16 Jun 2008

NIB to finance wastewater treatment in rural areas of Finland

NIB has developed offerings together with Finnish local banks aimed at households and agriculture in order to finance improvements in the treatment of wastewater and other diffuse emissions.

NIB channels funds via intermediaries to small-scale projects that improve wastewater treatment and enhance the use of renewable energy sources in rural areas of Finland. With the loans from NIB, the intermediaries can provide the means to decrease, prevent, as well as treat emissions from households, farms and small and medium-sized enterprises. The role of the intermediaries is to split up NIB's loans into smaller amounts and onlend the funds to environmental projects.

In Finland, about a million people, or some 20 per cent of the population, live in houses that are not connected to municipal sewage systems. This means that about 350,000 permanent residences, and a further 450,000 holiday homes must treat their wastewater on site. The fact that treatment systems in many cases are obsolete or otherwise ineffective, means that untreated wastewater is discharged into rivers, lakes and residential areas and further into the Baltic Sea. A big part of the nitrogen and phosphorus effluent from Finland into the Baltic Sea originates from agriculture and untreated wastewater in rural areas. The discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus is considered to be one of the biggest reasons for the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.

The loans from NIB can also be directed to households for the installing of new heating systems using ground heat, or installing better insulated windows in order to reduce energy spillage and thus improve energy efficiency. On farms, the goal might be to improve fertiliser or manure handling.

"This is a very good opportunity for NIB to reach environmental projects on the grass-root level and address the difficult issue of diffuse emissions to the water and air in Finland and the Baltic Sea," says Johnny Åkerholm, NIB's President and CEO.

The ecological health of the Baltic Sea and actions with regard to climate change are high priorities in NIB's lending activities. The intermediary loans are being drawn from NIB's Baltic Sea Environment Financing Facility, set up in February this year. NIB has agreed on loans to Aktia Savings Bank Plc and Sampo Bank Plc. The loans amount to a total of EUR 60 million.

NIB is open to providing similar loan arrangements to other banks.

NIB is a multilateral financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries. NIB has the highest possible credit rating, AAA/Aaa, with the leading rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

For further information, please contact:
Johnny Åkerholm, President and CEO, telephone +358 10 6180 01 or
Kim Krokfors, Senior Manager, telephone +358 10 618 0517