Final Report by EC Expert Group on Sustainable Finance


On January 31, 2018, the European Commission (“EC“), published the final report of its high-level expert group (“HLEG“) on sustainable finance. A copy of the report can be found here.

The HLEG was established to help develop an overarching EU roadmap on sustainable finance and to give advice on how to steer more capital flow toward sustainable investments, identify steps that financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the financial system from sustainability risks, and apply these policies on a pan-EU scale.

The HLEG recommended a number of actions, including the following, which were considered priority actions:

  • Establish a classification system (or taxonomy), starting with climate mitigation, to establish market clarity on what is “sustainable”;
  • Clarify investor duties and bring greater focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions;
  • Improve disclosure by financial institutions and companies to make sustainable opportunities and risks transparent;
  • Develop official EU sustainability standards for some financial assets, starting with green bonds; and
  • Integrate sustainability in financial institutions’ governance as well as in financial supervision.

On February 1, 2018,the European Commission published two annexes to the HLEG’s report, the ‘Informal supplementary document on green bonds’ (available here) and ‘Summary of the contributions to the HLEG on sustainable finance consultation document’ (available here).