Photo: Miran Rijavek

After Commissioner Hill, responsible for financial regulation and stability (DG FISMA), left in June 2016, the new responsible Commissioner, Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, has dynamically taken up the issue of green finance. As a result, there are several initiatives to ensure that investments carried out under the new rules of the Capital Markets Union are more supportive of, and take the lead in, financing a carbon-free economy and, in the longer term, take social and governance issues (ESG) into account.

The latest result is the call for a High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance that will publish an overview report with priorities by June 2017 for consultation, and will deliver a comprehensive package of policy measures by the end of 2017. One issue that has become more important on the agenda is how to avoid climate change resulting in financial instability, due to destruction of value.  The EC plans to integrate the December 2016 results of the industry-led FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures in the upcoming application of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive for large companies. A group of NGOs have addressed the Commission to ensure regulations are part of the policy measures and avoid green-washing.

At international level, the G20 Green Finance Study Group full report with proposals for voluntary initiatives was adopted at the G20 Summit in September 2016 as a means of mobilising private capital for green investment and supporting global sustainable growth. The German G20 presidency will integrate green finance issues in some way from December 2016 onwards.