Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Contact: Duncan Marsh
U.N. FOUNDATION BOARD APPROVES $750,000 IN FUNDS
TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
‘Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative,’ ‘Footprint Neutral’
To Attract Private Investment For Climate-Friendly Projects
Washington, D.C., January 5 -- The board of the United Nations Foundation recently approved two grants totaling $1,250,000 that would attract private sector investment to projects that promote sustainable development through alternative energy resources and other approaches.
Footprint Neutral will receive $750,000 in UNF funds to create an innovative public-private partnership to attract investment in projects that mitigate climate change, while providing conservation and development benefits. This initiative is modeled on a successful pilot project by BP, a leading global energy business, and the Commonwealth Bank in Australia. Under this pilot, the extra money paid by consumers for “BP Ultimate gasoline” was invested in projects to offset the effects of burning that gasoline.
By developing and marketing portfolios of alternative energy and carbon sequestration projects, Footprint Neutral aims to attract corporations, municipalities, and other partners to invest in projects that offset their impact on the global climate.
“To address global environmental problems and alleviate poverty requires the engagement not only of the government, but also of businesses and consumers, and the ingenuity and resources that they provide,” said Melinda L. Kimble, senior vice president for programs. “Footprint Neutral is an innovative new mechanism that provides opportunities to engage these groups.”
The Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative will receive $500,000 from the UNF and an additional $250,000 from the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory (IMET). Designed and implemented by the UN Environmental Program and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy, SEFI will build on the efforts it has undertaken to attract financing to sustainable energy development. Inadequate information and insufficient experience -- coupled with the lack of tools needed to quantify, mitigate, and hedge project and financial risks -- have constrained capital investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The UNF and IMET grants will be used to establish SEFI’s operational and governance structure; create a communications and outreach strategy; develop information resources for financiers; and, build partnerships through a Global Sustainable Energy Finance Conference, a UNEP-FI Renewable Energy Working Group, and an Export Credit Agency Renewable Energy Initiative.
“Through these diverse activities,” Kimble said, “SEFI will both enhance understanding about emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency financing opportunities and develop the tools and partnerships needed to minimize investment risk and build investor confidence.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the foundation works closely with the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world. Through grantmaking and collaboration, the UNF and its partners seek to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Visit www.unfoundation.org.
Created in 1998 with a $1 billion gift from entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner, the UNF builds and implements public-private partnerships in support of the United Nation’s efforts to address the most pressing humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges