BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe sought to increase the flow of money into businesses that tackle climate change on Tuesday with the publication of European Commission guidelines on what qualifies an investment as environmentally friendly.
The European Union has agreed to substantial reductions of carbon emissions by 2030 and its executive wants the bloc to reduce them to zero by 2050 to help stop global warming, the rise of average worldwide temperatures.
In order to cut emissions by 2030, many sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing or energy, need an additional annual investment of 180 billion euros (£161 billion) and even more is needed to achieve zero emissions by 2050.
The Commission said the purpose of its 414-page report was to generate more investments or redirect existing funds and to help reach the emissions targets.
While many investors want to put money in sustainable businesses to help stop climate change or market financial products they sell as “green”, it is difficult to decide which and to what extent business activities qualify.
The report, referred to as a taxonomy, is a mass of graphs, tables and methodologies to determine if an investment is green.
“When issuing bonds and loans, issuers can have access to better borrowing conditions if investors believe that a bond or loan can contribute to the de-carbonisation of their loan book or their investment portfolios,” a section of the report said.
“Likewise, those bonds or loans aimed at improving a company or entity’s environmental footprint, including expanding their taxonomy-related activities, might benefit from preferential treatment of investors,” it said.
The Commission also published separate guidelines on what standards a bond marketed as “green” should meet and on climate-related benchmarks for company reporting.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Alexander Smith)