Eila Kreivi, head of capital markets at the European Investment Bank, dismantles the arguments of skeptics about the value of turning to more sustainable finance. Photo credit: EIB
As part of the “Summer like no other” series, Delano and its sister publication Paperjam are looking at the people working in the grand duchy’s sustainable finance field. This week: Eila Kreivi, director and head of capital markets at the European Investment Bank.
Jean-Michel Lalieu: What was the trigger that pushed you to work in the field of sustainable finance?
Eila Kreivi: I wouldn’t speak of a trigger itself. The EIB has been involved in the field of sustainable finance since 2007, with the launch of its first green bond. But it was really from 2014 that the theme gained momentum. From that moment on, our investors, the major institutions, began to ask us about our vision for the environment and for financing the fight against global warming. To provide a solution, I had to take more and more interest in the field, and I started to become passionate about it. For someone in the financial industry, it was fascinating.
What are you convinced about when it comes to sustainable finance?
My conviction is very clear: this is the only way to progress. All funding should be, and at some point will be, sustainable. We’ve gotten off to a good start, but more needs to be done. The trend is so strong that there will be no turning back, even for those who are not personally convinced of it. If your customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders believe in it, you will have no choice.
Sustainable finance is still often seen as an area that only adds new costs. This may be shocking, but I’m sure the abolition of slavery also made the sugar plantations less profitable initially. It’s just a new set of metrics to build into your business. If you are unable to do so, maybe you should consider doing something else. Sustainable financing also creates huge opportunities that many people have already seized and intend to continue to seize.
What is your preferred work theme, or your favourite “fight” to take on?
In the beginning, I was particularly interested in climate issues. This is always the topic that gets the most attention, probably because it is a global phenomenon that affects everyone. It is also a little easier to measure than some other industries, although at the end of the day everything is linked. And one thing leading to another is, as I said earlier, a very interesting area. Another concept that we strongly defend is that of transparency. We may not have global standards for a long time, but everyone needs to be more transparent about their actions.
Who is someone that inspires you every day?
I don’t often think of people in these terms. But what is certain is that sustainable financing is an area where you always meet wonderful and inspiring people. I see a lot of people who are very committed, extremely intelligent, not counting their hours and ready to share their knowledge. They are all inspiring!
What “sustainable” investment would you recommend?
I’m one of the last people to ask for investment advice! But, there is a lot going on in the field of startups and new technologies with a sustainable consonance. Anyone who can afford to invest and take risks should be interested in these companies. We need new solutions for the circular economy, healthy biosystems, energy, etc. We must support this sector with private and public funds.
Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano