German Federal Environment Ministry launches survey on sustainable economic activities

In a letter addressed to the CEOs, Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has invited nearly 430 of Europe's major companies to participate in the European Sustainable Finance Survey.
Thorben Wengert,

The BMU-funded research project is the first to measure the sustainability of large enterprises, using a new taxonomy applicable throughout Europe. The survey, which launches today and runs until 9 June, is expected to provide a better understanding of how future-oriented, sustainable economic recovery programmes must be designed. Germany wants to use its EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020 to diligently advance European climate action – green recovery and the Green Deal.

Federal Environment Minister Schulze commented: “To overcome the current crisis, we need sustainable, climate-friendly economic recovery. The EU’s new strategy for growth, the Green Deal, offers excellent opportunities to achieve this. Our guiding principle is not the old world, but a better world with more sustainable economic practices that can withstand crises. The EU Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance provides the first guidance on what sustainability in business actually means. Companies that invest in renewable energy, green mobility and climate-friendly industrial processes are supporting climate action, innovation and jobs that are viable for the future. We plan to promote these investments. That is why we now need to gauge where we stand in terms of sustainability.”

The survey aims to strengthen awareness in businesses and banks of the need for capacity building for the EU Taxonomy, to show to what extent company activities already correspond to the EU Taxonomy and to highlight the challenges and solutions in the further development of the EU Taxonomy. Financial companies will be asked, for example, to indicate how many of their products are aligned with the EU Taxonomy, and what financing they offer that supports mitigation or adaptation to climate change. Specific questions include: “How helpful do you think the EU Taxonomy will be for achieving your sustainability goals?” and “Which are the main difficulties you expect (or already experience) when applying the EU Taxonomy to your products?”

In keeping with the proposal of the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group on EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (TEG), this survey is the first to quantify sustainable economic activities in the major stock-listed companies of Europe that are represented in the 14 main lead indices of the EU 28 based on market capitalisation (EuroStoxx 50, FTSE 100, DAX 30, CAC40, etc.) The results of the survey will form an important basis for joint discussions between business representatives and finance and environment ministries during Germany’s EU Council Presidency.

The TEG concluded its work in March 2020 and proposed technical screening criteria for sustainable economic activities relating to the first two of six environmental objectives (focusing first on climate change only). These provide the foundation for delegated acts which must be adopted by the end of 2020 under the Taxonomy Regulation. Now, on behalf of the BMU and based on the screening criteria of the TEG, the sustainable economic activities of 427 major European companies will be measured against their business volume and compared.


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