BirdLife threatens to leave the Taxonomy Platform on Sustainable Finance

The European Commission is currently working on finalizing its Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, a landmark regulation that, starting next year, will define what can be called sustainable investment in the EU. BirdLife Europe is a member of the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Platform and shares expertise on what this regulation should look like. The taxonomy that was supposed to serve as the gold standard for preventing greewashing is now at high risk of becoming a greenwashing tool.

In addition to scientists and other environmental groups, BirdLife has Europe rolled into one open letter to the European Commission expressed deep concern about the greenwashable path the taxonomy could take with its sustainable investment labeling scheme.

The signatories of the open letter state: “Should politics and lobbying take precedence over science, it is our responsibility to inform you that we would be forced to reconsider our contribution to the platform.” The letter is in response to the draft Delegates Act on Climate Taxonomy that leaked last week. This violates the Taxonomy Ordinance, especially with regard to its criteria for forestry, bioenergy and fossil gases, which are in direct contradiction to climate science.

In simple terms, the draft taxonomy ordinance would label activities that cause significant damage to the climate as “sustainable”. Should it continue its current proposal, the taxonomy will undermine the EU’s Green Deal, which aims to make the EU a pioneer in the climate fight. This would be even more damaging to investors than it is now, as they would reasonably expect the taxonomy to have set high sustainability standards and could lead them to make unsustainable investments. It would also penalize sectors making real efforts to comply with the Paris Agreement.

We urge that fossil gas be removed from the taxonomy. Likewise, the criteria according to which forestry and bioenergy are classified as “making a significant contribution to climate protection” have no scientific basis.

The open letter can be read here.