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European Commission names its expert group on sustainable finance

Commission announces team of 20 to advise on sustainable finance

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The European Commission has named the 20 big hitters that will make up its High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, tasked with helping “hardwire sustainability into EU financial policy”.

The body will be chaired by Christian Thimann, Axa’s group head of regulation, sustainability and insurance foresight, and Vice-Chair of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
On the investment side, it also includes Magnus Billing, CEO of Swedish pension giant, Alecta; Philippe Zaouati, CEO of France’s Mirova; Michael Schmidt, a board member at Germany’s Deka Investment; Claudia Kruse, Managing Director of Global Responsible Investment and Governance at APG Asset Management; and Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors and a member of the FSB’s task force.

As well as investors, it includes:

Mieczyslaw Groszek, Vice President of the Polish Banks Association
Esko Kivisaari, Deputy Managing Director of the Federation of Finnish Financial Services
David Harris, Head of Sustainable Business and Director of ESG at the London Stock Exchange Group
Julie Becker, Member of the Executive Committee of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange
Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost, which was recently acquired by S&P Global
Arlene McCarthy, Special Advisor to the Chairman, Bloomberg, AMC Strategy
Stan Dupre, CEO of the 2° Investment Initiative
Pascal Canfin, CEO of WWF France
Ingrid Holmes, Director of E3G
Anne-Catherine Husson-Traore, CEO of France’s Novethic
Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative
Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif
Myriam Vander Stichele, Senior Researcher at SOMO
Paul Fisher, a senior associate at the *University of Cambridge*There were 103 eligible applications to join the working group.
A number of development banks, macro-prudential supervisors and other stakeholders have been invited to be formal observers. These include the European Investment Bank, the Nordic Investment Bank, the European Systematic Risk Board, the International Capital Markets Association, the European Environment Agency and the UN’s Environment Programme.
In a statement, the Commission said the working group would “provide advice on how the EU should design appropriate and proportionate financial policies, incentives and signals for financial institutions, corporate capital-raisers and markets. It will also suggest how such reforms could complement public finance support most effectively”.
“An EU strategy on sustainable finance should identify, prioritise and sequence the ways in which EU financial policy reform can: 1. Steer the flow of public and private capital towards sustainable investments; 2. Explore effective and operational steps that financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the stability of the financial system from risks related to the environment; and 3. Deploy these policies on a pan-European scale,” it concluded.

The working group will meet throughout the year, producing an interim report in the summer to lay out the higher level issues being addressed, and the tools that may be considered. In December 2017, it is expected to submit a final report containing recommendations on how to integrate sustainability considerations into EU financial regulations. Both reports will be public.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness at the Commission, said: “Europe needs to develop a proactive and coherent strategy to anchor sustainability in financial regulation and policy-making. This is crucial for jobs, growth and competitiveness. The Expert Group report has the potential to make a landmark contribution to shaping European policy”.