The EIB has already supported the transition to a circular economy with over €2.1 bn in project financing, including the first of a kind Äänekoski bio-pulp mill in Finland, the largest circular investment to date in Europe. An overview of such projects, alongside the bank's perception of the drivers to a circular economy (resource opportunities, technological development and the emerging socio-economic paradigm of sustainable development), corresponding opportunities and potential business models (circular design, value recovery, optimal use & circular support) is provided in this EIB Circular Economy Guide.
As the circular economy can actively contirbute to reducing carbon emissions and reaching wider environmental protection goals, the EIB is keen to finance projects contributing to this transition through a range of financing products, including EFSI and InnovFin for higher risk innovations. When doing so, it makes use of specific criteria to assess whether project are truly circular and attempts to categorise them within one of the aforementioned business models. During project assessment, further eligibility criteria are applied depending on the type of business model. These criteria, and more information about the bank's perception of circular economy strategies and project types, is provided in the guide's annexes.