Skip to content
Briefing sheet

Financing low-carbon infrastructure: what civil engineers can bring to the table

16 November 2022

This report explores the part that civil engineers can play in ensuring that low-carbon projects are invested in.

Financing low-carbon infrastructure: what civil engineers can bring to the table
The report explores how the finance community is changing in response to climate change.

There’s no doubt that if the decarbonisation ambitions of societies around the world are to be achieved, then new, clean infrastructure and the reconfiguration of existing infrastructure is critical.

The UK government has made clear that the first step to delivering a green industrial revolution is “ensuring that the information exists to enable every financial decision to factor in climate change and the environment”.

Civil engineers have always played a leading role in infrastructure development. As we look to the future, we need to harness our engineering skills to help achieve net zero.

One of the ways in which engineers can help to drive the delivery of green infrastructure initiatives is by considering how they can be financed. And, by working with investors and financiers to bring these essential schemes to life.

Still, engineers are not financiers, and their role isn’t to find and deploy the money required to achieve net zero – it’s to provide the technical improvements, innovative solutions, adaptations and best practices that can deliver low-carbon infrastructure.

Engineers should, however, understand the needs and expectations of financiers when they’re deciding whether to invest in a project.

Knowing what information is needed to deliver an investment is a fundamental skill that engineers need to develop.

This will help to make investment as attractive as possible and underpin the development of the infrastructure we need.

This report intends to:

  • Provide ICE members and key stakeholders with a practical guide to green investment tools and methods, backed by examples and case studies that promote a basic understanding of financing lower-carbon infrastructure projects.
  • Outline what civil engineers can bring to the table when financing the transition to net zero.

As the report outlines, we can help to facilitate money flowing into projects.

We can design and build infrastructure with an awareness of what should be factored in from a carbon perspective.

We can collaborate with financiers to deliver projects that generate clear revenues and pay-back as a result of investing in decarbonisation.

This is a huge and exciting opportunity – to help vast amounts of as-yet undeployed capital to be invested into decarbonised initiatives, supporting innovative financing models and making low-carbon infrastructure as reliable and profitable as possible.

Financing low-carbon infrastructure: what civil engineers can bring to the table

Content type: Report

Last updated: 12/01/2023

Author: ICE knowledge insights team

  • Sarah Hall, sustainability insights manager at Institution of Civil Engineers