#takeaways ESG Webinar 2: How grants can support your sustainability funding

17 November 2023
Main takeaways
  • Direct EU funding is a great way to realize your sustainability goals, now is the time
  • A good analysis of the call for proposal and planning is key
  • Involve your stakeholders as soon as possible (ex. project leaders, partners)
  • Understanding the underlying EU policy will improve your chances of success

In the coming years, ESG compliance will have a significant impact on the sustainability landscape. To assist organizations in addressing these challenges and requirements, TriFinance is organizing a series of webinars on related topics to share meaningful insights and best practices.

The second webinar, 'How grants can help your sustainability funding' featured insights from TriFinance experts Steve Waeyaert and Helena Vandekerckhove, who shared their knowledge about the EU grant landscape with participants from various companies. They discussed how companies can benefit from the EU funding to support their sustainability initiatives and needs. Gaëlle De Baeck, Sustainability Lead at TriFinance, hosted the session.

How does EU funding work?

The EU budget for sustainability funding is substantial, amounting to 1,824.30 billion euros. This allocation includes both indirect and direct funding. 

  • The indirect funding gives national governments the opportunity to add their own national or regional accents.
  • Direct funding is distributed by the European Commission and its agencies to member states for further spending and includes funds paid directly by the EU. The funding can be provided through loans or other financial instruments, but the largest available amount is typically given as a grant.

In our webinar we focused on direct funding.

Not everybody can apply for each grant. Eligibility criteria vary depending on the specific grant program. Applicants must meet certain requirements, such as organization type, company size or project objectives that have to be met. These elements are taken into account during the application process.

The EU budget is divided into different programs. In this overview we share the most relevant ones. Keep in mind that not all programs have a direct link with sustainability, however for each EU grant application a sustainability assessment of the project needs to be conducted.

  • Structural Funds: aimed at reducing economic and social disparities across EU regions.
  • Cohesion Funds: focused on promoting growth and job creation.
  • Horizon Europe: funding for research and innovation.
  • ERASMUS+: funding for education, training, and youth programs.
  • LIFE Program: funding for environmental and climate action projects.
  • Rural Development Funds: support for agricultural and rural development.
  • And many more specific programs for various sectors and purposes.

The EU funding landscape can be compared to a complex maze of more than 800 calls for proposals, many of them having different deadlines and different criteria. Given the available EU budget, it is nevertheless worthwhile to dive into the different programs and possibilities. And don’t forget: it is not only a complex exercise for you, it’s just as difficult for other companies all over Europe to find their way in the maze.

A grant scan is a low level instrument to see how your sustainability projects can get funded through grants, both on a European level and on a national level.

Steve Waeyaert

Grant application roadmap

To support you in navigating the overwhelming amount of grant application possibilities, we created a roadmap to provide a clear overview of the various steps to take in the grant application process.

The EU is not the only one that’s putting pressure on sustainability. Recent studies showed that sustainability is a growing concern for customers and employees.

Helena Vandekerckhove

In conclusion, the key message of the second TriFinance ESG webinar is that the EU funding to support companies in their sustainability journey is huge. All companies can benefit from the grants that are available to them. Most important challenge for companies is to get the right insights in which grants are applicable for your company and invest in time and resources to prepare your fund request in order to be successful with your grant call.