Efficient fund management and project implementation
Nefco was established in 1990 to support the Nordic countries in their efforts to increase environmental awareness in Eastern and Central Europe through the financing of projects to reduce the amount of harmful emissions to the environment. Since pollutants do not recognise national borders, it was reasoned that it made better financial sense to support new investments in Eastern Europe – adjacent to the Baltic Sea – that aligned with the environmental priorities of the Nordic countries compared with the rising marginal cost of introducing increasingly stringent requirements at home. Cost-efficiency remains a hallmark of all Nefco’s activities.
While continuing to fulfil its initial mission above, during the last 30 years Nefco has developed an extensive network within the green community and a proven ability to connect stakeholders to relevant projects. As a result, Nefco has attracted a number of fund management assignments, in particular related to climate financing in emerging markets and financial support to Nordic SMEs, as well as to green projects in the Baltic Sea, Arctic, Barents and Eastern European regions. Recently Nefco has also taken a fund assignment to support results-based financing for clean off-grid energy in Africa.
Arctic and Barents
We work with environmental issues and projects in the Arctic and Barents regions. Since 2003, for instance, Nefco has funded technical assistance to improve the environmental status of so-called ‘hot spots’ in the Russian Barents Region through the Barents Hot Spots Facility.
In 2014, the Arctic Council Project Support Instrument became operational under Nefco management. The Instrument supports the work of the Arctic Council and provides funding for pollution mitigation and biodiversity-related projects approved by the Arctic Council working groups.
The Nordic-Russian Programme for Environment and Climate Co-operation is a call-for-proposals-based financing scheme that provides grant financing for co-operation projects between non-commercial partners in the Nordics and Northwest Russian to mutually benefit the environment and climate at regional and local levels. The first round of funding under this facility was launched in 2017 and the second round in spring 2020. Subscribe for news updates about current and future PECC calls here.
The ecological state of the Baltic Sea is one of Nefco’s main priorities, has been since it was founded. Since its establishment in 1990, Nefco has been actively engaged and invested its own funds in upgrading wastewater treatment plants in the Baltic Sea catchment area and reducing discharges from the agricultural sector into the Baltic Sea.
In addition, we also finance project preparation and technical assistance through the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund. The Fund can provide grant based financing to projects that address the various environmental challenges and problems facing the Baltic Sea, with a particular focus on combatting eutrophication.
Nefco is involved in a number of activities focused on combating climate change globally and manages several funds that in particular address measures aimed at mitigating climate change.
In Eastern Europe
In Ukraine, Nefco works on several initiatives related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and district heating investments funded by Finland, Norway and Sweden.
- Facility for Energy Saving Credits
- Finland-Ukraine Trust Fund
- Nordic Initiative for Energy Efficiency and Humanitarian Support – Ukraine
- Norway-Ukraine Energy Efficiency Initiative
- Sweden-Ukraine District Heating Fund
Nefco is the fund manager for the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa facility, which in September 2020 opened its first Call for Proposals in Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia and a separate second Call for Mozambique in February 2021. The aim of this facility is to accelerate access to affordable, clean and modern energy for people living in rural and peri-urban areas by building up a market for off-grid electricity solutions. The facility is funded by Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Swedish embassies in the target countries, and Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Power Africa, an initiative administered by USAID, is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution. Germany, through its development bank KfW, will join the Country Programme for Zambia.
On emerging markets
Through the Nordic Initiative for Cooperative Approaches, Nefco works together with the Nordic countries on supporting sustainable development and climate action in developing countries and promoting carbon pricing.
Nefco was a very early starter in the project-based carbon market and since 2003 has managed a number of carbon funds, including the Nefco Carbon Fund and the Nefco Norwegian Carbon Procurement Facility.
Nefco also supports the implementation and up-scaling of Nordic environmental technologies and climate solutions in global markets.
The Nordic Project Fund (Nopef) finances feasibility studies related to green growth and sustainable development in countries outside EU/EFTA for Nordic small and medium-sized companies.
As a second step Nefco offers financing to Nordic companies that have successfully established themselves abroad for green growth investments through the Nefco Global financing scheme. The purpose of this financing instrument is to enable Nordic small and medium-sized companies within the environmental and climate sectors to invest in and develop business activities in international markets where growth opportunities have been identified.