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IFC backs cleantech start-ups through sustainable financing



The International Finance Corporation (IFC),a  subsidiary of the World Bank, has begun the first round of financing for start-up businesses in the clean technology industry.

The IFC began the third phase of funding recently – known as series A cheques – but said that the seven-year investments would only be used for companies with a clear strategy.

“We spend a lot of time with these companies, understand their business models and the value chain”, said Pravan Malhotra, senior investment officer at the IFC.

He added, “We are not investing from a fund, but from our balance sheets. We want to see developed business models and a clear path to profitability.”

The IFC recently hosted a conference in London, jointly with the Financial Times (FT), that discussed the “persistent economic and financial uncertainty” and “unparalleled resource constraints” which were exerting pressures on social and environmental issues. It aimed to look at how sustainable finance can solve some of these problems.

At the conference, Jin Yong-Cai, CEO of the IFC, defined sustainability as not based purely on environmental and social issues, but also “financial sustainability”. He added that sustainability was a key tool in avoiding risk.

The IFC is committed to helping people escape poverty and improving their lives, whilst promoting open and competitive markets is developing countries.

Partners of the IFC include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Investment Bank and other similar institutions worldwide.

Further reading:

Talking about sustainable finance: the FT/IFC conference

‘Leading’ businesses honoured at FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards 2013

 Inspiring innovation in sustainable finance: FT/IFC Conference 

The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2013