Opinion Factsheet  

Financing Sustainable Growth

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Opinion Number: CDR 2182/2018
Rapporteur: GUNDLACK Tilo
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 06/12/2018
 
The objective of this opinion is to put forward the concerns and priorities of local and regional authorities and of the CoR regarding the Commission's action plan on sustainable finance and the legislative proposals seeking to implement it. Finance will need to be at the heart of the solution if the EU is to achieve its ambitious objectives with regards to sustainable development - a key priority for local and regional authorities, many of whose competences and roles are concerned. The development of solutions to push the financial markets and their participants in the direction of sustainable development can have a tremendous impact and it is thus essential for the CoR to make the voice of cities and regions heard.

In addition, while private capital and investment are the main targets of this Action Plan, public capital also plays a major role in encouraging a more sustainable development, in a large part thanks to its ability to invest for the very long term and to act as a catalyst. Local and regional authorities are responsible for more than half of public investment in the EU, and much more in some Member States such as Belgium, Spain, or Germany, and are thus directly concerned . Cities and regions have broad competences and financial responsibilities in the fields of infrastructure, transport and housing, which are crucial to the establishment of a greener, more sustainable economy. In addition, regional and local authorities are significant issuers of green bonds and are thus directly concerned by some of the measures of this Action Plan.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- warmly welcomes the Commission's "Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth", and shares its stated objectives and its willingness to enable the financial sector and private investors to fully play their part in achieving the ambitious and common climate and sustainability objectives;

- calls on the Commission to clarify how a balance can be struck between the partly conflicting aims of the Action Plan with simultaneous preservation of financial stability; points out that the promotion of sustainable finance should not be to the detriment of stability on the financial market;

- believes that this Action Plan and its implementation should be seen in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and of the EU's stated willingness to pursue these goals;

- is concerned about the effects of climate change within the EU and world-wide, and points out that local and regional authorities (LRAs) often have primary responsibility for mitigating damage caused by increasingly extreme natural phenomena and for investing in adjustment measures;

- stresses that the consequences of climate-related natural disasters are immediately felt in LRAs and that the latter also benefit from securing the long-term competitiveness of the EU economy and from new, more sustainable investment and job opportunities;

- deplores, however, the one-sided focus on environmental elements of sustainability in the Commission's Action Plan, and specifically in the "framework proposal"; insists that social concerns are as integral to sustainability as environmental ones, and that governance issues are also highly relevant, especially in the particular context of investment.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Plenary Adoption

On 6 December 2018 the CoR Plenary adopted its opinion on Financing Sustainable Growth unanimously.

 
06 Dec
 

Discussion and adoption in ECON

On 23 October the ECON Commission discussed, amended and unanimously adopted the rapporteur's draft opinion on Financing Sustainable Growth.

The document will now be presented to the CoR Plenary for final adoption in December.

 
23 Oct
 

Bilateral meetings of the rapporteur

On 17 September 2018, the CoR rapporteur on Financing Sustainable Growth, Mr Tilo Gundlack, held several meetings with key institutions and stakeholder in preparation for his opinion.
Mr Gundlack met with representatives of the European Commission (DG FISMA), the organisation Finance Watch, and the German promotional institution KfW.

 
17 Sep
 

Exchange of Views in ECON

During the meeting of 21 June 2018, ECON members held an exchange of views on the topic of financing sustainable growth on the basis of the rapporteur's working document.

Following this discussion the rapporteur will prepare his draft opinion ahead of the ECON Commission meeting of October 218.

 
21 Jun
 

MEPs back resolution on Sustainable Finance

The European Parliament adopted its resolution on Sustainable Finance on the basis of an own-initiative report for which the rapporteur was Molly Scott-Cato (Greens/UK).

 
29 May
 

Legislative proposals on financing sustainable growth

On 24 May 2018 the European COmmission began the implementation of its Action Plan by publishing three legislative proposals:

  • A proposal for a regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment. This regulation establishes the conditions and the framework to gradually create a unified classification system ('taxonomy') on what can be considered an environmentally sustainable economic activity. This is a first and essential step in the efforts to channel investments into sustainable activities.

  • A proposal for a regulation on disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks and amending Directive (EU)2016/2341. This regulation will introduce disclosure obligations on how institutional investors and asset managers integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their risk processes. Requirements to integrate ESG factors in investment decision-making processes, as part of their duties towards investors and beneficiaries, will be further specified through delegated acts.

  • A proposal for a regulation amending the benchmark regulation. The proposed amendment will create a new category of benchmarks comprising low-carbon and positive carbon impact benchmarks, which will provide investors with better information on the carbon footprint of their investments.

 
24 May
 

Appointment of CoR Rapporteur on Sustainable Finance

During its meeting of 24 April 2018 the ECON Commission appointed Mr Tilo Gundlack as the rapporteur for its opinion on Financing Sustainable Growth.

Mr Gundlack is a Member of the Landtag (State Parliament) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany.He is affiliated to the PES Group.

 
24 Apr
 

Publication of the European Commission Action Plan

On 8 March 2018 the European Commission published its Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth

 
08 Mar