Topics

Topics



13 Dec.2019

Joint statement: A Taxonomy Delivering Sustainable Growth in Europe

We, the signatories, represent sectors of major importance for European economic development and wealth. We provide highly skilled jobs to Europeans and invest in innovative solutions, renewable and efficient technologies that make the transition to a competitive, low carbon and circular economy in Europe possible. Doing so, we help fight climate change and lead the way towards a more sustainable world.
 
We welcome efforts to mobilise the financial sector in accelerating the move towards a prosperous and sustainable Europe in 2050. To achieve this, a stable, fair and favourable investment framework in Europe will be key. In that regard, the European Commission’s Sustainable Investment Regulation proposal (so-called ‘Taxonomy Regulation’) is an important and necessary step and the draft report recently tabled by the Technical Expert Group (TEG) (mandated by the Commission) sets out a first basis to define what sustainable investments are. Yet the TEG report is insufficient and needs serious improvements to provide the clarity, objectivity and predictability needed in order to accelerate investments in sustainable solutions, guarantee affordable financing, safeguard energy supply security at acceptable cost, but also boost innovation and competitiveness in Europe. To this end, the Sustainable Investment Regulation and derived Taxonomy should apply the following key principles:
 
● The future Taxonomy should help implement the adopted EU legislation, including the EU energy, climate and circular economy legislation as well as other sectoral legislations. Given that the Taxonomy will likely start applying as of 2023, businesses, governments and financial market participants should not be faced with different targets, standards or thresholds that could disrupt markets, distort competition and result in excessive costs linked to burdensome implementation. Coherence should also be ensured with the existing investment classifications, for example the Principles for Responsible Investment Reporting Framework and/or the European Investment Bank’s Energy Lending Policy. Flexibility should however be left to investors and businesses that wish to go beyond the Taxonomy as part of their investment strategies.
 
● The future Taxonomy’s criteria and thresholds should be impact assessed prior to their application, to avoid unintended consequences for the sectors in which they will apply. The draft
TEG report presents important inconsistencies as well as technical and methodological flaws that could prevent investors from making fully informed decisions on their investments. Therefore, the future Taxonomy should be above all internally consistent and conducive to a level playing field that allow businesses and investors to invest in sustainable solutions that meet their varying needs. Metrics and thresholds are essential elements in EU legislation and should thus not be defined in delegated acts that do not allow their proper prior impact assessment and scrutiny by EU Member States and stakeholders.
 
● The future Taxonomy’s criteria and thresholds should also be developed and assessed by EU Member States and stakeholders. This should be done before they start applying, in line with the Commission’s Better Regulation agenda. In this regard, we have noted the lack of industrial representation in the TEG, the short consultation time on the TEG report as well as the lack of communication and coordination between the various working groups dealing with different aspects of the TEG report. The Sustainable Finance Platform will be instrumental to involve all relevant parties, beyond financial market participants, and develop a Taxonomy that delivers for investors, the economy and the environment.
 
● The future Taxonomy should be technology neutral and lead to investment in innovation, infrastructure and solutions that help achieve the EU goals cost-effectively. The TEG report privileges some technologies and solutions over others. For example, not all activities are subject to a Life Cycle Emissions analysis. Some sectors face stricter requirements than the 2030 EU energy and climate goals despite their sustainability benefits (e.g. cogeneration or bioenergy), when other activities need to apply today’s EU legislation (e.g. space heating and domestic hot water systems). Some solutions are also not properly considered (e.g. the value of heat and gas networks, including for storing renewable energy). A holistic approach looking at all solutions that contribute to meeting the EU energy, environmental, climate and circular economy goals is required to ensure a neutral approach and a level-playing field.
 
● The future Taxonomy should adopt a transitional, evidence-based and pragmatic approach, which reflects today’s technological development, available renewable and highly efficient low-carbon solutions significantly contributing to the transition, as well as current energy mixes and existing infrastructure. EU countries will have different starting points entailing varying investment needs. Europe’s transition to a cleaner society will not take one single form nor will it happen all in one day. Above all, no one should be left behind. Investments considered ‘sustainable’ today should also not become ‘unsustainable’ overnight because they are not listed or do not fit the Taxonomy definition. This is key to ensure regulatory certainty and economic stability.
 
