European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Nature based solutions

This page is part of the E3G Public Bank Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs.

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Paris alignmentReasoning
UnalignedBiodiversity safeguards in place but few commitments in other areas.

Explanation

Nature based solutions

There appears to be little publicly available information with regards to how the EBRD considers nature based solutions within its climate strategy. A joint MDB report on climate resilience metrics which was led by EBRD contained one short reference to “ecosystem based [climate] adaptation”.

Biodiversity

The EBRD’s Environmental and Social Policy requires project promoters to consider “the project’s potential impacts on ecosystem services, including those that could be exacerbated by climate change”. It also states that “clients are required to ensure that relevant projects include measures to safeguard and, where feasible, enhance ecosystems and the biodiversity they support with the aim of achieving no net loss of biodiversity” (emphasis ours). It recommends that project promoters consider “alternative project locations, techniques or processes, adoption of renewable or low carbon energy sources, sustainable agricultural, forestry and livestock management practices” when considering ways to reduce GHG emissions. Finally, it also states that “where feasible, the client will locate land-based agribusiness projects on unforested land or land that has already been converted from its natural state to minimise impacts to priority biodiversity features and/or critical habitat”.

In 2020, the EBRD signed the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles.

Agriculture

Guidelines on the implementation of the EBRD’s previous Green Economy Transition strategy listed a series of activities in the field of agriculture (as well as forestry and land use) as possible investments. This includes activities to reduce energy use in agriculture, the improvement of carbon pools and reduction in non-CO2 emissions from agriculture (including methane emissions from livestock). This does include support for the production of biofuels if net emissions reductions can be demonstrated. The EBRD’S Agribusiness Sector Strategy does recognise that an increasing demand for animal protein requires the high environmental cost its production be taken into account. A focus area of the sector strategy is to “support nutrition through alternative crops (e.g. alternative proteins)”. However. it is unclear what steps the EBRD has taken to promote sustainable protein, or to respond to animal protein consumption as a systemic driver of biodiversity loss, deforestation and increasing agricultural emissions.

Forests

The EBRD does not appear to have excluded commercial logging in primary tropical rainforests, but this is likely to be because there are no such forests in its region of operation.

Recommendation: With its potential forthcoming expansion into sub-Saharan Africa, the EBRD should consider adopting such an exclusion of tropical rainforest logging and going further and setting a target of net zero deforestation.

The EBRD is actively involved in a wide variety of projects, which involve wood or related forestry products as well as investing in biomass energy projects using forest resources for fuel supply. However, specific figures for the scale of EBRD’s forest-related investment were not available. EBRD requires its clients to adhere to standards to ensure that all wood used is of legal and sustainable origin and that it does not originate from protected areas or forests with a high biodiversity value. EBRD’s activities are mainly focused on the private sector but further research would be needed to provide an overall assessment.

Recommendation: For Paris aligned, fully commit to (net-) zero deforestation. Strengthen reference to nature based adaptation solutions for the EBRD regions.

Last Update: December 2020

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