The Business Times

EU’s green rulebook loses a bit more credibility as NGOs quit

Published Thu, Sep 15, 2022 · 12:15 AM

A GROUP of non-governmental organisations that had been involved in writing the EU’s green taxonomy has walked out in protest.

They accuse the EU bodies steering the taxonomy of politicising the process instead of basing decisions on science, according to a statement on Wednesday (Sep 14). As a result, 5 nonprofits have announced they will leave the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, which provides technical advice to the EU Commission.

The European Commission “has interfered politically in the group and acted against evidence despite its legal obligation to follow science-based advice,” the NGOs wrote.

It’s the latest blow to the taxonomy, which the EU had intended to become a gold standard for creating a greener, fairer economy. But it’s suffered a few credibility blows, most notably after agreeing to label natural gas and nuclear power as green. Meanwhile, plans for a social taxonomy have been shelved indefinitely as the topic is deemed too politically difficult even to broach.

“The Taxonomy was supposed to help guide consumers and enable them to compare green investments,” Monique Goyens, director-general of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said. “However, for political reasons, it’s become a greenwashing tool for climate-harming investments.”

An EU Commission spokesperson said that the bloc’s executive body “recognises the work of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, and its members, in supporting the Commission to develop the EU’s Sustainable Finance Framework, and the EU Taxonomy in particular. We take note that some members of the Platform have decided to step down from their position.”

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After Wednesday’s walkout, there will be no non-governmental organisations left in formal talks on shaping the green taxonomy. Industry groups and government environmental groups will remain, however.

The NGOs said the EU Commission “repeatedly ignored the expert group’s recommendations, particularly on forestry, bio-energy, gas-fired power and nuclear power, without providing any sound scientific justification for these decisions.”

Civil society groups informed European Commissioner Mairead McGuiness of their resignation in a letter sent on Tuesday, they wrote.

The resigning organisations are the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), Birdlife Europe and Central Asia, Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS), Transport & Environment, and the WWF European Policy Office. BLOOMBERG

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