European policymaker outlines plans for higher sustainability standards

The European Commission's Technical Expert Group will publish recommendations in June for tougher sustainability measures

European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis has outlined plans for a new set of sustainable finance measures including plans for an EU green bond standard.

Speaking at the High Level Sustainable Finance Conference, in Brussels on Thursday (21 March), he told delegates that the Commission’s Technical Expert Group was preparing new guidance in the areas of green bonds, carbon benchmarking and on the EU climate change taxonomy.

Dombrovskis explained that the Technical Expert Group would publish its recommendations in June, which include plans for an EU green bond standard.

“We have seen that demand for climate-friendly bonds is much greater than the available offer,” he told delegates.

“Demand for Ireland’s recent €3bn green sovereign bond was over €11bn. Common standards will lay the basis for offering retail investors, EU-labelled green investment products in the future.”

The EC vice president added that the group will also be publishing comprehensive details on the how companies should be rated on their carbon usage, following the EC’s recently produced legal proposal on low-carbon benchmarks.

He added: “The commission will publish the revised guidelines for companies to disclose non-financial and climate risks, based on the January recommendations of the Technical Expert Group.

“We will align our guidelines with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Companies will be asked to report not only on how climate change might influence their performance, but also on how their activities impact the climate.”

Readers keen to read the speech in full, can do so here, at the European Commission website.