How can the ICT sector contribute to delivering on climate action?

With €125 billion invested globally in Climate Action (Mitigation and Adaptation) over 2012-2018, the EIB is the largest multi-lateral provider of finance in support of Climate Action worldwide and the Bank remains a major player in terms of both the volume and proportion of its Climate Action. Action Plan 1 (Climate Awareness and High Impact Climate Action) of EIB’s Climate Strategy also seeks to enhance the Bank’s capacity to meet its ambitious Climate Action targets, while balancing and increasing the impact of its Climate Action portfolio. ICT and digital infrastructure investment projects are therefore scrutinised in terms of their contribution to Climate Action, both in terms of volume of climate finance and Climate Action impact. There are however several complex challenges that the Digital Infrastructure Division faces when appraising the Climate Action contribution of their projects. While the role of ICT and digital infrastructure in enabling Climate Action in other sectors is clear, it is difficult to robustly measure and not currently reflected in external or internal Climate Action eligibility criteria. Climate Action eligibility is evolving as Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) seek to align all financial flows with the Paris Agreement. In addition, EIB is seeking to reflect on the work of the EC’s Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance in the evolution of its Climate Action eligibility criteria. This offers an opportunity to review and inform the development of EIB Climate Action eligibility and supporting guidelines; and enable EIB to better take account of the Climate Action contribution of ICT and digital infrastructure investment projects in the appraisal of these projects and stimulate investment in high Climate Action impact in this sector.

This study assesses the (direct and indirect) climate change mitigation and adaptation contribution of digital infrastructure and ICT projects, to inform the development of tools and resources and the evolution of EIB’s eligibility criteria to achieve this goal.

The project is conducted by Trinomics in collaboration with WS Atkins Ltd (lead) and the Carbon Trust. The project will run from October 2019 and will finish by May 2020.

This investigation provided the following preliminary results:

  • Review of international literature and internal EIB documents;
  • Defining a list of key economic sector for conducting sector case studies;
  • Review of EIB climate action eligibility criteria;
  • Assessment of direct climate change effects for EIB investment project types;
  • Conducting sector case studies;
  • Development of climate action impact evaluation models.