EIB grants first green loan to water sector globally, with €150 million to Iren
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, announces that Iren, north-western Italy’s leading multi-utility and one of the country’s largest water service operators, has received €150 million in sustainability-linked financing from the EIB. The financing aims to enhance integrated water services for one million people in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia, helping to mitigate the ongoing water crisis through responsible management of water resources.
The proposed investment intends to reinforce the water distribution network, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment plants in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia, aiming to ensure compliance with the primary EU regulations. The plan also includes strategies to improve the resilience of the water service to drought through investments promoting network efficiency and water storage rehabilitation.
This innovative EIB financing includes an embedded margin adjustment dependent on Iren achieving specific key performance indicators related to the reduction of water losses. It is among the first green loans granted to the water sector globally by the EU bank.
The proposed investment intends to reinforce the water distribution network, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment plants in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia
The EIB, as the EU climate bank, is one of the largest lenders worldwide to the water sector, with over 1,600 projects and approximately €80 billion in funding approved since 1958. From 2016 to 2022, Italy was the leading recipient of EIB resources for the water sector, with the EIB financing 40 operations, providing a total of €2.9 billion and stimulating €8.9 billion in investment.
“This operation confirms the position of the EIB — the EU climate bank — as one of the biggest water sector financers in Italy,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “The sustainability-linked financing granted to Iren aims to foster water loss reduction and shows the innovative nature of EIB financial products helping to combat climate change.”
“The climate emergency and its effects on the water system highlight the need for urgent additional action for the water sector and this new financing from the EIB, with which we have been working closely for many years,” said Iren CEO Gianni Vittorio Armani. “It is a perfect fit as a source of financing to support the recently approved business plan, which includes careful use of water resources under the strategic pillar of the green transition. The group’s objective is to cut water losses from the current 31% to 20% by 2030 by increasing treatment capacity and water reuse, improving existing infrastructure and developing new facilities, delivering positive effects in our areas of operation not only for the environment and the quality of life of residents, but also for the economic and social development of the whole country.”