Sustainable business practices and social innovation are primary areas of focus for Anna Clark. In addition to her independent writing and journalism on these topics, she also produces content for organizations that align with her mission. Energized is a client storybook that Anna wrote for International Finance Corporation, which chronicles lessons learned by 13 banks along their journeys into sustainable energy finance.
Across the globe, businesses, industries and homeowners are responding to the urgent need to use resources more efficiently to manage the impacts of climate change. This need is critical in developing countries, which will generate most of the world’s economic growth, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades. Resource efficiency projects vary in size and cost, but are equal in their importance.
IFC’s partner banks are financing solutions that help small businesses capture cost savings through equipment and process improvements. Green building improvements also help homeowners reduce utility bills. Increasingly, banks are financing resource efficiency solutions in energy-intensive industries like steel and cement, and water-intensive sectors such as textile manufacturing. They are also making energy accessible for off-grid electricity customers and providing alternatives to dirty power sources like diesel and coal.
But there are obstacles, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While sustainable energy projects pay for themselves through savings, businesses and project developers are often unable to find financing to implement them. Banks are hesitant to loan to energy efficiency projects with SME clients because they tend to be smaller and can carry higher transaction costs. Renewable energy projects can involve higher up-front investments and typically require longer tenors.
To address this market need and bridge the knowledge gap, IFC provides partner banks with innovative transaction support combined with technical expertise. This approach helps to mitigate perceived risks, allowing IFC client banks to enter new market segments and scale up more sustainable energy solutions for end borrowers.
The 13 client journeys in this collection include lessons in sustainable energy finance. They highlight the importance of sharing sustainable energy knowledge with bank staff and clients, and the value of marketing campaigns in capturing public attention. These stories have value for IFC investment and advisory staff, financial partners and future clients, and for donors and other external stakeholders.