City-level green banks have the potential to deliver low-cost investment.
The C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative in the US has published a step-by-step guide on why and how cities can launch their own local green bank, a move that would help both leverage financing for a green and just recovery from COVID-19 and support the health and safety of residents for decades to come.
A green bank is a public, semi-public or not-for-profit institution that offers a variety of financial products focusing specifically on climate mitigation projects, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes.
Establishing a City Green Bank is based on the experiences of major locally operating green banks and is a valuable source of information for those looking to mainstream climate finance through a dedicated local fund or bank.
With the world continuing to battle unprecedented public health, social and economic crises, C40 mayors and cities are working to guarantee a recovery that is sustainable, resilient and equitable.
That said, cities were already facing substantial challenges in accessing capital to deliver Paris Agreement-compliant action and must now overcome the additional strain COVID-19 has had on municipal budgets globally.
As such, directing stimulus funds towards the development of green banks would catalyze private sector investment in local low-carbon, climate-resilient (LCR) infrastructure promoting job creation, spurring the green economy, strengthening equity and inclusion, and delivering on the climate agenda.
The American Green Bank Consortium reports that, as of the end of 2019, every dollar of investment made by an American green bank resulted in $3.60 of total investment in a clean energy economy.
There is overwhelming evidence proving that the development of green banks directly benefits urban residents through employment opportunities, emissions reduction and provision of affordable energy upgrades.
“We want to thank C40 Cities for spearheading the publication of this guide, and the many green banks that contributed to it,” said Curtis Probst, a co-CEO of New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), co-authors of the guide.
“Green banks have enormous potential to catalyse much-needed investment in clean energy infrastructure. They are becoming a critical part of the financial ecosystem that can deliver numerous benefits to communities throughout the world.”
“We are pleased to announce the launch of this guide, which comes at a time where innovative climate financing in cities has never been more important,” said Claire Markgraf, Head of Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative at C40 Cities.
“City-level green banks have the potential to deliver low-cost investment through a self-sustaining mechanism, offering long-term environmental, social and economic benefits for people.”
The guide is available to all cities through the C40 Knowledge Hub.
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from C40 Cities.