British International Investment
5 December 2023

British International Investment announces new climate finance investment at COP28

  • BII invested $1 billion in climate finance since COP26 

British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, announced six new climate finance investments today.  The commitments, totalling $55 million, which were first announced by UK Prime Minister Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP in his COP28 speech on Friday, underline the DFI’s accelerating commitment to providing climate finance to support those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate emergency.  

BII has invested $9.8m in Planet Solar, Sierra Leone’s first large-scale solar independent power producer, helping to address the country’s need for additional clean and affordable power. Currently only 23 per cent of the population in Sierra Leone have access to electricity. The project will increase the country’s power supply by approximately 30 per cent, which will have positive impacts on economic growth, employment opportunities, and living standards for the people of Sierra Leone. 

BII has also committed $2.1m alongside Shell Foundation into SunCulture, a Kenya-based company that provides solar-powered irrigation systems to smallholder farmers. The investment will enable SunCulture to provide a 25-40 per cent reduction in upfront product cost for solar irrigation products and reach 9,000 more smallholder farmers, helping to increase farmland productivity sustainably and supporting to improve food security in Kenya.  

The investments announced also include a $25 million commitment to the GEF South Asia Growth Fund III, which will target investments in India across climate adaption and mitigation, as well as the circular economy. This commitment aligns with BII’s strategy to pursue high impact climate finance opportunities in India, to help reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation as well as boost water use-efficiency and sustainable food production.  

Other investments announced today include:  

  • A $6m commitment to Wavemaker Impact, Southeast Asia’s first climate tech venture fund, which announced it had successfully closed its debut $60 million fund. 
  • A $5 million debt facility in Kenyan-based transport group BasiGo for delivery of 100 electric buses 
  • A $7m commitment to the final close of the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund l-B, which invests in circular economy solutions, particularly plastic waste recycling, in South Asia and South East Asia.  

BII has also signed an MOU with Allied Climate Partners, a philanthropic investment organisation set up to increase the pipeline of bankable climate finance projects in emerging economies.  

Speaking at COP28, Amal-Lee Amin, Managing Director and Head of Climate, Diversity and Advisory at BII, said: “Climate finance is at the heart of BII’s investment mandate. Over the course of our current five-year strategy period, we aim to invest at least 30 per cent of our total capital in climate finance. Last year that figure was 46 per cent.   

“Our provision of climate finance where it is needed the most is making a real difference to the lives of millions of people. Our investee partners are demonstrating that the fight against the climate emergency can be won – and in a way that ensures a genuinely just transition to a net zero future.” 

For its current strategy period 2022-26, BII has a five-year rolling target to make 30 per cent of its new commitments in climate finance. In 2022, 46 per cent of its capital went to climate finance – a total of £591 million-to help emerging economies reduce emissions, protect the environment and adapt to the rapidly changing climate.  

BII’s climate commitment is growing. The size of its climate finance portfolio has risen from $812 million in 2020 to $1.43 billion in 2022.   

At the same time, the emissions intensity of the portfolio fell by almost 50 per cent between 2019 and 2021. The DFI’s renewable power investees generated electricity that avoided 648,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2021.  

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