France calls for mandatory green reporting standards for EU companies


Climate Change Updates

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

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

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

Mr Le Maire said green finance was essential to manage the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, but that “greenwashing” – declaring its environmental credentials without actually doing much to reduce emissions or pollution – remained a major concern.

He acknowledged that the EU was tackling the problem with its planned “taxonomy” of green financial products, which would define the eligibility criteria.

But he said there was a need to start enforcing the rules faster – and by the end of 2021.

The environmental performance of companies receiving loans and investments must also be examined, he said.

“We don’t have this data. as well as Europe [financial sector] taxonomy, which is absolutely essential, we must set up standardized European indicators for all companies, making it possible to assess their environmental performance, their contribution to the fight against climate change, ”he said.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France aims to halt all coal investments in Europe by its financial institutions within 10 years © AFP via Getty Images

The French proposals are the latest climate and environmental initiatives presented 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 integrate the issue into a strategic review. The European Parliament declared the “climate emergency” on Thursday.

Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the European Commission, promised a “green new deal” during her tenure, and Valdis Dombrovskis, one of her deputies in charge of financial regulation, is studying the idea of ​​boosting respectful bank credit climate by easing capital required for such loans.

“There is a proliferation of proposals and initiatives,” said Le Maire. “We need to bring a little discipline to all of this and set our priorities. ”

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

“This coal exit strategy will be detailed at the start of next year, and I can tell you that one of the objectives will be to ensure that there is no financing of coal by any French financial institution in from 2030 to Europe. is concerned, ”he said. Investments in coal outside of Europe would be stopped at a later date.

In a report released Thursday, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam in France accused large French banks to have a “colossal” carbon footprint despite their green declarations, their loans and investments being responsible for more than 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018, more than four times more than the national emissions of the France.

The four major French multinational banks have devoted 70% of their energy financing to fossil fuels, according to the report.

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

The French Minister of Finance has also proposed to increase the capital of the European Investment Bank, the additional resources being used in the fight against global warming.

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