SUSTAINABLE FINANCE Integrating sustainability in all economic sectors

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      It is estimated that in order to achieve carbon neutrality and fulfil the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, the EU will require investments of about €175-290 billion per annum in the energy, transport, construction, water and infrastructure sectors.

      To address this challenge, public and private funds will have to be redirected into sustainable investments. The public-sector financing capacities being limited, the private sector will play a crucial role in generating the investment needed to bring about this transition.

      To this end, the European Commission has submitted an ambitious and unique Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth.

      Creating more opportunities for green investment and raising investor awareness about the risks associated with climate change require several legislative proposals. These proposals are designed to guarantee that financial products will be used to promote sustainable activities, and therefore be the driving force behind the transition towards a greener economy.

      The cornerstone of the Action Plan and the most important legislative proposal is the Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment which provides for the creation of an EU taxonomy. The proposal will help develop a unified EU classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activity for investment purposes. This will enable Member States to recognize the value of their investment through new labels and standards across the EU, highlighting the path for future law to best support sustainable development.

      The other two actions include a proposal to introduce disclosure requirements on how institutional investors and asset managers integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their risk processes, as well as a proposal to create low-carbon and positive emission benchmarks to provide investors with better information on the carbon footprint of their investments.

      These initiatives, among others under development, demonstrate the EU’s commitment to mitigating global warming. The Action Plan marks a proactive effort to integrate climate change factors into state budgeting, public procurement and public investment management. The objective is to implement structural changes in economic, production and energy models to transform our model of growth.

      The targets set out in this legislation will involve widespread restructuring and industrial change in all EU countries; it will affect all sectors as the EU develops low and zero-carbon alternatives to replace current technologies. It is imperative to strike a balance between sustainable and social development as demonstrated by the European Commission’s new political agenda. Ultimately, thegoal of sustainable finance is to continuously improve the conversion of “brown” activities into “green” ones. This is the new reality of the 21st century if we wish to achieve a world free from carbon by 2050. In this edition of The European Files, we unpack the complexities of this significant legislation to better understand the interest for all stakeholders involved in sustainable finance.

      Editor-in-Chief 

      Laurent ULMANN


      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      • Non-financial information must become part of corporate governance
        Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Economy and Finance
      • Establishing a new generation of standards for low carbon to incentivise investment in sustainable projects
        Mika Lintilä, Minister of Finance, Finland
      • New green taxation: an opportunity for a better world
        María Jesús Montero Cuadrado, Spanish Minister (acting) for Finance
      • Sustainability – now is the time to change the world
        Emma Navarro, EIB Vice President for climate action and environment
        Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice President for innovation and development
      • Sustainable Finance and the insurance sector: how Generali is integrating sustainability in its strategy.
        Philippe Donnet, Generali Group CEO
      • Sustainable investment should no longer be the exception, but the norm
        Bas Eickhout, MEP (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), Vice-President ENVI Committee
      • Green finance: time for an institutionnal spark
        Dominique Riquet, MEP (Renew Europe, France) Chairman of the Intergroup on long-term and sustainable investment, Member of the TRAN Committee
        Simona Bonafe, MEP (S&D, Italy) Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on long-term and sustainable investment, Member of the ENVI Committee
        Adina-Iona Valean, MEP (EPP, Romania), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on long-term and sustainable investment, Chair of the ITRE Committee
      • Promoting synergies between public and private networks in green finance
        Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President – Policy and Partnerships – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
      • Enlarging the impact of sustainable finance to support the climate change efforts
        Jean-Pierre Sbraire, Chief Financial Officer, TOTAL
      • Towards a sustainable economic order
        Paul Tang, MEP (S&D Group), Member of the ECON Committee
      • Fight against climate change depends on cooperation and innovative thinking
        Wim Mijs, Chief Executive Officer of the European Banking Federation
      • Taxonomy: A green tool for companies to grow
        Florence Bindelle, Secretary General, EuropeanIssuers
        Frederico de Santos Martins, Policy Adviser, EuropeanIssuers
      • Decarbonising Finance or Decarbonising the Real Economy?
        Helman le Pas de Sécheval, General Counsel, VEOLIA
      • Finance cannot be sustainable if it’s only about finance
        Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO of Accountancy Europe
      • The necessity of common sustainable standards for all stakeholders
        Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP (EPP Group), Member of the ECON Committee
      • Borealis’ drive to address global challenges responsibly
        Mark Tonkens, Borealis CFO
      • Waking the giant – using procurement to finance sustainable development
        Paula Land, Officer Sustainable Economy and Procurement, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
        Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI‘s Sustainable Procurement Centre
      • Green finance to accelerate the circular economy in Europe
        Jean Hornain, General Director of Citeo
      • Improving access to finance for circular economy projects
        Janneke van Veen, Policy officer,team Eco-innovation on Circular Economy, European Commission DG Research & Innovation
        Pavel Misiga, Head of Unit / Circular Economy & Biobased Systems, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.
      • The EU Chemicals Industry: a key sector for a sustainable Europe
        Marco Mensink, Director General of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
      • ESG Insights Can Help Drive Sustainable Growth
        David Henry Doyle, Head of Government Affairs & Public Policy, EMEA, S&P Global
      • Why we need a shaded taxonomy from green to brown and in between
        Orith Azoulay, Global Head of Green & Sustainable Finance – Natixis
      • Engaging investors to realise sustainable finance goals
        Carey Evans, Director, Public Policy, BlackRock
      • Future proofing finance for Circular Economy and Climate
        Jan Raes, Works as a sustainability advisor at ABN AMRO bank, headquartered in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.