RICS will support the European Commission in developing an EU classification system – the so-called “EU sustainability taxonomy” – to determine whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable, as a member of the Technical Working Group on Sustainable Finance appointed by the European Commission from civil society, academia, the business and finance sectors.

RICS and the other 34 members of the High-Level Expert Group will also support the Commission in the creation of an EU Green Bond Standard, improving the disclosure of climate-related information and by helping develop a category of low carbon indices. These indices are to be used by asset and portfolio managers as a benchmark for low-carbon investment strategies.

The Group, who held its first kick-off meeting last week in Brussels on the implementation of Europe’s ambitious action plan on sustainable finance was selected by the European Commission based on the technical expertise of the candidates, the need for a balanced representation of relevant know-how from financial and real economic actors, geographical coverage and gender. Its mandate will run until 30 June 2019, with possible extension until the end of 2019.

I am humbled and honoured to be part of this challenging assignment and to contribute to the successful implementation of the European Union's climate, energy, environmental and sustainable investment policy framework as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change, including the commitment to align financial flows with sustainable development objectives. The deliverables of the Group will be essential building blocks for a comprehensive strategy on sustainable finance that fully supports the transition towards a sustainable economy, one of the key priorities of the European Commission.Given the vast environmental impact and the fact that more than 50% percent of the world’s wealth is bound up in the built environment and real estate, our sector plays a key role in every aspect of European society, economy and environment, helping to underpin stable, sustainable investment and growth. As a global professional body, our objective is to mobilise real estate users and professionals as well as the wider stakeholder community to scale up responsible finance and investment practices within the sector and beyond. We have a strong interest in promoting transparency, consistent measurement and metrics, as well as high-quality technical and professional standards that enable informed investor decision-making and strengthen the business case for sustainable real estate investments.

A number of European and international institutions are contributing to the development of sustainable finance as members or observers. These include the European Supervisory Authorities, the European Central Bank, multilateral development banks (such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), the European Environment Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Against the backdrop of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, Europe has decided to take a step forward to guarantee that more resources are channelled towards ‘green’ projects. That’s why on March 2018, the EU Commission launched the Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, which includes initiatives aiming to clarify what can be labelled as “green” investment and potentially lowering capital requirements on asset holders, strengthening the role of asset managers and institutional investors to take sustainability criteria into account, and also on corporate reporting.

Notes to editors: 

About RICS

RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the valuation, development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards - bringing confidence to markets and effecting positive change in the built and natural environments.

Contact person: 

Laura Lindberg, RICS,

Head of Media & Communications, Europe.

t +32 2 739 42 27

e llindberg@rics.org

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