31 May 2021

European Commission commits to higher transparency in taxonomy decision-making, ECOS resumes work in official advisory group

By Mathilde Crêpy
By Ivo Cabral

The European Commission committed to higher transparency in the creation of a sustainable finance taxonomy following calls by the Platform on Sustainable Finance, prompted by protests of ECOS and four other NGOs. Over a month ago, nonprofits suspended their participation in the Platform on Sustainable Finance as a response to the adoption of a taxonomy proposal which ignored scientific advice.

ECOS, WWF, Transport & Environment, BirdLife, and BEUC will return to the Platform on Sustainable Finance, the expert group advising the European Commission on the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, a list of economic activities to be considered as sustainable.

Following calls by the Platform, the European Commission committed to higher transparency in the adoption of future delegated acts on the sustainable finance taxonomy.

The end of NGOs suspension was triggered by a letter sent last Thursday by the European Commission to the protesting organisations, in which it commits to:

  • Ensure transparency on rationale for criteria in proposed delegated acts
  • Allow the Platform to review and propose changes to adopted criteria
  • Facilitate deeper technical exchange between the Platform and Member States

ECOS believes that such commitments will help improve the governance around the adoption of the taxonomy. As a response, ECOS has decided to return to work as part of the advisory platform, making sure that political and individual interests do not overrule the scientific integrity of the EU taxonomy criteria.

Mathilde Crêpy, Senior Progamme Manager at ECOS, said:

The Delegated Act adopted by the Commission last month included substantial last-minute changes driven by politics, not science. If the Commission turns its new commitments into actual improvements in governance, political interference will be less likely. Transparency is the only way to achieve a taxonomy that truly works for the environment.

Notes to editors: 

On 21 April 2021, NGOs suspended their participation in meetings of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, advising the European Commission on the upcoming EU taxonomy, a list of ‘green’ investment areas. [1]

The decision was triggered by last-minute changes in the Commission’s Climate Taxonomy Delegated Act [2]. The adopted text did not follow latest scientific advice, ignoring the recommendations from the Commission’s Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance. The Commission’s proposal included clauses caving in to business interests, considering clear-cut logging and tree burning as ‘environmentally sustainable’ activities. [3]

[1] ECOS press release – ECOS suspends its activities in EU Platform on Sustainable Finance over harmful taxonomy proposal
https://ecostandard.org/news_events/ecos-suspends-its-activities-in-eu-platform-on-sustainable-finance-over-harmful-taxonomy-proposal/

[2] European Commission press release – Sustainable Finance and EU Taxonomy: Commission takes further steps to channel money towards sustainable activities
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_1804

[3] ECOS – EU climate taxonomy: the good, the bad and the ugly
https://ecostandard.org/news_events/good-bad-ugly-taxonomy/

Contacts: 

Mathilde Crêpy, senior programme manager at ECOS – mathilde.crepy@ecostandard.org

Ivo Cabral, press manager at ECOS – ivo.cabral@ecostandard.org  

About ECOS: 

ECOS is an international NGO with a network of members and experts advocating for environmentally friendly technical standards, policies and laws. We ensure the environmental voice is heard when they are developed and drive change by providing expertise to policymakers and industry players, leading to the implementation of strong environmental principles. Learn more on www.ecostandard.org

 

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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