The industry groups for European asset managers and German banks, Schroders, ShareAction, AccountancyEurope, the WWF and four other entities have formed an informal group on sustainable finance, with their first output being a joint statement about the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD).

The statement is also supported by BNP Paribas Asset Management and Candriam, although they are not part of the coalition itself.

Besides Efama, the Association of German Banks and other aforementioned organisations, this new group comprises: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a professional body; the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, a reporting framework-setting consortium; Frank Bold, a “purpose-driven law firm”; and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

In a press release, the group was described as “a group of stakeholders with different backgrounds, but a common interest in sustainable finance”.

“The group is used as platform for collaboration and coordination and can serve in the future as a useful forum for further interactions with the EU institutions,” it said. 

According to a spokesperson for the group, the coalition had its genesis in discussions between the organisations about their interests in relation to sustainable finance, and in particular the possibility of joining the European Parliament (EP) “intergroup” on ‘Sustainable, long-term investments & competitive European industry’.

“As part of this, participants recognised that such a unique forum for collaboration can be very constructive and powerful,” said the spokesperson.

“The number of stakeholders being interested in sustainable finance are numerous. The group as it stands brings in a number of interesting backgrounds and comprehensive feedback but there is always the opportunity to add more.”

To be clear, this new informal sustainable finance group is not that EP intergroup.

NFRD needs ‘leap forward’

For now, the new informal sustainable finance-focussed coalition has gone public in relation to the NFRD, which the European Commission is planning to revise and on which it ran a consultation until 11 June.

In its press release, the new informal group said its members believed the NFRD “should make a leap forward in improving the quality, comparability, and consistency of environmental, social and governance information”.

This was against a backdrop of the EU, and the world economy, “facing one of the biggest challenges of our time in designing the means and tools to foster a green economic recovery”.

“It is more important than ever for both the private and the public sector to work together on policy priorities governments should take in reaction to this crisis.”

The group identified seven “matters” as being “instrumental” for the upcoming revision of the NFRD, including:

  • Expanding the scope of NFRD reporting beyond large listed companies;
  • Strengthening reporting on social and governance aspects;
  • Developing minimum mandatory reporting requirements;
  • Building on existing reporting initiatives to achieve comprehensive non-financial reporting; and
  • Ensuring legislative consistency and avoiding duplication of reporting legislation.

Hosted on AccountancyEurope’s website, the group’s full statement about the revision of the NFRD can be found here.

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