Investors and banks make key declarations on energy efficiency ahead of G20, COP21 meetings

Energy efficiency is emerging as a major investment and policy issue

Institutional investors and banks are putting their weight behind major campaigns stressing the importance of energy efficiency in the run-up to next month’s G20 leaders’ summit and the following UN climate talks in Paris in December.

Investors representing some US$2.7trn have come together for the G20 Energy Efficiency Investor Statement, saying: “We recognize the need to fully embed energy efficiency into our investment process.”

It has been signed and endorsed by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and Ceres, the US-based advocacy group.

The declaration commits signatories to a six-point programme, including embedding energy efficiency into the evaluation of companies as well as into company engagement and voting. Energy efficiency will also be a factor in the way asset managers are selected, the statement adds.

Meanwhile, some 70 banks have come together as the ‘Alliance of Energy Efficiency Financing Institutions’ in an initiative coordinated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and UNEP FI. Their nine-point declaration notes the banks “are willing to work with” institutional and public financiers seeking to deploy climate finance to their clients.The point person for both initiatives is Annie Degen-Neuville, Special Advisor – Long Term Finance & UNEP FI Energy Efficiency Coordinator, who told RI that both statements are open for support until the COP.

Last month, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), announced it was the lead investor in a new corporate energy productivity project in a sign the issue is being taken up by leading institutional investors.

It all comes as a set of five voluntary energy efficiency investment principles for G20 participating counties have been developed by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), an intergovernmental entity whose secretariat is hosted by the International Energy Agency in Paris.

It’s headed by Benoît Lebot, who – speaking at the first ever G20 Energy Ministers’ meeting in Turkey earlier this month – said this of energy efficiency: “Its benefits are wide-ranging: economic, developmental, environmental, social.

“It means more productivity, more innovation, and more jobs, more prosperity. In other words, energy efficiency speaks the language of the G20.”