EU Commission presents criteria for sustainable financial products and wants to avoid “greenwashing”. Controversial technologies such as nuclear and gas power plants are to be excluded by this step.

The Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium is scheduled to go offline in 2025.

Dhe most sensitive questions remain open. When presenting the new criteria for “green financial products” in Brussels on Wednesday, the European Commission excluded the two most controversial points. After violent protests, she only wants to clarify whether gas-fired power plants and nuclear power should be considered sustainable in a second catalog of criteria, which she will present at the end of the year. A heated dispute is raging between the Greens and climate protectors on the one hand and a coalition of France and the Eastern European countries on the other over the classification of both technologies within the framework of the so-called taxonomy directive. The latter insist that both nuclear power and gas-fired power plants, insofar as they accompany the phase-out of coal energy, are classified as green or sustainable.

The Greens reject both and warn of the waste of billions that would be invested in gas-fired power plants that would sooner or later have to be shut down in order to achieve the EU climate targets. Nevertheless, the commission originally wanted to classify gas-fired power plants in transition regions as sustainable for the phase-out of coal. The MEP for the Greens, Sven Giegold, therefore spoke of the fact that at least the worst had been prevented for the time being. But that is no reason to give the all-clear. That applies even more to nuclear power. The Commission had already announced that it would be guided by the recommendation of a panel of experts. Despite the unsolved nuclear waste issue, there was no reason not to classify it as sustainable for environmental reasons.

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Climate protection should benefit from new rules

The taxonomy guideline is intended to prevent “greenwashing”, ie that financial institutions describe investments that are not sustainable as sustainable. Proponents hope that the new rules will give a boost to the financing of climate change and environmental protection. The demand is already high. Green financial products can be marketed on better terms. However, no bank is forced to offer such products. Building on the taxonomy approach, the Commission also presented a proposal on Wednesday for the “non-financial” reporting requirements of large companies.

They are intended to meet the standards of the European “Green Deal” and the taxonomy for financial products. In addition, the EU authority wants to demand more information on compliance with social and human rights standards. This is necessary because potential investors and professional asset managers learn far too little from the currently mandatory information about the opportunities and risks of possible investments, especially with a view to climate protection, argues the EU authority.