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EU sustainable finance framework

On the 13th of June, the Commission released a new package of measures to ensure that the EU sustainable finance framework continues to support companies while encouraging private funding for transition projects and technologies. The new rules will help not only companies that have strong sustainability records already but also those that are at different starting points with credible plans or targets to improve their sustainability performance.

What are the new measures?

  • EU Taxonomy --> Additional activities: The taxonomy is a market transparency tool that helps direct investments to the economic activities most needed for a green transition. Now, the Commission has created a new set of EU Taxonomy criteria through Taxonomy Delegated Acts for economic activities making a substantial contribution to one or more of the non-climate environmental objectives, particularly in the manufacturing and transport sectors.

  • EU Taxonomy Disclosures Delegated Act: The Commission amended the Act to clarify the disclosure obligations for the additional activities.

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating providers: The Commission proposes a Regulation to improve the reliability, comparability and transparency of ESG ratings activities. ESG ratings provide an assessment of the ESG characteristics.

  • EU Taxonomy User Guide: a guidance document on the Taxonomy for non-experts was also published. The Commission aims to enhance the usability of the rules and support stakeholders in their implementation.

When?

Once the EU Taxonomy Delegated Acts are available in all EU official languages, they will be adopted and transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council for scrutiny. They have a four-month period and if they don't object, the acts will be applicable from January 2024.

Opportunity or new obligations?

The new package doesn't impose new obligations. On the contrary, if companies comply with the requirements, they could access better financial opportunities.

How do I know if my company is included?

There are 12 new activities covering 6 sectors, and there are also updates to existing activities.

If you are a manufacturer, you have to check Annex II to know if you meet the technical screening criteria for determining the conditions under which an economic activity qualifies as contributing substantially to the transition to a circular economy and for deciding whether that economic activity causes no significant harm to any of the other environmental objectives. In particular, if your company manufacture electrical and electronic equipment for industrial, professional, and consumer use: your activity is included only if it complies with the established criteria. According to the Annex, you need to prove that your product is designed for a long lifetime, for repair and guarantee, for reuse and remanufacturing, for dismantling and for recyclability. Moreover, it is necessary to demonstrate a proactive substitution of hazardous substances, guaranteeing customers' information and participating in an extended producer responsibility scheme.

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