The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) is an International Financial Institution established by the Nordic Governments in 1990. NEFCO provides results-based green financing.
NEFCO was created – after the collapse of the Soviet Union – in order to support the Nordic countries’ efforts to increase environmental awareness in Eastern and Central Europe by providing financing to projects that reduced emissions harmful to the environment. The reasoning was that it made more sense – financially speaking – to support new investments in line with the environmental priorities of the Nordic countries in Eastern Europe – adjacent to the Baltic Sea – compared with the rising marginal cost of introducing increasingly stringent requirements at home, since pollutants do not recognise national borders. Cost-efficiency remains a hallmark of NEFCO’s activities.
NEFCO’s green financing is targeted at small and medium-sized projects (SMPs) with demonstration value. Many of the SMPs financed by NEFCO are characterised by a pioneering spirit and aimed at testing Nordic Solutions with up-scaling possibilities. Based on its experiences from the field, NEFCO has participated in the development of innovative financing instruments designed to improve the environment and combat climate change. NEFCO typically works in close partnerships with its private and public investors. In relation to its financing of public investments, NEFCO, through the application of a flexible hands-on approach, has developed an ability to assist borrowers efficiently in the identification, development, implementation and administration of environmental projects and to make them attractive also to other financiers, including other government-financed financiers/facilities as well as larger International Financial Institutions, such as EBRD.
All projects to be financed by NEFCO need to be able to demonstrate that they will benefit the environment/climate in a cost-effective way. To ensure that these benefits will in fact materialise, financing is released in tranches against monitored milestone results, and environmental outcomes are monitored annually for as long as NEFCO is involved. This approach effectively mitigates the risk of corruption and increases the requirements for borrowers’ capacity building, transparency and accountability. It also ensures improved predictability and sustainability of the project.
NEFCO has an extensive network within the green community and a proven ability to connect stakeholders to relevant projects. As a result, NEFCO has attracted a number of fund management assignments, in particular related to climate, the Baltic Sea, the Arctic and the Barents regions. The most recent major fund management assignment is Nopef, which supports the internationalisation of Nordic companies within the Green Growth sector outside the European Economic Area. NEFCO’s trust fund management activities are today global and fulfil EU fiduciary standards (EU Pillar assessment).
In addition to the projects financed by NEFCO’s own capital, through the so-called Investment Fund, NEFCO’s fund management represents a total portfolio of over 600 small and medium-sized private and public projects spread across different sectors in over 60 countries. NEFCO manages trust funds valued at some EUR 400 million.
The current main priorities for NEFCO are:
To continue its successful activities targeting the reduction of pollutants affecting the Baltic Sea and the Arctic and Barents regions, and
To enhance its existing activities and initiate new interventions related to the promotion of Green Growth and to further prevent Climate Change with a focus on interventions related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, having a positive effect on adaption and mitigation, including the carbon markets.
Within these environmental priorities, as before, emphasis will be put on demonstration projects with potential catalytic, capacity-building or up-scaling effects. To achieve this, NEFCO will continue to work closely with its owners, the Nordic countries and in partnership with relevant Nordic business sectors, as well as other international financial institutions, the EU and other stakeholders relevant to the Nordic governments.