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Working Group – Applying the Energy Efficiency First Principle in Sustainable Finance

Timeline of WG activities

  1. January 20, 2022
    Kick-off with discussion

    Kick-off with discussion of the scope and work plan and presentations from EBRD, the EIB and the real estate lending sector, Establishment of Processes and Templates sub-groups.

  2. April 5, 2022
    Presentations from Processes and Templates sub-groups and further discussion of work programme. Establishment of a real estate lending sub-group.
  3. June 7, 2022

    Presentations from KfW, links between Energy Efficiency First and the Taxonomy, TCFD and ESG, safeguards. Launch of survey to gather feedback on the EC Guidelines. Discussion of content of potential guidance for financial institutions.

  4. October 2022
    Meeting to discuss survey results and review draft guidance.
  5. January 2023
    Final review of guidance.
  6. April 2023
    Meeting on final report conclusions and recommendations
  7. November 2023
    Published final report

Emerging results

The practical difficulties of operationalising energy efficiency first within financial institutions are many and varied. As a first step, senior decision makers and risk managers need to be persuaded that doing so will contribute to the financial institutions’ objectives and/or help them satisfy emerging regulations. In addition, evidencing the links between energy efficiency first and regulatory measures such as the Taxonomy and TCFD can help with compliance with these regulations. 

Having persuaded decision makers to operationalise energy efficiency first it will be important to provide guidance on how to do that. This guidance will centre on what processes need to be adapted to ensure that energy efficiency is properly considered before it is too late; and what documents are needed to help investment and lending officers ensure that energy efficiency first is actually considered.

Public development banks such as EBRD, EIB and KfW have a clear focus on energy efficiency and have taken steps to operationalise energy efficiency first. There is much for the private sector to learn from their approach. Energy efficiency first must fit within wider environmental policies and cannot sit alone.

The working group is aiming to produce guidance on operationalising energy efficiency first that can be used by financial institutions. To maximise the usefulness of this guidance it will also make recommendations on any measures the EC could take to encourage uptake of the principle within financial institutions.

WG External Communications

Final report - Launch and facilitate the implementation of new EEFIG Working Group “Applying the Energy Efficiency First principle in sustainable finance”
(383.57 KB - HTML)


Steven Fawkes

Stephen Fawkes

WG leader

Steven has over 30 years’ experience in energy efficiency, energy services and sustainable finance. He has advised corporates, investors, governments, and multi-laterals and started three energy service companies.


Peter Sweatman

Peter Sweatman

WP co-leader

Peter has 30 years' experience in finance, climate finance and providing strategic advice to companies, structuring energy efficiency investments and managing multidisciplinary projects in Europe and the G20, exchanging good practices and capacity building.

Join EEFIG and engage

For more information about the Working Group, please contact steven [dot] fawkesatenergyproltd [dot] com (steven[dot]fawkes[at]energyproltd[dot]com) or peteratclimatestrategy [dot] es (peter[at]climatestrategy[dot]es)

If you are interested into joining the EEFIG and engaging in WG activities, please apply for membership in the EEFIG