• Women leaders from the EU private sector have joined forces to launch a new network hosted by the EIB Group.
  • The network will provide insights on climate action and women’s leadership.
  • The initiative aims to drive innovative, green and inclusive finance solutions.

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), made up of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), has launched the Women Climate Leaders Network in response to the urgent challenge of advancing the green transition and building climate resilience. Prominent women leaders from the private sector across all 27 EU Member States are coming together under this initiative to accelerate action on climate change, with 40 members of the network meeting for the first time over two days at the EIB Group headquarters in Luxembourg.

The importance of women's leadership in the development and implementation of climate solutions is widely acknowledged. Many countries are integrating gender equality into various high-priority sectors via their national climate action plans. However, the number of women business leaders in the field is still limited, while EIB research shows that women-led firms achieve higher environmental, climate, social and governance scores. Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping global warming to a safe level will require the involvement of more women, with their presence in leadership roles being encouraged.

The Women Climate Leaders Network meets the need for a strong, high-level participation. Its members will share knowledge and best practices for accelerating climate action, and work on new business models and ways to enable the low-carbon and green transformation.

EIB President Nadia Calviño said: “To ensure that the green transition is attainable for all, we must support affordable solutions that deliver competitiveness, climate action and social cohesion. By joining forces with prominent women from the private sector, I am confident that the new Women Climate Leaders Network will provide fresh ideas and momentum for more transformational investment.”

EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt said: “Through our research, we know that women still lack access to finance and that a gender finance gap persists in the European venture capital ecosystem. Addressing this gap and highlighting women’s leadership will boost climate, environmental and social innovations, as gender diverse companies tend to incorporate more sustainability into their innovation efforts. I am convinced that our collective effort through the Women Climate Leaders Network can make a difference.”

The Women Climate Leaders Network comprises 47 professionals with diverse careers, sector expertise, ages, nationalities and educational backgrounds from the 27 EU Member States. They range from fund managers and heads of sustainability and environmental management to CEOs and founders of venture capital funds. The network is chaired by EIB Secretary-General Barbara Balke, EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt and Director General of the EIB Projects Directorate Laura Piovesan.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (ElB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It finances sound investments that contribute to EU policy objectives. EIB projects bolster competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, and support a just and swift transition to climate neutrality.

The EIB Group, which also includes the European Investment Fund (EIF), signed a total of €88 billion in new financing for over 900 projects in 2023. These commitments are expected to mobilise around €320 billion in investment, supporting 400 000 companies and 5.4 million jobs.

All projects financed by the EIB Group are in line with the Paris Agreement. The EIB Group does not fund investments in fossil fuels. It is on track to deliver on its commitment to support  €1 trillion in climate and environmental sustainability investment in the decade to 2030 as pledged in our Climate Bank Roadmap. Over half of the EIB Group’s annual financing supports projects that directly contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to a healthier environment.

Approximately half of the EIB's financing within the EU is directed towards cohesion regions, where per capita income is lower. This underscores the Bank's commitment to fostering inclusive growth and the convergence of living standards.

The EIB Group aims to embed gender equality and in particular women’s economic empowerment in its business model and is also committed to driving gender equality in its workplace. The EIB financed a total of 63 projects across the globe in 2023 that significantly contributed to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, providing €5.8 billion of investment, more than half of which also supported climate action.

The EIF is putting a strong focus on supporting sustainability driven investments, climate and environmental innovation and solutions, and boosting gender smart investing. This is complemented with non-financial support and advisory activities. The EIF is actively seeking to back equity funds with strong female representation at decision-making level, to promote diversity and unlock opportunities for women-led businesses.