Green finance on the agenda: changing the approach of export credit agencies
The role of green finance has been steadily growing in recent years. Whereas in the past it was seen almost exclusively as a CSR activity, nowadays it is a crucial part of the business strategy of financial institutions and its significance is unquestionable.
In line with its international commitments under the Paris Agreement, the European Union has set out a new growth strategy focusing on achieving the transition to climate neutrality, sustainable development and green finance. In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary for the EU to change its own economy, which will entail the adjustment of the financing policy of financial institutions. As a result, export credit agencies (ECAs) change their approach. ECAs integrate climate change and sustainability considerations into their export credit policies facilitating the implementation of green export credits and contributing to sustainable development and the reduction of adverse environmental impacts.
Increasingly popular approaches involve the restriction of unsustainable activities and – in order to achieve a balance –, for projects that contribute to climate change mitigation, more beneficial financing conditions are provided. The above mentioned practice has also been incorporated into the financing policy of EXIM since 1st of January 2021: in order to support clean energy and reduce emission, EXIM has decided to phase out of financing of coal-related activities. The modernization of coal-fired power plants is only exempted from this exclusion if it is aimed at the reduction of emissions and the prevention of pollution.
Although European ECAs had taken green requirements and sustainability into account before, the trend assumed particular significance by the adoption of the European Green Deal. In recent years, financing green activities has become one of the priorities of both the private and the public sector.