Sustainable finance: Technical Expert Group makes recommendations for methodology of EU climate benchmarks

The Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG), a stakeholder group designed to assist the Commission in developing elements of green finance policy, has issued its final report on climate benchmarks. This work stems from the 2018 EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance and follows up on the agreement by the European Parliament and Member States on a new generation of low-carbon benchmarks needed to help boost investment in sustainable projects and assets. The TEG recommends a set of minimum technical requirements for the methodology of EU Climate benchmarks. These would serve to help investors who wish to adopt a climate-conscious investment strategies make informed decisions. They would also address the risks of greenwashing, the practice of financial products being marketed as ‘green’ or more generally ‘sustainable’, when in fact they do not meet basic environmental standards. The final report also recommends a set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements for benchmark administrators, including the disclosure on the alignment with the Paris agreement. The report will inform the preparation of delegated acts by the Commission to the low-carbon benchmarks and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks regulation, agreed by the European Parliament and Member States in February 2019. Under the agreement, two new categories of climate benchmarks will be created: a climate-transition benchmark and a benchmark that would allow an investment portfolio in line with the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement. The Commission’s benchmarks regulation is expected to be published by the end of the year. The delegated acts will be subject to a formal consultation and are expected to be adopted by mid-2020.