading a global mobilization of banks and investors committing to enhance their energy efficiency financing activities. Initiated in 2015, this mobilization gathers investors managing more than USD 4 trillion of assets and over 120 banks from over 40 countries. Unprecedented in nature and scale, this initiative is promoted in the G20 process, COPs and other international platforms in order to send a strong signal on the interest and readiness of the private financial sector to scale up energy efficiency investments. It also allows to constitute a community of committed financial institutions among which to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing and disseminate of best practices to increase energy efficiency financing.

Investors

Supported by investors managing more than USD 4 trillion of assets, the G20 Energy Efficiency Investor Statement highlights six areas where investors can act to increase energy efficiency in their portfolios of investments in companies (as shareholders) and/or directly in projects. UNEP FI partnered with CERES and the PRI for the first global mobilization on the topic.

Banks

In 2015, UNEP FI has partnered with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to reach out to commercial banks on energy efficiency. Launched at a dedicated event in Istanbul before COP21, the Statement by Financial Institutions on Energy Efficiency and has since then received the support of more than 120 banks from more than 40 countries. This sends a highly positive message from banks on the increasing relevance of energy efficiency finance for all countries to mitigate climate change and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Chinese banks joining the mobilization

Policy dialogue at the European level

Energy efficiency is crucial to the EU’s climate and energy strategy and provides attractive opportunities for financial institutions. Presently, however, there is largely insufficient public and private investment in energy efficiency in buildings, industry and SMEs. In 2013, UNEP FI initiated a policy/finance dialogue with the European Commission as co-convener of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institution Group (EEFIG), which gathered over 100 participants, to discuss the barriers and drivers of energy efficiency financing in buildings, industry and SMEs. The first phase of that work led to the publication of a landmark report in 2015 “Energy Efficiency – The first fuel for the EU economy” formulating key recommendations to policy makers and financial institutions, for buildings and for industry/SMEs, to overcome existing challenges and scale up energy efficiency investments across the EU. In a second phase started in 2016, the ‘Energy Efficiency De-risking Project’ was launched to develop an open source database on performance monitoring and benchmarking of energy efficiency investments. The aim of the De-Risking Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP) is to strengthen the trust of financial institutions as well as of policy-makers in energy efficiency investment opportunities.

The de-risking project recently developed a common risk and value appraisal framework, the EEFIG Underwriting Toolkit.

Executive Summary of the Report
Full report: Energy Efficiency – The first fuel for the EU economy

In late 2018, the European Commmission and UNEP FI launched the third phase of EEFIG. For its third phase, EEFIG will adopt a flexible working group format which will both continue maintaining the valuable assets produced during the second phase, such as the DEEP database and the Underwriting Toolkit, and focus on new emerging issues which link closely with the EU’s sustainable finance agenda: these include a new working group on the development of an energy efficiency taxonomy and of green tagging, as well as a new working group on the relationship between energy efficiency improvements and loan performance. The third phase of EEFIG was launched during a plenary session in late February 2019, alongside the first meeting of the new steering commitee which will be providing strategic direction to EEFIG.

UNEP FI is also closely associated and supporting other follow-up work post EEFIG report:

  • With banks at European level, UNEP FI brings its support and experience by participating in the Advisory Committee of the EMF-ECBC project on energy efficient mortgages.
  • UNEP FI is also partnering with the European Commission in organising a series of regional conferences within Europe which bring best practices to boost large-scale capital provision for energy efficiency (Sustainable Energy Investment Forums)

UNEP FI Energy Efficiency Finance Platform

UNEP FI has set up the Energy Efficiency Finance Platform (see brochure), which offers information exchange on leading practices between financial institutions from all world regions. The Platform will benefit from the inputs of leading financial institutions, recognised as knowledge partners, but is available to the entire UNEP FI membership. The platform launched on March 28th 2019.

18 October 2019

Taking stock of energy efficiency finance and investment by the G20: new report from UNEP FI and IPEEC presents leading practice

Building on the outcomes of the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology which was held in Tokyo on June 12 2019, the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (G20 EEFTG) has collated leading practices by financial institutions and participating member countries in scaling up the energy efficiency investment market to…

12 June 2019

Senior financiers, investors and policy-makers agree importance of boosting energy efficiency investment at official G20 side event

Tokyo, Japan, 12 June 2019 – At the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology, the CEOs of major pension funds, insurance companies, and senior financiers joined G20 policy-makers in assessing how to close the world´s energy efficiency investment gap. The summit is an official side-event to the 2019 Japanese Presidency of…

24 May 2019

UNEP FI and IPEEC publish agenda of the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology

In order for G20 economies to achieve sustainable, low-carbon growth and development, increasing investments into energy efficiency, innovation and broader clean energy technologies is key. The G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology will take stock of global finance and investments into energy efficiency, innovation and low-carbon technologies, with the energy…

25 April 2019

UNEP FI and IPEEC announce the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology

  Leading financial institutions and G20 policy-makers will meet to respond to the urgency of scaling up energy efficiency investment to address the world´s clean energy policy objectives at an official side-event to the Japanese presidency of the G20. The International Partnership on Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP…

19 December 2017

Blog: Argentina announces energy efficiency as priority for its G20 presidency

  19th December, 2017 UNEP FI has been engaging with the new Argentinian G20 presidency via the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group, of which UNEP FI is part of the secretariat. In his latest blog, UNEP FI’s Martin Schoenberg reports on the importance Argentina is placing on the role of energy efficiency continuing the…

