EEMI Bauhaus: ‘Combining smart digital & sustainable solutions to change the market paradigm’
By Luca Bertalot, Secretary General of European Mortgage Federation – European Covered Bond Council (EMF-CBMC) & EEMI Coordinator
Europe is at the dawn of a new era in which sustainability and digitalisation are shaping a completely new market paradigm, presenting opportunities and the hope of a better future. The banking sector has a transformative role to play as a catalyst and enabler of a systemic acceleration towards a more sustainable economy, with the challenging mission of rapidly inducing change in consumer, lender and investor behaviour, and perhaps more importantly, in the broader society as a whole. The Horizon 2020 Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative (EEMI) Bauhaus model is intended to support this process and build a new methodological approach to propose a strategic harmonic roadmap to accelerate the green and social transition.
BUILDING TRUST THROUGH COOPERATION
With a widespread sentiment that not acting at this crucial moment will jeopardize the future of our children and the fundamentals of our communities at large, citizens are increasingly ready to engage in a credible socioeconomic movement to secure the green transition. Exciting ideas around sustainability are emerging and should be introduced in a pragmatic way into the daily lives of families with a ‘real economy’ implementation strategy to help market players and citizens transform challenges into opportunities. This revolution requires the construction of solid pillars, starting from complete convergence in governance across EU authorities in the European political infrastructure to local authorities involved in the day-to-day life and expectations of citizens. In this way, we can secure coordination in the efficient deployment of monetary and fiscal policies.
Efforts to deliver a green financial sector go hand in hand with this process of ‘greening’ the real economy, and extreme care should be taken to ensure cooperation and coordination which will mitigate the risk of speculation and greenwashing. Digital solutions and data gathering exercises should support the market in closing the data gap and securing a credible and sustainable ‘greening’ of the sector.
In many respects, Europe is showing political leadership and offering guidance in the global political landscape. At this point in time, we consider it to be of the utmost importance to also show financial leadership in promoting blueprints, methodological approaches and best practices which could stimulate global cooperation and coordination.
A competitive banking sector which is able to guide changes at global level is crucial we need to offer appropriate green housing solutions and tailored blueprints for these markets in order to have a real, large scale global impact and mitigate climate change, whilst at the same time securing social development and supporting economic growth.
SUSTAINABILITY STARTS FROM THE HOME
Fundamentally, we believe that people’s homes and the cities they reside in are at the centre of this unprecedented global revolution – the places where we live and work and where we spend our most important moments determine our health and wellbeing and the overall quality of our lives.
Europe’s citizens currently live in approximately 220 million dwellings, three quarters of which need to be renovated in order to meeting the EU’s ambitious climate and energy savings targets. The decarbonisation of the EU’s building stock requires innovative private financing solutions as a complement to public sector grants and subsidies to meet the unprecedented investment volumes, as well as a robust and comprehensive value chain to deliver the needed improvements at pace and as efficiently as possible.
At this time of change and opportunity, the Horizon 2020 funded EEMI project is taking the lead in ‘joining the dots’ and seamlessly integrating all market participants, including lenders, investors, start-ups, SMEs and utilities into a new value chain, known as the EEMI Home Ecosystem. The Ecosystem is intended to guide consumers towards financial and technical solutions which support them in the energy renovation of their homes. In essence and by combining market innovation, digitalisation and green financing instruments across the whole value chain, the Ecosystem will optimise the end-to-end customer journey and experience, deploy market interventions and partnerships that support delivery and maximise benefits for consumers.
DELIVERING CONCRETE SOLUTIONS
The Trento EEMI Bauhaus Week (13-16 Feb 2023) is the first in a series of market events intended to launch a new movement in the design, scale-up and roll-out of home ecosystems globally through the exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practice between financial actors, SMEs, start-ups, architects, scientists and academics, local authorities, to name but a few. Together, these actors have the potential to design and deliver a new market paradigm and blueprint, built around clear best practices and market benchmarks, which can shape and drive massive qualitative improvements for the market and for millions of families around the globe.
Start-ups can help to match the supply of and demand for innovative and cost-effective online financing and technical solutions for the EU’s consumers, whilst helping banks to meet regulatory and supervisory requirements and expectations around the management of climate and environmental risk, by closing the data gap, facilitating disclosure and reporting, supporting due diligence, and avoiding green washing.
About the author:
Luca Bertalot is Secretary General of the European Mortgage Federation – European Covered Bond Council (EMF-ECBC), representing the interests of EU mortgage lenders and the covered bond community in discussions with the European Institutions and stakeholders in general on all issues relating to the retail and funding sides of the mortgage business. Established in 1967, the EMF is the voice of the European mortgage industry, providing data and information on European mortgage markets, which were worth c. €8.3 trillion at the end of 2021. The EMF has 14 members across 12 EU Member States as well as a number of observer members.
In 2004 the EMF founded the ECBC, a platform that brings together covered bond market participants including issuers, analysts, investment bankers, rating agencies and a wide range of interested stakeholders. ECBC members represent over 95% of covered bonds outstanding, which were worth over €2.9 trillion at the end of 2021. The ECBC has 120 members from across the more than 30 active covered bond jurisdictions and many different market segments.
In his capacity as EMF-ECBC Secretary General, Luca is also Consortium Coordinator for the Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Initiative. In addition, Luca is a member of the European Commission’s Sustainable Energy Investment (SEI) Forum’s Advisory Group and the Advisory Board of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice’s Economics Department.
Luca joined the EMF-ECBC in 2006, becoming Head of the ECBC in 2007 and was appointed Secretary General in 2014. Prior to this, he worked as a financial analyst in Italy and Australia. Luca holds a degree in Economics and Financial Markets from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. He also studied at the University of Mannheim, Germany, and at the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, in the United States.