The European Commission ambitions to make the EU the world most sustainable finance system. In order to reach this goal the European Commission set up last year a High Level Working Group on sustainable finance. This Group and the European Commission have, over the past twelve months, intensively worked to prepare some recommendations published this week on 31st January 2018.
The priority recommendations include introducing a common sustainable finance taxonomy, clarifying investor duties to extend time horizons and bring greater focus on ESG factors, upgrading disclosure rules to make climate change and opportunities fully transparent, empowering and connecting Europe’s citizen with sustainable finance issues, developing official European sustainable finance standards, starting with green bonds, establishing a European sustainable infrastructure Europe facility, reforming governance and leadership of companies to build sustainable finance competencies, enlarging the role and capabilities of the ESA’s to promote sustainable finance as part of their mandates. On banking, the group also suggests to reflect on the possibility of a “green supporting factor”, as announced by the European Commission in December 2017.
The sustainable finance agenda is gaining momentum. The Commission plans to publish a roadmap in March this year, setting out a number of proposals which will be proposed this spring, and in March this very roadmap will be discussed amongst heads of States. The intention behind this high-level discussion, is clearly to get high level political support and commitment on this agenda from the start.
In the meantime, the European Parliament is also highly interested in the topic and will in February discuss its draft own initiative report, prepared by MEP Scott Cato (Greens, UK) in order to share its views before the Commission actually presents final proposals. The publication of this report, marks the beginning of quite of number of important sustainable finance key dates this year and most possibly for the next few years.
- 7 March 2018: European Commission to publish a sustainable finance roadmap
- 21st March 2018 (TBC): European Commission high-level conference on sustainable finance
- 22/23 March 2018: Discussion on sustainable finance in the European Council
- May 2018: Commission to publish a proposal on an EU taxonomy, and investors duty
For additional information, please consult the HLEG final report 2018.
By Aurélie Cassou, Senior Adviser, European Affairs