European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB)

InfluenceMap Score
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Brussels, Belgium
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European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) appears to have engaged against stringent regulatory interventions on sustainable finance policy in Europe. EACB has stated support for the role of the finance industry in meeting the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, but has not clearly articulated a position on the need for systemic reform to achieve a sustainable financial system. EACB argues that additional regulation in this area could undermine sustainable finance and has particularly emphasized concerns over the effect on small and regional banks.

EACB appears to be supportive of improved corporate ESG disclosure requirements. In the 2020 European Commission consultation on the review of the NFRD, EACB appeared to be more supportive of improving regulated corporate ESG disclosure, supporting increased standardization, the creation of simplified standards for SMEs and the gradual introduction of assurance of non-financial information. EACB also appeared supportive of the subsequent proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in a Commission consultation in 2021.

In a 2018 position paper, EACB supported the creation of a sustainable finance taxonomy. However, in subsequent feedback on the technical details of the policy in 2019, EACB raised several concerns, suggesting that the framework was too complex and supporting the weakening of some of the thresholds on what would constitute a ‘green’ investment. In feedback to the European Commission's consultation on the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy in 2020, EACB supported a weakening of the current transitional category and opposed expansion to cover environmentally harmful activities. However, in feedback to the EU’s Platform on Sustainable Finance in 2021, EACB appeared to support the creation of a “social” taxonomy and took a mixed position on the expansion to harmful activities.

EACB's feedback to the Technical Expert Group (TEG) on the creation of an EU Green Bond Standard suggested support for a stringent standard, including alignment with the taxonomy and stringent requirements for reporting and external review. It also supported verification requirements for the EU GBS in feedback to the Commission in 2020. However, in feedback to the JRC on the creation of an EU Ecolabel for retail financial products in 2020, EACB supported the EU Ecolabel with a number of exceptions including arguing for some criteria to be weakened and suggesting that some of the compliance and verification requirements were too onerous.

In feedback to the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) in 2017 and to the Commission in 2018 and 2020, EACB opposed updating fiduciary duty to include ESG issues and further opposed updating MiFID II to include ESG considerations into the advice given to clients. In 2019, EACB argued that this update should be delayed at least until the taxonomy is in place. In response to the ESA’s SFDR consultation on investor ESG disclosure in 2020, EACB argued against the prescriptiveness of the regulation and asked for considerations of the incurred costs to investors. EACB appears to support the creation of a 'supporting factor' for lending to technologies that contribute to an energy transition,but not for a 'penalising factor' for those that undermine this transition.

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