15 October 2017

Blog: How a focus on investing in energy efficiency to achieve Paris Climate Agreement goals is transforming the Mexican energy sector

The Mexican economy has traditionally been strongly driven by revenues from fossil fuels. The Paris Climate Agreement and a realisation in Mexico that new and clean sources of energy and energy savings will reduce volatility and enable a more precitable domestic energy system have triggered a fundamental transformation of the Mexican energy sector, writes UNEP…

20 July 2017

Blog: Investing in Energy Efficiency gets a boost at G20 Hamburg summit

Energy efficiency has been sitting at the core of sustainability discussions within the G20 for several years, and has emerged as a key consensus area across the G20 countries. UNEP FI’s Martin Schoenberg provides his take on what the recent G20 summit means for energy efficiency investment going forward, and the role of the G20 Energy…

22 June 2017

EEFIG Underwriting Toolkit provides common framework to boost energy efficiency investment

The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) Underwriting Toolkit launched on June 22nd 2017, during the EU Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels. EEFIG is a partnership between UNEP FI and the European Commission. The report provides a common framework for financial institutions, project developers and hosts of energy efficiency projects such as companies and consumers to…

6 June 2017

G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit presented at Clean Energy Ministerial in China

The 8th Clean Energy Ministerial in China saw the Asian launch of the G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit to a packed audience of policy-makers, cleantech entrepreneurs, investors and financiers. The Clean Energy Ministerials are senior-level meetings dedicated to accelerating the global clean energy transition. The Asian launch was was organised by the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task…

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12 June 2019 | Tokyo, Japan

Join us in Tokyo at the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology

Co-hosted by UNEP FI and IPEEC, and as an official side event to the G20 Presidency of Japan, the G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology will be held in Tokyo, Japan on June 12th. Join fellow financial institutions and senior G20 policy-makers in addressing the urgency of scaling up energy efficiency investment to deliver on the world's agreed policy objectives for a clean energy transition.

9 January 2019 | Webinar

Webinar: Energy efficiency taxonomy and green tagging: Participate in first EEFIG working group

This webinar will help financial institutions understand the main topics and process for applying to participate in the first working group set up by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) in its third phase: the working group on the development of an EE taxonomy and green tagging to inform the EU´s Sustainable Finance Technical Expert Group (TEG).

21 May 2018 | EE Global, UN City, Copenhagen (Denmark)

Financing for efficient buildings: Learning from G20 and GlobalABC

In order to realise the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the energy transition, the global building stock needs to be made zero emission, efficient and resilient. As the world adds the equivalent of the floor space of the city of Paris in new construction every week, there is an urgent challenge to bring together those who finance this large amount of new construction with the policy-makers who can enable new construction finance to evolve towards zero emissions.

31 May 2018 | Athens, Greece

Financing energy efficiency in Greece and Cyprus

This event, organised by the European Commission in partnership with UNEP FI and the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy aims to share best practices from Greece and Cyprus as well as further countries on how energy efficiency investments can be financed, including through private sources of capital.

11 December 2017 | Paris, France

Energy efficiency in buildings: how to accelerate investments?

This high-level conference will take stock, two years after COP 21, of the significant committments by banks and investors on energy efficiency and identify ways to scale up energy efficiency investment. The event will culminate in a high-level segment with UNEP FI member CEO representation and occurs the day before the summit organised by the French President on the Paris Agreement.

26 September 2017 | Webinar

Webinar: Deployment of Energy Efficient Mortgages in Europe

The European Union's Energy Union Framework Strategy includes energy efficiency as one of its five dimensions and states it is to be considered as an energy source in its own right. The ambitious Paris climate agreement also underlines the importance of energy efficiency. To realise its full potential, public funds will not suffice and private financing will have to be unlocked on a large scale. This webinar, organised in partnership with the European Commission, will discuss the use of energy efficient mortgages in Europe. Register by 22 September 2017.

28 September 2017 | Dublin, Ireland

Financing Energy Efficiency in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom

The event aims to share best practice from the Republic of Ireland, the UK and further afield on how energy efficiency can be financed through private funds and innovative financing instruments, notably in the building and SME sectors. Speakers will focus on practical experience in developing, structuring and financing energy efficiency investment programmes.

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G20 Energy Efficiency Finance and Investment 2019 Stocktake Report

Banks, investors, insurers and regulators are increasingly analyzing and adapting their financial strategies taking into account the risks and opportunities presented by the clean energy transition. Investments in renewable energy are currently a standard practice for most financial institutions. Investments in energy efficiency are also growing, yet their transaction size is small in comparison. Nevertheless,…

EEFIG Underwriting Toolkit – Value and Risk Appraisal For Energy Efficiency Financing

The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) Underwriting Toolkit provides a common framework for financial institutions, project developers and hosts of energy efficiency projects such as companies and consumers to scale up their deployment of capital into energy efficiency. EEFIG is a partnership between UNEP FI and the European Commission. The multiple stakeholders involved in energy…

G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit

Each year, governments, financial institutions, companies and consumers around the world are investing more than USD 221 billion into capital expenditure in buildings, industry and transport, to improve energy efficiency. For G20 countries, who are responsible for over 80% of primary energy consumption and 80% of green house gas emissions globally, energy efficiency and improved…