EU: Platform on Sustainable Finance publishes Final Report on Minimum Safeguards
This report advises on the application of minimum safeguards (MS) in relation to the Taxonomy Regulation (TR1 ) Articles 3 and 18. It does so by a) embedding MS in existing EU regulation, b) identifying substantive topics relating to the standards and norms referenced in Article 18 of the Taxonomy regulation and c) presenting advice on compliance with MS.
When exploring the links between MS and EU legislation, the report focuses on the existing Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). These are the key EU regulations linked to this advice. EU initiatives on taxation, corruption and fair competition are also considered in this context.
The SFDR plays a special role in the context of MS because it is explicitly mentioned in Article 18.2 of the Taxonomy Regulation. The report interprets this link by incorporating the five mandatory social principal adverse impacts (PAI) of the SFDR in its advice.
Through analysis of the standards referred in Article 18 of the TR (OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE), United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the eight ILO conventions on fundamental principles and rights at work, and the international bill of human rights, the report identifies four core topics for which compliance with minimum safeguards should be defined. These are:
- Human rights, including workers’ rights
- Fair competition [...]
More concretely, the report recommends that the following should be considered:
- inadequate or non-existent corporate due diligence processes on human rights, including labour rights, bribery, taxation, and fair competition as a sign of non-compliance with MS.
- final liability of companies in respect for breaches of any of these topics as a sign of noncompliance with MS.
- The lack of collaboration with a National Contact Point (NCP)2 , and an assessment of noncompliance with OECD guidelines by an OECD NCP as a sign of non-compliance.
- non-response to allegations by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre as a sign of noncompliance.