>> Taxonomy | >> Sustainability risks & factors
>> Green bonds | >> Case studies from ESBG members
Updated: October 2019
The EU Commission’s aim to create the world’s first climate-neutral continent is no small task. To get there,
it requires sustainable finance. European decision-makers have rightly set the aim to channel more funds
into sustainable projects. Overall, ESBG warmly welcomes this, but many questions remain unanswered.
The European Green Deal is ambitious but needed if further emissions cuts are foreseen by 2030 and beyond.
To date, the European Commission desired to create gradually a unified classification system ('taxonomy') on
what constitutes an environmentally sustainable economic activity. That is expected to be helpful. Beyond
taxonomy, making sustainable solutions attractive requires focus on
giving true incentives to the real economy. Savings and retail banks,
with their long-term-oriented business model, provide the financing
locally to launch projects such as improving energy efficiency in the
building envelope through better-insulated housing and other public
and private structures.
Sustainability should be framed as more than “green”. Often over -
looked is the social dimension to sustainability. The European
Commission rightly pointed out as much. In its Action Plan on
Financing Sustainable Growth, it noted that sustainability rests on
environmental and social considerations alike.
Regulation around sustainability should always take into account a
policy measure’s social impact. More specifically, policy must avoid creating side effects that might restrict,
for example, access to financial services, or cause unwanted social effects.
The challenge remains to address the need for sustainable finance and local growth and development.
Being sustainable – and, in particular, socially committed – is not new to savings and retail banks. They stand
ready to leverage their experience, knowledge and local networks to work together with policymakers to help
deliver on the promise that a social market economy brings.
From now until 2050, it will be crucially important to have a policy framework that ensures a diversified banking
sector, with strong locally focussed savings and retail banks, and a proportionate and well-balanced regulatory
regime. When these elements are in place, Europe’s 900 savings and retail banks can help Europeans build a
prosperous and sustainable future.
>> Case studies from ESBG members