Climate finance: Canadian successes

Growing international markets for Canadian energy-efficiency firms

Energy efficiency is a key component in efforts to stem climate change. Energy efficiency measures can be applied to existing or new buildings, infrastructure and systems to reduce emissions, increase productivity and reduce overall costs. The market demand for energy efficiency in developing countries is growing rapidly as urbanization accelerates and industrial production increases.  Energy efficiency can be applied to most sectors, from manufacturing and transport to agriculture.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global investment in energy efficiency was USD$221 billion in 2015, an increase of 6% from 2014, with continued growth ahead. Growth is coming from demand in emerging and developing economies, led by China. In 2015, energy service companies (ESCOs), whose primary business model is delivering energy efficiency solutions, generated USD$24 billion in revenue.

One of Canada’s leading energy consulting firms, Econoler, has been very successful working in developed and developing countries over the last 36 years. Econoler provides a full suite of services in the energy efficiency sector, including training and capacity building, financing and policy advice, as well as energy auditing and design and delivery of energy efficiency performance measures on site.

Founded in 1981 by Hydro Québec as an energy services company (ESCO), Econoler worked in Canada before turning to consultancy full time in the late 1990s. The Quebec-based firm has been implementing projects in more than 140 countries around the world and now benefits from an extensive network of partners. Past projects, for example, include working with the InterAmerican Development Bank to structure an energy-efficiency fund in Colombia; with the World Bank on promoting energy efficiency in municipalities in Macedonia; and with the German development agency, GiZ, on supporting the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment in Morocco to develop and implement energy performance contracts (EPCs) in mosques and other public buildings, through ESCOs.

Canadian companies working in developing countries usually do so through international financing organizations, such as development banks and specialized funds, or directly with public- or private-sector clients in targeted countries. Financing for energy efficiency is increasing, with innovative national and international funds and facilities quickly emerging. For example, since the launch of green bonds in 2012, over US$8 billion in financing has been dedicated to energy efficiency.

Factors contributing to Econoler's success

Where to find opportunities

Many MDBs open their tendering processes to international suppliers, and often post detailed general procurement plans on their websites. Specific opportunities for adaptation projects, as well as other climate-related sectors, are likely to be advertised directly on the MDB website or through the tendering portals listed in the tools section below. Setting up a monitoring function is advised.

For smaller-sized procurements, advertisements will sometimes be posted exclusively in-country in local newspapers, the official gazette, or on government websites. MDBs issue project-based requests for proposals, as well as for corporate procurement. Registration as a vendor with MDBs is free, however some eligibility requirements apply.

In addition to MDBs, many countries have bilateral development agencies that open their tendering processes to international suppliers. This means that Canadian companies are eligible to bid on projects funded by these agencies. In fact, Canadian company Cowater Sogema is the seventh-largest recipient of Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) funding.

While the examples of Econoler’s success noted above are primarily sourced through public-sector opportunities, it is important to note that climate finance can also be accessed through private-sector channels.

Most MDBs have dedicated private-sector lending windows, or distinct organizational entities, through which they provide financial lending directly to the private sector. This is offered through a variety of financial products, such as debt financing, equity investment, guarantees, and/or grants. Some bilateral development banks or funds also provide financing directly to private industry for development projects.


Tender aggregation portals:

Working with multilateral development banks or international financial institutions:

Working with bilateral agencies:

Canadian Trade Commissioner Service - Bilateral agencies

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The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has more than 160 offices around the world with dedicated officers available to assist you with international trade activities. Specialized assistance is available for climate finance.

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