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EU climate taxonomy – New regulations concerning companies’ publication of information

June 21, 2021

According to the European Union’s climate taxonomy, certain organisations must publish to what extent their operations are environmentally sustainable. In order to clarify what information the companies need to report, as well as how this should be done, the EU Commission has prepared a new delegated regulation. Primarily, the delegated regulation establishes relevant financial key ratios and different report precedents.

This article supplements the articles published previously in relation to new technical inspection criteria in accordance with the EU’s climate taxonomy as well as  the EU’s proposal for a new sustainability directive.

 

Primarily, the new delegated regulation has consequences for companies which, according to the EU’s Taxonomy Regulation (2020/852), are obliged to report how environmentally sustainable their operations are. This includes those companies which are obliged to publish a sustainability report according to the EU’s Financial Reports Directive (2013/34), i.e. large companies or parent companies in large corporations that constitute public interest entities, and which have employed, on average, more than 500 people during the financial year. The definition of public interest entities includes listed companies, financial institutions, insurance companies as well as those companies which the member states regard as being public interest entities. In Sweden, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has decided that certain securities companies and occupational pension companies also fall into this category. 

As is evident from the previous article concerning the proposed new sustainability directive, the aim is to expand the area of application of the Financial Reports Directive. It proposes that all large companies, i.e. even those which are not listed on an exchange or have an average of more than 500 employees, must publish a sustainability report as of 1 January 2023. In addition, it is proposed that both small- and medium sized companies, save for micro companies, must also publish a sustainability report as of 1 January 2026. If the proposal is adopted, this will entail that a significantly larger number of companies will have to report on how environmentally sustainable their operations are according to the Taxonomy Regulation. The Commission’s hopes that this regulatory framework will be adopted at the beginning of 2022.

What information must be published?

According to the new delegated regulation, the information which must be published differs dependent on whether the company is a so-called financial company or a non-financial company. The former category includes finance companies, securities companies, asset management companies as well as insurance and reinsurance companies. Non-financial companies include all other companies which are required to publish a sustainability report according to the Financial Reports Directive. According to the delegated regulation companies shall, among other things, publish different financial key ratios which indicate the extent to which their operations are environmentally sustainable. Accordingly, the following is applicable to each company category:

  • Non-financial companies shall primarily publish key ratios regarding turnover, capital expenditure and operating expenses which are associated with financial operations which are regarded as environmentally sustainable.
  • Finance companies shall primarily publish the key ratio designated as the “Green Asset Ratio”, which pertains to the share of the financial companies’ assets which are invested in environmentally sustainable activities.
  • Securities companies shall publish both key ratios concerning its main investments and trading on own account, as well as key ratios concerning the services which do not constitute trading on own account.
  • Asset management companies shall primarily publish the key ratio designated as the “Green Investment Ratio”, which means the share of environmentally sustainable investments which they manage.
  • Insurance and reinsurance companies shall primarily publish key ratios concerning their investment and insurance services.

In addition, certain qualitative information which explains the key ratios must also be published such as information concerning the company’s financial reporting policy. The companies shall report the information in table format, using the precedents contained in the delegated regulation. This in turn shall be included in the sustainability report which, according to the Financial Reporting Directive, shall be included in the companies’ directors’ report. The contents of the sustainability report must subsequently be audited by the companies’ auditors.

Timetable

The EU Commission is expected to formally adopt the delegated regulation at the end of June 2021. Thereafter, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have four months to review the draft legislation, which can be extended by up to two months.

Provided the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union do not have any objections, the delegated regulation will enter into force in separate stages:

  • As of 1 January 2022, companies will publish information regarding the share of their operations which is environmentally sustainable as well as the qualitative information as prescribed in the delegated regulation.
  • As of 1 January 2023, companies will publish all key ratios and the qualitative information prescribed in the delegated regulation, save for the numerator of the key ratios for financial companies’ exposures and investments in non-financial companies which are not included in the Financial Reports Directive.  
  • The delegated regulation will enter into force in full as of 1 January 2025.

The EU Commission’s draft of the new delegated regulation can be found here.

Contact: Martin JohanssonHedvig JosefsonEbba Thoms

 

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