It seems that the current COVID-19-induced crisis has demonstrated to all of us, both individuals and businesses, how sensitive the environment is and how big of a responsibility and an obligation we have to protect it.
We talked to Lovre Ristevski, Project Manager of GEFF Serbia Leasing, about the beneficiaries of the credit line for green financing in Serbia, the interest shown by Serbian companies and the importance of the environment in all segments and aspects of life.
The EBRD has two Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) credit lines active in Serbia – GEFF for the Western Balkans and GEFF Serbia Leasing. Are there certain quotas for countries or does each country withdraw the amount tantamount to the interest shown by potential beneficiaries?
There are several active financing lines for different markets and different beneficiaries under the auspices of the global GEFF programme.
Our programme – GEFF Serbia Leasing – provides a credit line for green financing, for which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has allocated up to 40 million euro towards financing investments of companies that are transitioning to the green economy (GET), and which is supported by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Government of Luxembourg.
This credit line is intended for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, entrepreneurs, registered agricultural farms and other privately-owned legal entities that want to invest in highly efficient and green technologies, and is implemented through partner leasing companies.
“We see great potential in agricultural machinery and photovoltaic solar cells in the coming period and thus are encouraging investments into this kind of equipment“
UniCredit Leasing has been our partner since the very beginning of the implementation of the GEFF Serbia Leasing programme, which was launched in early 2020.
The interest shown by beneficiaries is best evidenced by the results achieved so far – in less than 10 months of our operations during a pandemic that has paralyzed the whole world, we have built an excellent portfolio worth over 10 million euro. Therefore, we believe that in the coming period, GEFF Serbia Leasing will provide support to an even bigger number of Serbian companies and include more partner leasing companies in programme implementation.
How does this programme contribute to the accomplishment of the green economy goals set by the EBRD in the region?
GEFF Serbia Leasing supports companies in Serbia by financing the purchase of highly efficient equipment and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase resilience to climate change. Under the auspices of this programme, we combine the financing of investment projects through leasing arrangements and technical advice and services to enable companies to understand, implement and benefit from highly efficient technologies, thus supporting the transition to the green economy.
To best illustrate the effects that we have achieved so far, I would like to mention the data from the analysis of the current portfolio which shows that the new equipment financed with the help of GEFF Serbia Leasing will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of between 20 – 40% as compared to old equipment.
What makes the EBRD’s GEEF programme a good long-term option for companies in a time of COVID-19 when companies are extremely reluctant to undertake new projects?
It seems that the current COVID-19-induced crisis has demonstrated to all of us, both individuals and businesses, how sensitive the environment is and how big of a responsibility and an obligation we have to protect it. By choosing new, highly efficient technologies, companies are becoming greener and are reducing their negative impact on the environment.
In terms of long-term planning, highly efficient technologies help companies reduce energy, water and resource consumption, cut costs and thus become more competitive in the market. A final and very important aspect is the nature of leasing, which provides companies with the opportunity to implement green technologies using the advantage of leasing financing, which doesn’t affect their creditworthiness at all.
Our experience and the results of the portfolio to date show that companies in Serbia recognize the importance of GEFF Leasing. One recent example is the company Karin Komerc MD, which had previously financed the replacement of some of its old equipment using its own funds, with the aim of reducing emissions of harmful exhaust gases. Now, thanks to GEFF Leasing, the company has undertaken a 200,000 euro investment in a new separation line, which has reduced the company’s electricity consumption by 23%, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 tonnes per year, as well as to cut down water consumption by roughly 34%, saving the company about 33,000 euro per year in reduced consumption of fuel and lower maintenance costs. Through GEFF Serbia Leasing, we look forward to assisting many other companies save both energy and money by undertaking similar investments to upgrade equipment, including solar panels or agricultural machinery.
What leasing options are available to companies interested in implementing green technologies?
Production (with special emphasis on green energy production), agriculture, construction, commerce and transport are business areas that we have defined as priorities in terms of introducing highly efficient technologies. The construction industry has shown the biggest interest in GEFF Leasing in Serbia and leasing construction machinery comprises just over 50% of the existing portfolio, which is in line with the current market trends.
In cooperation with our partner financial institution, UniCredit Leasing, we have devised very competitive offers and created simple procedures with the leasing process taking only a few steps. The integration of online solutions such as the Green Technology Selector into the process of approving leasing funds by UniCredit Leasing contributes to the fast realization.
“The Green Technology Selector is an online tool that helps companies identify the most appropriate high-efficiency equipment that is eligible for financing“
What is the GEFF Green Technology Selector and how does it help companies make smart choices?
The Green Technology Selector is an online tool that helps companies identify the most appropriate high-efficiency equipment that is eligible for financing. It is a catalogue of highly efficient equipment that has been pre-approved as eligible for financing under the GEFF Serbia Leasing credit line. This equipment meets the minimum established performance parameters and achieves results better than the average results of the equipment currently in use, which brings clear benefits and improvements relating to environmental protection. The equipment catalogue is regularly updated to include the latest technologies, and new suppliers in the categories of commercial vehicles (including agricultural and construction machinery), process technologies, refrigeration equipment, solar collectors, heat pumps, etc.
On the webpage of the Green Technology Selector (https://ebrdgeff.com/serbialeasing/SR), you can choose high-efficiency equipment, download the certificate (manufacturer’s specification confirming the minimum efficiency requirements) and fill in the application form for GEFF Serbia Leasing. In this way, the EBRD strives to make it easier for companies to select needed equipment and apply for leasing, as well as to save time, which is a valuable resource for all of us.
What does the GEFF’s offer mean to equipment vendors and manufacturers?
First of all, I would like to highlight the aspect of free global promotion for vendors and manufacturers of green technologies. Having products of certain manufacturers listed in the GEFF Green Technology Selector is a validation of the equipment’s quality since these manufacturers, vendors and products are recognized worldwide as the best green technologies in their class in a particular country. In the case of Serbia, the equipment must demonstrate an energy efficiency performance of at least 20% better than the market average. Through the Green Technology Selector, equipment vendors and manufacturers are achieving better visibility of their products and services and expanding their markets, as the GEFF already works with over 140 financial institutions from 26 countries. Equipment vendors and manufacturers do not have to bear additional costs, neither costs of material or human resources, since the GEFF Serbia leasing team analyzes and evaluates the efficiency of products on the GEFF Green Technology Selector.
Cross-selling and the use of sales channels of all partner institutions involved in the GEFF Serbia Leasing programme ensure important additional support to the sales efforts of vendors and manufacturers. Finally, in addition, to financing green investments, the EBRD is constantly working to build the market for high-efficiency technologies and equipment and thus create a favourable environment necessary for making sustainable investments and achieving overall economic development.
GEFF Serbia Leasing has had a significant impact on the local market in terms of boosting sales results and opening new advertising channels for vendors and manufacturers. The Technology Selector provides direct sales support because via the Selector, vendors and manufacturers can present themselves and their green equipment to potential buyers, thereby incentivising buyers to choose that equipment. So far, GEFF Serbia Leasing has included nearly 200 Serbian companies in the global Green Technology Selector, with over 1,000 registered products (equipment).