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Commission action plan: EU sustainable finance strategy milestone

Commission action plan: EU sustainable finance strategy milestone
​​​The following is a statement from ESBG responding to the European Commission Sustainable Finance Action Plan released today.


BRUSSELS, 8 March 2018

​The European Commission's long-awaited action plan on sustainable finance published today is an important milestone in the EU strategy to focus on green and social financing.

​ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “Europe's savings and locally focused retail banks are best placed to support the Commission's work on sustainable finance. The first action on developing an EU Taxonomy is particularly welcome. Having widely accepted definitions should contribute towards improving the general understanding of what can be considered as 'green'. What should be intended is to ultimately foster the financing of a green economy in the regions and consequently boost jobs."

ESBG members are concerned, however, about action 6 – integrating sustainability in ratings and research. Integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into disclosure requirements should not place additional burden on savings and retail banks and therefore restrict certain activities.

We value that the Commission is proceeding with ambition and caution on green or social supporting factors. Those factors require further discussion, and in much greater detail, within the expert groups to see how best to proceed.

​Expert groups: ESBG ready, willing

ESBG is most willing to contribute to expert groups which are being set up by the Commission on different topics, in particular in order to amend key directives – such as the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Insurance Distribution Directive – to include sustainability factors in their rules. We will surely be willing and able to submit input on sustainable finance gathered from our members that policymakers should find highly valuable.


Based on the High-Level Expert Group report released earlier this year, and setting out priority action points to be carried out over the next 18 months, the plan aims to:

  • Reorient capital flows towards sustainable investment, in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth;
  • Manage financial risks stemming from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues; and
  • Foster transparency and long-termism in financial and economic activity.

For more information, please contact:


James Pieper on +32 2 211 11 92 or at; or

Dirk Smet on +32 2 211 11 90 or at


Note to editor:

About ESBG

ESBG represents the locally focused European banking sector, helping savings and retail banks in 20 European countries strengthen their unique approach that focuses on providing service to local communities and boosting SMEs. An advocate for a proportionate approach to banking rules, ESBG unites at EU level some 1,000 banks, which together employ 780,000 people driven to innovate at 56,000 outlets. ESBG members have total assets of €6.2 trillion, provide €500 billion in SME loans, and serve 150 million Europeans seeking retail banking services. ESBG members are committed to further unleash the promise of sustainable, responsible 21st century banking. Learn more at




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Sustainable development; Sustainability; Green Energy; European Institutions; MiFid; Environment