Final report by the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

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31 Jan 2018

The High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance, established by the European Commission, has published its final report setting out strategic recommendations for a financial system that supports sustainable investments.

The HLEG calls on the European Commission (EC) to “place greater emphasis on the need to integrate non-financial information” in the EU Directive on non-financial reporting. The final report states, “The ultimate ambition has to be convergence or integration of financial and non-financial or sustainability information… Integrated reporting supports this convergence qualitatively through reporting that links sustainability factors with company strategy.”

In more detail, the recommendations of the HLEG to the EC are:

  • Consider an update of the EU Directive relating to financial statement and related reports to place greater emphasis on the need to integrate non-financial information and discuss the governance of addressing long-term and sustainability risks and opportunities.
  • Investigate alternative accounting approaches to fair value/mark-to-market valuation for long-term investment portfolios of equity and equity-type instruments.
  • Change Regulation 1606/2002 on accounting rules in the EU:
    • to specify that international accounting standards should only be adopted if they are ‘conducive to the European public good, including its sustainability and long-term investment objectives’; and
    • to provide the power to the EU to adjust specific aspects of IFRS standards adopted by the IASB before transposing them into EU law.
  • Ensure that the IFRS 17 accounting standard on the liabilities side safeguards a combined working with the accounting standard on the asset side.
  • Encourage and support the development and use of standards, metrics and methods for quantifying, reporting Finance and managing natural capital risks and opportunities in decisions by financial institutions. This should also consider accounting standards. 

Please click to access the final report and supporting materials on the EC website.

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