The European Commission has adopted an ambitious and comprehensive package of measures to help improve the flow of money towards sustainable activities across the European Union. By enabling investors to re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses, measures will be instrumental in making Europe climate neutral by 2050. They will make the EU a global leader in setting standards for sustainable finance.
The package is comprised of:
The EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act aims to support sustainable investment by making it clearer which economic activities most contribute to meeting the EU's environmental objectives. The College of Commissioners reached a political agreement on the text. The Delegated Act will be formally adopted at the end of May once translations are available in all EU languages. A Communication, also adopted by the College, sets out the Commission's approach in more detail.
A proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). This proposal aims to improve the flow of sustainability information in the corporate world. It will make sustainability reporting by companies more consistent, so that financial firms, investors and the broader public can use comparable and reliable sustainability information.
Finally, six amending Delegated Acts on fiduciary duties, investment and insurance advice will ensure that financial firms, e.g. advisers, asset managers or insurers, include sustainability in their procedures and their investment advice to clients.
The European Green Deal is Europe's growth strategy that aims to improve the well-being and health of citizens, make Europe climate-neutral by 2050 and protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital and biodiversity.
As part of that effort, companies need a comprehensive sustainability framework to change their business models accordingly. To ensure the transition in finance and prevent greenwashing, all elements of package will enhance the reliability and comparability of sustainability information. It will put the European financial sector at the heart of a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the longer-term sustainable economic development of Europe.
Background and next steps
The EU has taken major steps over the past number of years to build a sustainable financial system that contributes to the transition towards a climate-neutral Europe. The EU Taxonomy Regulation, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the Benchmark Regulation form the foundation of the EU's work to increase transparency and provide tools for investors to identify sustainable investment opportunities.
Once formally adopted, the EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act will be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council (four months and extendable once by two additional months).
Regarding the CSRD Proposal, the Commission will engage in discussions with the European Parliament and Council.
The six amendments to Delegated Acts on investment and insurance advice, fiduciary duties, and product oversight and governance will be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council (three month periods and extendable once by three additional months) and are expected to apply as of October 2022.