The green taxonomy, the EU list of sustainable economic activities, was introduced in 2021 to establish unambiguously what is and what is not a green investment. Triodos Bank welcomed such a list, because it potentially offered European investors a better understanding of what sustainable investment is. That would drive the sustainable transition and combat greenwashing.
Last year, the member states and the European Parliament reached a good agreement on the general guidelines for the green taxonomy. The latest proposal presented by the European Commission was, however, a step in the wrong direction. The Commission classified the use of natural gas and nuclear power as 'green transition techniques', thus putting the added value of the taxonomy at risk. Now that the European Parliament has voted for this position, the taxonomy has evolved from a widely supported list to a controversial tool that actually encourages greenwashing.
Triodos Bank believes natural gas should not be included, because it does not comply with the EU climate law and does not make a substantial contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. Today’s vote implies that natural gas can produce almost 3 times as much carbon as biomass-gas (270g resp. 100 g CO2/kWh), and still be called green. Neither does nuclear power, because it is not in line with the so-called 'do no significant harm' principle, which states that an activity must not have a negative effect on other environmental goals. The lack of a guaranteed and definitive solution for the disposal of nuclear waste is contrary to that principle.
Triodos Bank believes that the vote ignores all warnings, including those from the IPCC, about climate change. Triodos Bank will continue its work – together with partners - on promoting true sustainable finance that makes a positive difference; Triodos Bank will continue only finance activities with a positive impact.