European Commission names members of new Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

Group of 35 to develop EU standards on sustainable finance

Thirty-five representatives from Europe’s banks, index providers, insurers, stock exchanges, data houses and civil society have been selected to develop EU standards on sustainable finance, green bonds, low-carbon benchmarks and climate disclosure metrics.

Building on the work done by the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance – which dissolved earlier this year – the new Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance was chosen from 185 eligible applications received by the European Commission earlier this year.

Asset managers and owners include: Brenda Kramer, Responsible Investment Advisor at PGGM; Steffen Hoerter, Global Head of ESG at Allianz Global Investors; Helena Vines Fiestas, Head of Sustainability Research at BNP Paribas Asset Management; and Manuel Coeslier, a portfolio manager at ESG specialist Mirova.

From the re/insurance industry, there is Claudia Bolli, Head of Responsible Investing at Swiss Re; Dawn Slevin, Environmental Engineering and Risk Consulting Manager for AIG Europe; and Michele Lacroix, Head of the Group Investment Office at SCOR.

Members that are well known in the green bond space are Tanguy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking at Credit Agricole, who is a member in his capacity of a representative of the European Association of Cooperative Banks; Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bond Initiative and a former member of HLEG; Nicholas Pfaff, Senior Director at the International Capital Markets Association, Secretary to Green Bond Principles and Secretary to Global Green Finance Council; and Jane Wilkinson, Head of Sustainable Finance at Luxembourg Stock Exchange and a former member of HLEG.

Sara Lovisolo, Group Sustainability Manager at London Stock Exchange Group, is listed as a representative from sister exchange Borsa Italiana.

The Commission seems to have responded to earlier concerns that HLEG did not have enough members from the banking community. Banking representatives on the list, apart from Credit Agricole, include Pierfrancesco Latini, Chief Risk Officer at Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti; Aila Aho, Head of Sustainable Financing for Wholesale Banking at Nordea; and Marie Baumgarts, Head of Sustainability at SEB. German development bank KfW is represented by its Sustainability Officer, Karl Ludwig Brockmann.

Corporates are also represented for the first time, with Michel Pinto, President of Unilever Finance International and Thomas Kusterer, Chief Financial Officer at public utility Energie Baden-Württemberg and a member of the International Integrated Reporting Council on the Expert Group. Eurelectric, the trade body for the electricity industry in Europe, is represented by Jesus Martinez Perez from Iberdrola. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is represented by Zsolt Toth, who heads up its work on EU policy and public affairs.

Jose Luis Blasco, Global Head of KPMG Sustainability Services, is a member in his capacity as part of the European Federation of Financial Analysts Society.

Both Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters are represented on the data provision side, by Curtis Ravenel – Global Head of Sustainable Business and Finance and member of the Secretariat of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures – and Elena Philipova – Global Head of ESG Proposition – respectively. Research house Carbone 4 is represented by Jean-Yves Wilmotte.As with HLEG, civil society has a strong seat at the table in the new group. Nathan Fabian, Director of Policy and Research at the PRI; Jochen Krimphoff from WWF; Mireille Martina from think-tank Finance Watch; and Eszter Vitorino from the Global Reporting Initiative are all members. Nico Fettes, who heads up fund ratings at the CDP, is joined by Sandrine Dixson-Decleve from public-private partnership Climate KIC. The pair have a joint ESG fund-rating service called Climetrics, in partnership with ISS, which has just been extended to look at climate transition and science-based targets.

From academia and research, Karsten Loeffler from the Green Finance Cluster in Frankfurt and Maciej Bukowski from WiseEuropa are members.

In their personal capacity, Paolo Masoni – President at research provider Ecoinnovazione – and financial data scientist Andreas Hoepner are members. Hoepner has a Chair in Operational Risk, Banking & Finance at University College Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate Business School and is a member of Sustainable Nation Ireland’s Green Finance public-private committee.

Ireland’s Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy, praised the new technical group as part of the EU’s plans to “bring together Europe’s real economy needs and mobilisation of the financial system … and give us a blueprint for how best to finance this transition”.

“A blueprint for how best to finance this transition”

RI understands that the 35 members will work between four sub-committees, focused on different EU policy objectives:

  • The creation of a sustainability ‘taxonomy’, outlining definitions of eligible social and environmental projects for investment
  • The creation of an EU green bond standard
  • The creation of a regulatory category of ‘low carbon’ benchmark indices
  • The creation of metrics to enable better disclosure on climate management.

“Several” other institutions, including the European Supervisory Authorities, the European Environment Agency, the European Central Bank, the EIB, the EBRD, UNEPFI, the OECD and the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System, have been invited as members or observers.

The group will begin meeting early next month, and its mandate runs until June 2019 at least. Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission’s Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said he was “committed to a swift follow-up on their expert advice, in line with our Action Plan on Sustainable Finance and following our legislative proposals last month”.