Taxonomy: Civil society organisations fear more greenwashing

Environmental experts urge substantial improvements to the controversial EU Taxonomy Act to ensure science-based criteria and preserve environmental integrity.

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) urges the European Commission not to allow further greenwashing of the EU Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance, the EU’s flagship green investment guidebook. The group includes WWF, Transport & Environment, Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS), Chemsec, Birdlife, Climate Strategy & Partners, Climate & Company, Zero Waste Europe, Reclaim Finance, Germanwatch e.V., European Environmental Bureau, and E3G, among others.

The EU closed a public consultation on a new text, known as the Environmental Taxonomy, or Taxo-4, which classifies activities as sustainable on the basis of their impacts on biodiversity, marine and freshwater ecosystems, pollution, and the circular economy. The coalition of CSOs responded to this public consultation with a detailed analysis of the Commission’s criteria, which is outlined in an Executive Summary published today [1]. This analysis seeks to defend and support the robust science-based recommendations prepared by the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, the Commission’s expert group, in the previous years.

Mathilde Crepy, Head of Environmental Transparency at ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, said: “We are pleased that the EU taxonomy now also lists activities making a substantial contribution to the transition to a circular economy. This is much needed. However, we deeply regret the absence of high material impact sectors, such as food and beverage, textiles, and furniture, and urge the Commission to follow the recommendations from the Platform on Sustainable Finance in this regard without further delay.”

The coalition has identified three major areas of concern on the Commission’s text:

  • It is based on unscientific criteria, which would give a green label to unsustainable activities such single-use plastics packaging, fossil-powered ships, aviation, and biodiversity offsets.
  • There are critical activities left out of the text, such as the manufacture of chemicals, food and beverages, and forestry [2].
  • It weakens key criteria on pollution, which would allow us to protect human health and the environment.

    We urge the European Commission to follow the science by listening to the recommendations of its own expert group, the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, and to not further damage the credibility of the EU Taxonomy by including greenwashed criteria.


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