EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance delivers early recommendations

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Jul 13, 2017

On July 13, 2017, the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sus­tain­able Finance, es­tab­lished by the European Com­mis­sion, has published its first report setting out concrete steps to create a financial system that supports sus­tain­able in­vest­ments. Special sig­nif­i­cance is placed on the in­te­gra­tion of in­for­ma­tion for investors and in­te­grated reporting is cited as key to the ultimate ambition of con­ver­gence to low-car­bon growth.

The report argues that sus­tain­abil­ity needs to be put at the heart of the financial system and that to deliver systemic change, ESG factors and long-term sus­tain­abil­ity risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties will be needed in corporate gov­er­nance, core indices, accounting standards and credit ratings.

On accounting frame­works, the authors note: “While there are numerous ini­tia­tives on sus­tain­abil­ity reporting, the ultimate ambition has to be the con­ver­gence of financial and sus­tain­abil­ity in­for­ma­tion, supported by a more com­pre­hen­sive set of accounting standards. In­te­grated reporting supports this con­ver­gence qual­i­ta­tively through reporting that links sus­tain­abil­ity factors with firms’ strategy. Accounting standards can help advance the quan­ti­ta­tive element.”

The report is aimed at readers in Europe and beyond, who are concerned about issues of sus­tain­abil­ity, financial markets and the wider chal­lenges for society. It is intended to provide the basis for fruitful and con­struc­tive con­sul­ta­tions as the HLEG engages in the next phase of its work. The HLEG welcomes comments, questions and dis­cus­sions during the process of preparing its final report for pub­li­ca­tion in December 2017.

For further information, refer to the press release and the full report on the European Com­mis­sion website.

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