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EU-Taxonomy Extension – How a traffic light system will transform EU-Taxonomy classification
Today, there are debates about extending the current version of the EU-Taxonomy. The EU’s original Taxonomy was developed to provide insights on sustainable investments for investors, government and other organizations. The Taxonomy aims to provide a science-based classification system to use in financial decisions with the goal of increasingly directing investments in sustainable economic activities. While the EU-Taxonomy is still relatively new, it has attracted a large amount of critical feedback.
Why is the current version of the EU Taxonomy receiving criticism?
The current version is mainly focused on the performance levels of activities that are considered to make a substantial contribution to the EU´s environmental objectives, while also not making significant harm to one of those objectives. So, economic activities are considered sustainable if, on the one hand, they directly contribute to the fulfillment of EU environmental goals or support the achievement of at least one of the environmental goals, such as data services to optimize the management of renewable energy sources. In doing so, none of the other environmental goals may be significantly impaired.
Still, this classification shows some limitations. It leaves a wide variety of economic activities non-classified, either because they have no sustainable transition options or they are considered to not substantially contribute to the climate objectives. This non-classification is often misinterpreted as ”non-sustainable“. This implies that at some point, the investments for those activities will eventually dry up, although they are not actually unsustainable.
Traffic lights driving a broader understanding of sustainable activities
The latest proposal would introduce a traffic light system for classifying economic activities. This would entail that more activities are included in the EU-Taxonomy, showing the different degrees of sustainability.
This is to be seen in the visualization below.
In comparison to the existing Taxonomy, the new model shows a more complex classification system. Firstly, there are some activities, classed as red (Box 1), that cannot be reformed and will always be considered to do “Significant Harm“. Secondly, listed activities with an Amber status are considered as “intermediate performance“ (Box 2). Those are activities that are in the process of transitioning to a more climate compatible performance. Box 3 shows activities that are about to be included in the future. The ultimate goal is to eventually assess all the activities on an activity-by-activity basis. The last column (Box 4) shows the low environmental impact activities (LEnvI), which includes the activities that do not have significant environmental impact and should not be regarded as either red, amber or green. It could allow enterprises to show that their overall activities do not cause environmental or social harm, although not considered “green“.
Directly spoken, many EU-Taxonomy users could benefit from an extension of the Taxonomy framework to introduce other performance levels, since this would enhance transparency. Additionally, it would support a faster environmental transition within the whole economy with the goal of the “Red“ activities, transitioning to “Amber“ and to eventually eliminating the activities unable to transition.
What does that mean for companies?
The extension of the EU-Taxonomy aims to provide more transparency around the environmental impact of economic activities with the goal to incentivize investments in sustainable activities. Companies need to be aware of what this will mean for them. As investors increasingly focus on climate compatible activities, companies will need to adapt their strategy accordingly. Already today, companies are faced with the challenge of developing a climate relevant strategy in order to position themselves as a sustainable and climate compatible company.
#CTS2022: The climate solutions I didn’t know existed
Today on the CLIMATE TRANSFORMATION Summit’s agenda, we have “The climate solutions I didn’t know existed”.
The #CTS2022 is expected to be mind-blowing, and one of the reasons is the CLIMATE Online Fair, for which we reserved one and a half hours on both days of the Summit. During this time slot, attendees will be able to meet inspiring providers of climate solutions and learn about the solutions that are already out there. That’s right, we already have some of the technologies needed to slow down (to say to stop it would be too optimistic) climate change, even though we might not be aware of it!
In this blog entry, I would like to introduce you to some of the Exhibitors who will showcase their products and services at our Summit to give you an idea of the type of climate pioneers you will be able to meet.
MEET THE EXHIBITORS!
So here is a list with the first confirmed Exhibitors with their climate solutions at our Summit – and don’t forget: if you want to become one, you can apply here.
- B.A.U.M. e.V. with its over 700 members is today a strong voice of sustainably operating companies and a driving force for sustainable development in Europe.
- myclimate is a Swiss Non-Profit Organisation wanting to shape the future through consultation, education, and climate protection projects.
- Tracks GmbH offers automated decarbonization solutions for the transportation industry.
- PLANTED plants mixed forests in Germany and offsets the CO₂ emissions of their customers.
- INTENSE AG is one of the leading providers for competent IT implementation in energy supply.
- CarbonStack accelerates the transformation to CO₂ neutrality by offsetting emissions that are difficult to avoid with local compensation projects.
- VERSO GmbH supports companies with its software for sustainability & CO₂ management.
- Helioz Research & Development GmbH develops climate projects with its own innovation for water disinfection resulting in carbon offsets for the voluntary market.
- greenmiles has been offering advice on all aspects of climate strategy and climate accounting since 2007.
- Next-Incubator is a think tank and internationally established innovation developer, that promotes projects that meet ESG-criteria.
- First Climate is an internationally active provider of solutions for climate protection and renewable energy supply.
- An official partner to the UN Race to Zero, Tech Zero is a worldwide group of tech companies of all sizes around the world who are committed to fighting the climate crisis.
- DQS CFS GmbH handles all certification and auditing services concerning aspects of consumer safety and sustainability.
- PHAT CONSULTING GmbH is a leading Microsoft partner in cloud-based office and frontline collaboration.
- PRIMAKLIMA plants and supports forests.
- Fokus Zukunft GmbH & Co. KG is a sector-independent external sustainability consultancy for (medium-sized) companies
I don’t know about you, but I already feel inspired by simply looking at all the climate solutions out there! I can’t wait to see what each exhibitor will prepare to customize their own Virtual Booth and I hope you will join us at our CLIMATE TRANSFORMATION Summit 2022 on 2nd & 3rd June!
Don’t forget to get your ticket here and see you there!