EIB Provides Iren with €150 Million in Sustainability-Linked Financing to Improve Water Service in Genoa and La Spezia
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- The operation aims to strengthen the water distribution network, wastewater collection and sewage treatment plants for 1 million people and to improve the sector’s drought resilience.
- It is the first time the EIB has granted sustainability-linked financing to the water sector anywhere in the world.
- Italy was the biggest beneficiary of EIB resources for the water sector from 2016 to 2022, receiving €2.9 billion.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted €150 million in sustainability-linked financing to Iren, north-western Italy’s multiutility leader and one of the country’s largest water service operators. The goal of the financing is to improve integrated water services for 1 million people in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia, mitigating the ongoing water crisis through careful management of water resources.
In concrete terms, the planned investment aims to strengthen the water distribution network, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment plants in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia, helping to ensure compliance with the main EU regulations. Operations are also planned to improve the resilience of the water service to drought, via investment promoting network efficiency and the rehabilitation of water storage.
The innovative EIB financing has a build-in margin adjustment based on Iren achieving certain key performance indicators linked to the reduction of water losses. It is one of the first green loans the EU bank has granted to the water sector anywhere in the world.
See related article: Toivo Group Receives €60 Million Financing From EIB for Energy-Efficient Buildings
The EIB is the EU climate bank and one of the world’s largest lenders to the water sector, with over 1 600 projects and around €80 billion in funding granted since 1958. Italy was the biggest beneficiary of EIB resources for the water sector from 2016 to 2022. The EIB financed 40 operations in the country during this period, providing a total of €2.9 billion and helping to unlock €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.”
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