European Commission ‘politically interfered’ with recommendations for Taxonomy

Civil society members resign from EU Platform on grounds Commission 'ignored' their recommendations and damaged Taxonomy credibility

Five civil society groups which have members sitting with the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance have resigned from their posts as they criticised the European Commission for “interfering politically” and “repeatedly ignoring the recommendations of its expert group”.

A letter from representatives at the WWF, Birdlife Europe and Central Asia, BEUC, Transport & Environment and ECOS said the Commission’s relationship with the Platform was “very unsatisfactory” and members had “lost trust in the Commission’s ability to govern its relationship with this expert group properly”.

The members resigning are:

  • Monique Goyens, director general at BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation
  • Ariel Brunner, deputy director and head of policy at Birdlife Europe and Central Asia
  • Mathilde Crêpy, head of environmental transparency at ECOS
  • Luca Bonaccorsi, director of sustainable finance Transport & Environment
  • Sebastien Godinot, head of sustainable finance at WWF European Policy Office

They said the Commission had ignored recommendations around forestry, bioenergy, gas and nuclear power “without providing any sound scientific justification for these decisions” and had “heavily damaged” the credibility of the Green Taxonomy by going ahead with The Complementary Delegated Act (CDA) on gas and nuclear power, which Platform members “unequivocally rejected”.

“[The Act] is also having disastrous international repercussions by incentivising other countries to stimulate investments in these activities on the grounds that even the EU has given them its seal of approval. With the CDA, the Taxonomy has been transformed from a gold standard into an instrument of institutional greenwashing and it now lags behind other taxonomies in China, Colombia, South Africa, and Bangladesh, amongst others.”

‘No confidence’

The former members also criticised the Commission’s plans to restrict the Platform’s mandate by requiring it to focus principally on the implementation of the current criteria, and shrink membership.

“We fear the Commission will transform the Platform from a balanced group of experts representing different positions – a requirement of Article 15 of the Taxonomy regulation – into a more politicised group that reflects the preferences of different Directorates – General in the Commission. Problematically, the Commission could select these experts to crowd out any independent views, as we have already experienced in the current Platform’s work on a number of politically sensitive sectors,” the letter said.

They reiterated they have “no confidence” the new Platform will be able to work independently and devise scientific criteria for the Taxonomy.

In response, a European Commission spokesman told Reuters: “The European Commission recognises the work of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, and its members, in supporting the Commission to develop the EU’s Sustainable Finance Framework, and the EU Taxonomy in particular.

“We take note that some members of the Platform have decided to step down from their position.” 


Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...