● The future Taxonomy should better tackle environmental sustainability but also the social and economic pillars of sustainability. Focusing mainly on carbon emissions reduction, the TEG report needs to tackle better concepts such as circular economy, resource efficiency and energy efficiency for their significant environmental and health benefits (e.g. lower ecological and resource depletion, better air quality) as well as economic benefits (e.g. independent, secure and reliable supply of raw materials and energy, reduced dependence on imports, improved competitiveness). Not doing so risks compromising the very notion of (all-around) sustainability, which is essential to make fully informed and successful investment decisions for the future. On the contrary, integrating those dimensions into the Taxonomy would render it more comprehensive and better aligned with other major EU policy priorities, including fostering reindustrialisation and employment in Europe, and help make the move to a sustainable society an economic success for Europe.
Read more

12 Dec.2019 ,

FCG-19-039

Agenda 25/11/19 Cross Sector Group meeting

Read more

11 Dec.2019

PRESS RELEASE: The European paper industry is ready to rise to the climate challenge

The European paper industry welcomes the EU Green Deal Communication and the set of proposed actions planned for March 2020, in particular the European Climate Law, the New Industrial Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan 2.0 coupled with the Sustainable Products initiative and a new Forest strategy.

”The carbon neutrality objective requires the European pulp and paper industry to become even more sustainable, efficient and innovative. It demands that we continue on our transformational journey while maintaining our competitiveness. Our industry is up to the challenge”, said Jori Ringman, Director General at Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries.

The European paper industry has already delivered a successful decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth while reducing carbon emissions by 27% from 2005 to date, having product volumes increased and proved the climate friendliness of its products thanks to certified raw materials and a world class performance in recycling. We have delivered climate benefits for society.

“In this spirit of transformation and circularity, we have expressed our ambition to go even further for climate in our recent CEO initiative. It sets the path for the pulp and paper industry to become the most competitive and sustainable provider of solutions for a climate-neutral Europe in 2050, having a positive impact beyond our own emission reduction,” said Ignazio Capuano, incoming Cepi Chairman and CEO of Burgo group SPA.

The same consideration has led us to increase collaboration with other Forest-based industries: we have in common our starting raw material which is naturally renewable, and the objective of substituting fossil-fuel based materials while eradicating waste thanks to circularity and recycling.

The EU Green Deal will have to make space for climate-neutral, circular economy products such as wood-based products in our daily lives, if it wants to deliver on the carbon neutrality goal by 2050. In that it would be genuinely a deal that we would like to make with the society in Europe.”

This broader joint strategic vision with other Forest-based industries complements our climate strategy and is reinforced by the master plan designed with other critical European industries with a shared need for clean energy at a cost competitive price. EU Energy Intensive Industries are deeply rooted in our society and provide skilled jobs, technologies, solutions and materials to every possible economic sector.

The EU Green Deal will have to support rapid demonstrations of breakthrough technologies on an industrial scale through major R&D&I programmes and facilitate access to private finance.

Reaching climate neutrality will require acting systematically across value chains and sectors hence why we founded a cross-industry alliance, 4evergreen, to boost the contribution of fibre-based packaging in a circular and sustainable economy that minimises climate and environmental impact.

The alliance will increase awareness about the benefits of fibre-based packaging materials, advocate for EU legislation supporting product design for recyclability and call for the development of optimised collection systems and appropriate recycling infrastructures.

4evergreen was created as a forum to engage and connect industry members from across the fibre-based packaging value chain, from paper and board producers to packaging converters, brand-owners and retailers, technology and material suppliers, waste sorters and collectors.

Cepi has produced guidance to achieve even higher recycling targets while expanding the functionality of paper-based packaging. The Recyclability Guidelines give concrete guidance for designers to ensure functionality goes hand in hand with recyclability.

This collaboration is one more part of our comprehensive consumer-centred approach guided by the principle of climate mitigation, so that we can do our part in Europe’s transition to climate neutrality by 2050.

However, we cannot do this alone: governments have a vital role to play and we would ask the European governance to demonstrate leadership once again by helping us. We need the right policy environment in order to be the fertile ground for these seeds to blossom in.

European policymakers can support our efforts by:

a) Improving market access for recyclable and bio-based products, through a coherent product policy framework, to allow for informed consumer choices

b) Increasing availability and access to bio-based raw materials, through more support to sustainable forest management and high quality recycling

c) Promoting and rewarding decarbonisation investments by guaranteeing a coherent, stable and predictable regulatory framework, including a European Clean Energy Master Plan, with clear milestones for a cost-efficient energy transition

 

 

For more information about Cepi and its position on the European Green Deal, please contact Claire Couet, Cepi Public Affairs & Communications Director, at c.couet@cepi.org.

 

 

Read more