EU social taxonomy and taxonomy extension linked to environment reports

The draft proposal for a social taxonomy will argue that in the face of a pandemic, unanswered social questions around a sustainable transition, continuing human rights abuses and continuously rising costs for housing, the time is right to identify economic activities that contribute to advancing social objectives. Just as the EU environmental taxonomy defines activities that substantially contribute to environmental objectives, a social taxonomy would do the same for social objectives.

Built on the foundation of international norms and principles like the sustainable development goals (SDG) and the UN guiding principles for businesses and human rights, a social taxonomy would help investors to contribute to finance solutions around ensuring decent work, enabling inclusive and sustainable communities and affordable healthcare and housing. A social taxonomy would be a tool to help investors identify opportunities to contribute to these objectives.

The Public Consultation Report on Taxonomy extension options linked to environmental objectives will be focussed on support for the environmental transition needed in the whole economy – it proposes further clarity on both: activities that are significantly harmful to environmental sustainability, and those that have no significant impact on it. The aim is to support transitions in areas currently of “significant harm”. They should transition to a level that at least does not cause significant harm, even if they do not actually reach substantial contribution (green). The report will set out options to build on the existing taxonomy and its use.

The Platform on Sustainable Finance will welcome stakeholder feedback on both drafts through two calls for feedback, which will run from 12 July to 27 August 2021. Platform’s advice on this will feed into Commission’s report on potential extension of taxonomy framework to be adopted by the end of 2021.

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Supervision of ESG risks for credit institutions and investment firms

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published yesterday a report which provides recommendations for institutions to incorporate ESG risks-related considerations in strategies and objectives, governance structures, and to manage these risks as drivers of financial risks in their risk appetite and internal capital allocation process. The EBA also recommends developing methodologies and approaches to test the long-term resilience of institutions against ESG factors and risks including the use of scenario analysis.

EBA sees a need applying at least a 10 years horizon to capture ESG related risks, proposing a phase-in approach. This Report should be considered in conjunction with the EBA and ESAs disclosure publications under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR), the Taxonomy Regulation and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The EBA will publish Pillar 3 disclosure requirements on ESG risks, transition risks and physical risks, as defined in this Report, later this year.

The report will be taken into consideration in the context of the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, the review of CRR/CRD, and an update of the SREP Guidelines to include ESG risks in the supervision of credit institutions.

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