ESG round-up: EC seeks new members for slimmed down taxonomy advisory panel

The latest developments in sustainable finance: WWF reports 70% decline of species since 1970; ESMA makes sustainable finance top priority.

The European Commission has almost halved the number of externally sourced members who sit on its taxonomy advisory panel, according to a long-awaited call for applications published on October 12. The Platform on Sustainable Finance (PSF), an independent body set up to advise on the taxonomy’s development, will now have 28 outside members compared to 50 previously. The new iteration of the PSF will have the key objective of improving the usability of the green taxonomy – a target previously given less prominence – and is expected to focus less on criteria-setting. The PSF’s term will commence in Q1 2023 and end in Q4 2024. Five former PSF members are boycotting the call after accusing the EC of interfering in the group’s work and acting against scientific evidence.

WWF reports in its biennial Living Planet Report that animal populations have declined by close to 70 percent since 1970. The paper highlights Latin America and the Caribbean as two regions which are critical for controlling global temperatures. It also discusses how developed countries are damaging the world through their reliance on fossil fuels as well as production and consumption habits. WWF experts have called on the UK government and world leaders to make ambitious biodiversity commitments at COP15 in December. They warn that if the world fails to reverse and halt the damage to the ecosystem, the damage will be irreversible by 2030.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has included sustainable finance as one of its top priorities in a paper outlining its strategy for the next five years. The regulator plans to build the remaining technical standards under the SFDR by the end of 2023, as well as address greenwashing issues by improving and clarifying the existing regulatory framework.

Bankers for Net Zero has launched a UK policy gap analysis report which looks at the tools and interventions required to achieve emissions reductions commitments made by the UK government. It argues that the instruments available are “nascent at best” and “absent in other places”, advising collaboration between the government, businesses, lenders and investors in order to address climate change successfully.

Oman has become the fourth GCC member state to make a net-zero 2050 commitment, alongside the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Oman Sustainability Centre will oversee the implementation of the transition plan. Oman’s NDC currently includes a reduction of 7 percent by 2030, the weakest pledge in the GCC.

Hamilton Lane, a private markets investor, has partnered with ESG platform Novata to track neurodiversity in the workplace, affiliate title Agri Investor has reported. While private markets have increasingly brought in policies around DEI, cognitive disabilities have been overlooked. The two are working to develop a method for the workplace in the UK.