"Investors issue strong call to action - as European Parliament votes in new rules to ensure finance doesn't cause human rights abuses and environmental destruction", 18 April 2019
This week has seen historic moves from across both politics and industry, which could transform the financial sector in the European Union.
The European Parliament has made a major step towards a more ethical financial sector, by unanimously voting for new rules that mean investors will have to put proper measures in place ensuring their activities do not cause human rights abuses or environmental destruction.
This major move was also backed by big players in the investment industry itself – with the likes of Aviva, Hermes, Sycomore and Robeco issuing a major call on investors to set up and carry out robust due diligence processes to manage risks to people and the environment. They also urgently called on governments to support investor due diligence through better regulation of financial systems...
Sustainability reporting experts and NGOs welcome the adoption of the EU sustainability reporting standards (ESRS) by EFRAG submitted this week to the European Commission. Whilst the ambition of the ESRS remains limited in several areas, they represent a major improvement for companies as well as for users of sustainability information and address the biggest problems in quality and reliability of corporate reporting.
The European Commission will now consult EU bodies and Member States on the draft standards,
before adopting the final standards as delegated acts in June 2023, followed by a scrutiny period by the European Parliament and Council.
This discussion paper describes the outcomes of a project developed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights which aimed to use algorithm assisted analysis of a large number of company reports maintained in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Disclosure Database against a set of human rights indicators to supplement qualitative analysis of company reporting.
The Platform on Sustainable Finance seeks public feedback on its draft report on minimum safeguards. The minimum safeguards set out in Article 18 of the Taxonomy Regulation require that companies implement procedures to comply with OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises and the UN guiding principles on business and human rights.
The petition says “the inclusion of nuclear power in the EU Taxonomy and the EU giving its stamp on nuclear power as being green would not only undermine the credibility of the EU Taxonomy, but also leave a significant negative legacy for the future of the EU and the world.”
A month after the European Commission approved the inclusion of fossil gas and nuclear energy into the EU taxonomy, 92 NGOs and CSOs call on financial institutions to reject this greenwashing attempt by excluding both energies from their “sustainable” or “green” funds and bonds
Japanese CSOs working on environmental and energy issues and groups of people affected by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster say in the open letter that including nuclear power in the EU taxonomy would "undermine the credibility of the EU Taxonomy" and "leave a significant negative legacy for the future of the EU and the world."
The Commission's decision to include gas and nuclear investments in the European Union's "sustainable finance taxonomy" rules was circulated in a draft proposal late on Dec. 31 and leaked to some media organisations.
Some EU governments had threatened they would block the first ‘taxonomy’ list if nuclear and gas were not included as ‘sustainable’ in the second list, which is expected to be proposed soon. In the end, 13 governments opposed it - 2 Member States short of the blocking threshold - and the proposal went through automatically.
On 12 July 2021 the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance published two reports, including a draft report on a social taxonomy grounded in human rights. The Platform welcomes stakeholder feedback on both reports.
The EU Commission’s taxonomy, unveiled on Wednesday, introduces a labelling system for investment that could divert hundreds of billions in funds to 'sustainable' industries and companies. Environmentalists say the taxonomy’s forestry criteria are too weak because they classify industrial logging and the burning of trees and crops for energy as ‘sustainable’ investments.
The recommendations can successfully guide the EU standard-setting process, and significantly advance the quality of corporate sustainability transparency, says the Alliance for Corporate Transparency.
The reports set out recommendations to the European Commission for the elaboration of possible EU sustainability reporting standards and for possible changes to EFRAG's governance and funding if it were to become the EU sustainability reporting standard setter.
In response to a consultation on the draft delegated acts (DA) that provides much of the initial detail for the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy Regulation, the 130-strong group said the current text “ignored or weakened the Technical Expert Group’s (TEG) scientific advice for several activities”.
The criteria generally follow the recommendations from the technical expert group (TEG) that advised the Commission on its sustainable finance action plan, but deviate from them in some respects. Civil society has raised concerns that some of the thresholds deviated from scientific evidence as a result of political and industry pressure.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the first two sets of criteria for determining which economic activities can qualify as environmentally sustainable, under the EU's Taxonomy.