Works in view of the establishment of an EU classification system for sustainable activities, i.e. an EU taxonomy
From action plan to Taxonomy Regulation
The Commission put forward the action plan on financing sustainable growth in March 2018. Action 1 of the action plan calls for the establishment of an EU classification system for sustainable activities, i.e. an EU taxonomy. The European Commission followed through on this action in May 2018 with a proposal for a regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (Taxonomy regulation).
On 18 December 2019, the Council and the European Parliament reached a political agreement on the Taxonomy Regulation. On 15 April 2020 the Council adopted by written procedure its position at first reading with respect to the Taxonomy regulation. The European Parliament approved the text pursuant to the « early second reading agreement » procedure on 18 June 2020.
On 22 June 2020, the Taxonomy Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union and entered into force on 12 July 2020.
Final report of the TEG on the EU taxonomy
In order to inform its work on the action plan, including on the EU taxonomy, the European Commission established a Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance in July 2018.
Within the framework of the Taxonomy Regulation, the TEG has been asked to develop recommendations for technical screening criteria for economic activities that can make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation or adaptation, while avoiding significant harm to the four other environmental objectives: sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.
On 9 March 2020, the TEG published its final report on EU taxonomy. The report contains recommendations relating to the overarching design of the EU taxonomy, as well as extensive implementation guidance on how companies and financial institutions can use and disclose against the taxonomy. The report is supplemented by a technical annex containing:
– Updated technical screening criteria for 70 climate change mitigation and 68 climate change adaptation activities, including criteria for do no significant harm to other environmental objectives.
– An updated methodology section to support the recommendations on the technical screening criteria.
The TEG has also prepared excel tools to help users of the Taxonomy to implement it in their own activities.
This report builds on the work that the TEG published in June 2019 and the early feedback report published in December 2018. Both reports were subject to an open call for feedback to gather views from stakeholders.
In order to respond to the most frequently asked questions by stakeholders about the TEG’s final report and the Commission’s next steps, a joint document with frequently asked questions has been published by the Commission and the TEG.
During its mandate, the TEG also engaged with over 200 additional experts to develop their recommendations for the technical screening criteria.
The Taxonomy Regulation tasks the Commission with establishing the actual list of environmentally sustainable activities by defining technical screening criteria for each environmental objective. These criteria will be established through delegated acts.
The TEG’s recommendations are designed to support the European Commission in the development of the delegated act on climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation under the Taxonomy Regulation.
The Commission services are currently preparing the delegated act, taking into account the requirements of the Taxonomy Regulation and the stakeholder feedback received on the TEG reports and on the inception impact assessment. The delegated act will be accompanied by an impact assessment and is currently subject to stakeholder feedback for a period of four weeks before adoption.
For the four other environmental objectives, the taxonomy should be established by the end of 2021 and will apply by the end of 2022. Further development of the EU taxonomy will take place via a new Platform on sustainable finance, which is expected to be operating by autumn 2020. The first company reports and investor disclosures using the EU Taxonomy are due at the start of 2022.
The Commission will adopt a delegated act by June 2021 specifying the information companies subject to the non-financial reporting directive will have to disclose on how, and to what extent, their activities align with those considered environmentally sustainable in the Taxonomy. An inception impact assessment was published for feedback in July 2020. To help inform the delegated act, the Commission also requested advice from the European Supervisory Authorities in September 2020.
Virginie Gastine Menou
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