EU investment bank highlights role of circular economy in Covid-19 recovery

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s public financing institution, has said a circular economy will play an important role in the economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis as it launched new guidance for supporting the transition.

The bank said that despite the crisis, it still aims to align its financing with the objectives of the Paris climate agreement by the end of the year. “The circular economy will play an important role in a green recovery following the coronavirus pandemic,” said vice-president Emma Navarro, echoing environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius who said recently that the commission’s updated plan should be used as a “new structure for rebuilding the economy” following the crisis.

Navarro cited the circular economy’s potential to create jobs and business opportunities while conserving resources, increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

The updated guidance takes into account the European Commission’s circular economy action plan published in March, and its categorisation system report. 

Following the publication of the new commission plan, which focused on widening ecodesign rules beyond energy performance to include aspects such as durability and repairability, the EIB said it would support the transition to a circular economy in both the EU and other parts of the world.

As well as details of eligibility criteria for EIB financing, the new guidance includes a revised section on circular economy categories and project types, a new section for cities, and additional case studies. 

The guide aims to promote a common understanding of the circular economy among the bank’s financial and project partners, raise awareness, facilitate and harmonise due diligence and reporting, and outline EIB’s vision. 

According to the document, between 2015 and 2019, the EIB agreed €2.5bn of finance for circular economy projects, 30% of which were in industry and services, 24% in waste management, 18% in agriculture and bioeconomy, and 14% in water management.

Follow-up: EIB guidance

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