10:57 02.12.2019

France seeks compulsory green reporting standards for EU companies

Source: FT
France seeks compulsory green reporting standards for EU companies

France is pushing the EU to introduce compulsory environmental reporting standards for European companies and apply a common definition of “green” financial products, according to finance minister Bruno Le Maire.

“We are not moving quickly enough,” Mr Le Maire told the Financial Times in an interview ahead of a climate finance conference in Paris. “We are in the process of losing the carbon dioxide battle and we need to win it.”

He also said France aimed to stop all coal investments in Europe by its financial institutions within 10 years.

Mr Le Maire said green finance was essential for managing the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but “greenwashing” — declaring one’s environmental credentials without doing much in reality to reduce emissions or pollution — remained a major concern.

He acknowledged that the EU was tackling the issue with its planned “taxonomy” of green financial products, which would define the criteria for them to qualify.

But he said it was necessary to start enforcing the rules more quickly — and by the end of 2021.

The environmental performance of companies in receipt of loans and investments also needed to be examined, he said.

“We don’t have this data. As well as the European [financial sector] taxonomy, which is absolutely indispensable, we must put in place standardised European indicators for all companies, allowing the evaluation of their environmental performance, their contribution to the struggle against climate change,” he said.

The French proposals are the latest climate and environment initiatives to be outlined by European leaders in recent days.

Christine Lagarde, the new president of the European Central Bank, wants to make climate change “a mission-critical” priority for the bank and incorporate the issue into a strategic review. The European Parliament declared a “climate emergency” on Thursday.

Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the European Commission, has promised a “green new deal” during her mandate, and Valdis Dombrovskis, one of her deputies in charge of financial regulation, is examining the idea of boosting climate-friendly bank lending by easing capital requirements for such loans.

“There’s a proliferation of proposals and initiatives,” Mr Le Maire said. “We need to bring a bit of discipline to all this and work out our priorities.”

“We need to be more credible. We need to be more ambitious. And we need to be faster,” he said, adding that French financial sector commitments on coal would be rigorously monitored by the AMF and the ACPR, which regulatefinancial markets and institutions.

“This coal-exit strategy will be laid out in detail at the start of next year, and I can tell you that one of the aims will be to ensure that there is no coal financing by any French financial institution from 2030 as far as Europe is concerned,” he said. Coal investments outside Europe would be stopped at a later date.

In a report published on Thursday, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam in France accused the big French banks of having a “colossal” carbon footprint despite their green declarations, with their loans and investments being responsible for more than 2bn tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018 — more than four times as much as France’s national emissions.

The big four multinational French banks directed 70 per cent of their energy financing to fossil fuels, the report said.

Mr Le Maire said he did not agree with Oxfam’s assessment, “but I agree that we need to guarantee the credibility of the commitments”.

The French finance minister also proposed increasing the capital of the European Investment Bank, with the additional resources being used in the fight against global warming.

Recent Posts

See All
China to extend pollution clampdown but warns coronavirus makes targets tougher
09:57 22.05.2020
China to extend pollution clampdown but warns coronavirus makes targets tougher
The country is continuing to strengthen its anti-pollution controls and meet 2020 envionmental targets but has now said that the pandemic would ‘weigh’ on these intensity goals. This is another excuse for the country who is using this as a safety net if it fell short of its energy efficiency goals, like it did last year.
Source: Strait Times (Reuters)
China’s New Outbreak Shows Signs the Virus Could Be Changing
10:40 20.05.2020
China’s New Outbreak Shows Signs the Virus Could Be Changing
Chinese doctors are seeing the Coronavirus manifest differently among patients new cases in the NE region, compared to the initial outbreak in Wuhan. Patients are taking longer to develop symptoms after infection, making it harder to identify cases. 46 cases have been reported over the past two weeks. China has one of the most comprehensive virus detection and testing regimes globally and yet is still struggling to contain its new cluster.
Source: Bloomberg
Fresh war of words erupts as Australia accuses China of 'cheap politicking' after communist nation lashed out at claims Scott Morrison helped secure coronavirus probe
09:47 20.05.2020
Fresh war of words erupts as Australia accuses China of 'cheap politicking' after communist nation lashed out at claims Scott Morrison helped secure coronavirus probe
Senior officials in Australia have accused China of ‘cheap politicking’ after Beijing attempted to trivialise Canberra's (Beijing’s top diplomat) role in the global push for a coronavirus inquiry.
Source: Daily Mail