Investing in Reversing: Here is Our One Shot

To change the future forecasts and accelerate decarbonisation, sustainable financing will need to grow "from billions to trillions". IDB Invest — one of the greenest multilateral development banks — is leading the way.

Authored by Gema Sacristán, Chief Investment Officer, IDB Invest

“We declare clearly and unequivocally that the planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” reads a statement published in the journal BioScience, signed by 11,000 scientists around the world. On the first week of November, this was yet another alert from the scientific community reminding us that we are running out of time to effectively fight against climate change.

Are we too late to win this fight? Let us not be misled. This is a time of opportunity—and the call for urgency can no longer be ignored. In this context, Latin America and the Caribbean is quietly but steadily emerging as a region committed to fight against climate change. All nations in the region have committed to the Paris Climate Accords. Also, in the last three years, governments and industry groups have accelerated the creation of policies and initiatives to support investing in green projects.

Despite the progress made, there is widespread recognition that governments alone will not be able to achieve this transition. At IDB Invest, the bank for the private sector of the IDB Group, we are aware of the role the development sector plays in mobilizing private capital for sustainable financing. But to fulfill such a role, there is one question many of our peers are grappling with: how do we move our financing from “billions” to “trillions”?

With years of on-site experience in the region, we believe we have found the formula to unlock this potential: investing in reversing. Today, our fight is not about undoing the damages of the past but reversing the devastating forecasts ahead of us. To do that, our strategy is founded on three pillars: promoting a sustainable finance sector, attracting resources to sustainable projects, and investing to facilitate climate change resilience.

Based on this strategy, this year we managed to accomplish our 2020 goal of doubling our climate finance lending in the last four years, and we are firmly committed to continue this trend in the years to come. Furthermore, in 2017 IDB Invest was recognized as the Greenest Multilateral Development Bank working with the private sector, according to E3G and Oil Change International.

We are focused on elevating the region — which we know so well — as the one with the most progress in reversing the forecasts, which is why IDB Invest is currently supporting the development of financial products for decarbonization in our clients’ countries. This and other examples of how we are tackling climate change through sustainable financing can be found in our new publication “Investing in Reversing. Sustainable financing strategies against climate change.”

There is no time to waste, and Latin America and the Caribbean know it well. We only have one shot: the future will be sustainable or, simply, there will not be a future.

At World Climate Summit - The Investment COP in Madrid this December, Gema Sacristán will contribute insights on Mobilizing Investments & Innovation in Low-Carbon Infrastructure. IDB Invest will also be co-hosting the session Next Generation of Finance in LATAM: Sustainability as Driver to Tapping New Markets.

Registration for this year's event is available now: