European Investment Bank tackling climate change worldwide

Global Landscapes Forum
16 March 2016
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“I have been able to buy clothes, feed and educate my kids. I have I have even started building an extension to my house,” Yolanda says proudly.

Yolanda is one of several producers around Quito in Ecuador,  supplying goldenberries to Terrafertil – a climate positive business supported by the European Investment Bank via the EcoEnterprises Fund.

The EIB’s equity investment in EcoEnterprises Fund, a pioneering impact fund with a largely women-owned management team, is a clear example of this. EIB was a lead investor in the Fund, providing instrumental support and helping it grow to its current base of 22 investors and more than US $35 million in committed capital.

Terrafertil shows how climate finance can be put to use in an increasingly flexible and innovative way: helping local people  in the front line of climate change to make a living, tacking the challenge at a global and grassroots level. Organic agricultural practices are seen as critical to climate change adaption and innovative companies such as Terrafertil will help lead the way. The company works with small producers in Ecuador and Colombia and provides employment for 324 local people – many of them women.

This film follows Chris Knowles on a whistle stop to Terrafertil near Quito and to Runa in the Amazon – another business supported by the EIB and the Ecoenterprises Fund.  Runa is the first company to market and produce drinks from the leaves of the guayusa tree, a local Amazonian species. This provides a source of income for around 2,600 small local farmers, mainly from the Kichwa community.

As the IPCC notes, smallholder farms can increase food security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Runa also helps create an interest in protecting and nurturing the forest – which of course acts as a huge carbon-sink for battling climate change. The company is committed to environmental protection, and its foundation is carrying out important agroforestry research.

The EIB is the world’s biggest provider of climate finance. It is probably best known for raising private money on the markets for big projects – for example for big wind and solar projects. But with a new climate change strategy agreed at the Bank , there has been a slight change of tack and a stepping up of effort. By 2020 the EIB plans to step up its climate financing for developing countries to 35% from 25%.

The EIB is focusing more on helping communities on the frontline to adapt – underscoring the crucial link between development, environment, and climate. This also requires a different approach to financing with the Ecoenterprises Fund and its companies a prime example of this.

As Chris Knowles, the EIB’s head of Climate Operations says, “I am rather proud of our support for projects like this. These investments are small in scale, big in impact.”