In the action plan: financing sustainable growth, published in March 2018, the European Commission announced forthcoming measures to enhance the ESG transparency of benchmark methodologies and an initiative to put forward standards for the methodology of low-carbon benchmarks in the Union. To achieve these objectives, the action plan lists a series of actions which should be implemented by 2019. The Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance was set up in July 2018 to assist the Commission in the implementation of the action plan and the proposed regulation on climate benchmarks.
The Commission put forward in May 2018 a proposal for a regulation creating two type of low carbon benchmarks and requiring environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements for benchmarks.
Following the legislative process, Regulation (EU) 2019/2089 of 27 November 2019 amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 as regards EU climate transition benchmarks, EU Paris-aligned Benchmarks and sustainability-related disclosures for benchmarks was published in the Official Journal on 9 December 2019, and entered into application on 30 April 2020.
The Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance (TEG) was set up in July 2018 to assist the Commission in the implementation of the action plan and the regulation, in particular the minimum standards for EU climate transition and EU Paris-aligned Benchmarks, and the content and form of the ESG disclosure requirements. The TEG published its final report in September 2019 followed by a complementary handbook in December 2019.
Following publication of this report and handbook, the Commission published in April 2020 the draft delegated acts for public consultation. The draft delegated acts are currently being finalised.
Please find more information on the work conducted by the TEG below.
TEG interim report
On 18 June 2019, the TEG published its report on climate benchmarks and benchmarks’ ESG disclosures.
The report recommends a list of minimum standards for the methodologies of EU Climate Transition and Paris-aligned benchmarks addressing the risk of greenwashing, and disclosure requirements to improve transparency and comparability of information across benchmarks not only regarding climate-related information but also on a variety of ESG indicators.
A 2-pager summarising the key aspects of the report was also published.
More on the interim report:
- Press release
- Interim report on EU climate benchmarks and benchmarks’ ESG disclosures
- Summary of the interim report on EU climate benchmarks and benchmarks’ ESG disclosures
- Factsheet: Financing sustainable growth
Call for feedback
The interim report was accompanied by a call for feedback that ran until the end of July 2019.
TEG final report
On 30 September 2019, the TEG published its final report on climate benchmarks and benchmarks’ ESG disclosures.
The final report recommends a list of minimum technical requirements for the methodologies of ‘EU Climate Transition’ and ‘EU Paris-aligned’ benchmarks, with the objective to address the risk of greenwashing. The report also recommends a set of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure requirements, including the standard format to be used for the reporting. Those aim to improve transparency and comparability of information across all benchmarks.
Below please find the report and the 2-pager that summarises the key aspects of the final report.
The final report will serve as a basis for the Commission for the drafting of delegated acts in accordance with the empowerments laid down in the amending regulation to Regulation (EU) 2016/1011.
More on the final report:
- Press release
- Final report on EU Climate Benchmarks and Benchmarks’ ESG Disclosures
- Summary of the final report on EU Climate Benchmarks and Benchmarks’ ESG Disclosures
On 20 December 2019, the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) published a Handbook on Climate Benchmarks and benchmarks’ ESG disclosures. The Handbook follows on the publication of the TEG final report on Climate benchmarks that was published on 30 September 2019. The aim of the Handbook is to clarify those recommendations put forward by the TEG and to respond to frequently asked questions from the market.
Minimum technical requirements
On 17 July 2020, the European Commission adopted new rules setting out minimum technical requirements for the methodology of EU climate benchmarks.
In order for benchmarks to be labelled as EU Climate benchmarks, their allocation to the sectors that highly contribute to climate change should not be less than the exposure of their underlying investable, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) intensity will have to be significantly lower than that of the investable universe, they will have to reduce their carbon emissions from one year to the other, and exclude assets that significantly harm ESG objectives.
The new legislation also lays down a number of ESG disclosure requirements for benchmark administrators, including the disclosure on the alignment with the Paris agreement. The new rules will further contribute to an increased level of transparency and comparability on the products offered to the public.