Sustainable Finance

December 2019

  • The European Commission announces a European Green Deal
  • The Council adopts its conclusions on the EU’s strategy on climate-neutrality by 2050
  • The European Banking Authority issues its strategy on sustainable finance

European Commission reconfirms its commitment to tackle climate change*

On 11 December, the European Commission announced the European Green Deal. It outlines a number of legislative and non-legislative measures to transform the European economy into a climate-neutral one. It is seen as a new growth strategy for Europe. The new Green Deal aims for inclusive policies that leave no-one behind. It covers all sectors of the economy – industry, buildings, transport, energy, trade and agriculture. The upcoming Climate Law is a flagship measure, which is foreseen for March 2020. The Commission also intends to renew its sustainable finance strategy by autumn 2020.

The Green deal includes several initiatives in order to mainstream sustainability in all EU policies. The Commission will present a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan to collect the necessary funding for sustainable investments. It was officially confirmed that the Non-financial Reporting Directive will be reviewed by end 2020. Natural capital accounting is also on the agenda to make sure environmental risks are managed better. And the work will continue on an EU green bond standard.

The Green Deal initiative was welcomed by MEPs, but they would like the social field to be better addressed.

Read our statement here and see more on the Green deal and a timeline of key actions.

*Please note that the title of this news item has been corrected from ‘renounce’ to ‘reconfirm’, which accurately reflects the Commission’s actions

The European Council endorsed the objective of a climate neutrality by 2050

On 12 December, the European Council adopted its conclusions on combatting climate change. Heads of States agreed on a climate neutrality objective by 2050. However, Poland could not yet commit to this objective as it heavily depends on coal for its electricity production. It was agreed to return to the subject in June 2020. Read more

Council adopts legislative reforms in the context of the Capital Markets Union

On 8 November, the Council adopted a set of legislative reforms, two of the regulations on sustainable finance: disclosure obligations for financial companies and the benchmarks regulation which introduces new types of benchmarks.

EP declares climate emergency

On 28 November in Strasbourg, the European Parliament voted on the declaration of the climate emergency at the EU level – which was approved by overwhelming majority. MEPs urged the Commission to ensure all proposals are aligned with 1.5 degrees target and also to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 in order to become a climate neutral economy by 2050. Read more

Council recommends developing a European framework for NFI reporting in the context of the CMU

On 5 December, the Council adopted its conclusions on the deepening of the Capital Markets Union (CMU). It supports the transition to a sustainable economy, and this should be an important element within the deepening of the CMU. The Council stresses that the Commission and the Member States should seek ways to further promote sustainable financing by providing for reliable, comparable and relevant information on risks, opportunities and impact. Hence, they recommend to consider the development of the European standard for non-financial reporting. Also, the development and promotion of green bonds at national and EU level is listed, among others, to help transition to a sustainable economy. Read more

The European Banking Authority issues its sustainable finance action plan

On 7 December, the European Banking Authority (EBA) issued its workplan for sustainable finance. The encourages institutions to act proactively in incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into risks management and strategies. The EBA intends to build on existing work such as the EC supplement guidance on climate-reporting, upcoming EU taxonomy and also the TCFD recommendations on climate-related financial disclosures in order to identify key metrics and associated disclosure – key component of the EBA’s work. Read moreThis curated content was brought to you by Vita Ramanauskaité, Accountancy Europe senior policy advisor since 2015. You can send her tips by email, follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.