The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), jointly convened by the European Commission and UNEP FI, has launched a call for expressions of interest for the first working group it is setting up in its third phase: the working group on the input on energy efficiency to the emerging EU sustainable finance taxonomy and on tagging of energy efficiency loans. EEFIG aims to identify and overcome barriers to long-term investment into energy efficiency in the European Union.
The TechnicalExpert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance has recently published a draft taxonomy proposal, on which it expects feedback. UNEP FI is an observer to the TEG.
For further information about the TEG, please listen to the recording to the UNEP FI webinar on this topic.
This first EEFIG working group is expected to provide specialist input on energy efficiency, support DG ENERGY in preparing its contribution on technical criteria that could be used to define sustainable activities in the building sector, and also in industry.
The EU´s sustainable finance taxonomy aims to identify which activities can be considered sustainable, and EEFIG will make a key contribution to this work considering that the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) stated that three-quarters of the investment gap for the realisation of the EU´s 2030 climate-energy targets is to be found in the buildings sector.
The TEG explicitly requested the support of DG ENERGY in understanding how and to what extent national Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB) definitions (in particular in the case of new builds), and Energy Performance Certificates are, and could be further used by financial institutions, in the process of identifying and defining sustainable investments in buildings. This will therefore be a significant part of the tasks of this working group, and the first one to be tackled.
In addition, the working group will look at current best practices in the field of defining energy efficiency investments and tagging energy efficiency related financing. Based on this assessment, the working group will provide recommendations on the technical criteria that could be used to define environmentally sustainable activities in buildings and industry (with a clear focus on energy efficiency activities). It will also provide recommendations on how to improve the tagging of energy efficiency loans.
This is an exciting opportunity to combine the technical and financial expertise that EEFIG offers to develop a contribution that will be highly useful for the development of a first EU taxonomy on sustainable finance, for sectors that are essential for the clean energy transition and for the decarbonisation of the European economy, and to contribute to the de-risking of energy efficiency investments.
Setting up the working group
EEFIG will be adopting a flexible working group format in which UNEP FI members can join other EEFIG members in subject-driven groups on topics relevant to them. Working groups of around 20 experts would be most appropriate to allow focused and in-depth discussions on selected topics, and to develop clear conclusions and recommendations. Participation in these working groups will be based on a call for expressions of interest, followed by a selection process in case the number of applicants is too high (aimed to ensure the right mix of profiles), as well as targeted recruitment of experts in case some profiles deemed essential are missing.
This first working group is expected to work for 18 months. The work is expected to be particularly intense in the first few months, due to the very ambitious timeline of the work linked to the sustainable finance action plan. A first (virtual) meeting of the working group is foreseen before the end of January, and the first set of results (conclusions and recommendations) are needed by mid-February (to be also presented at the EEFIG plenary meeting). At least one more meeting is to be expected before June. We foresee 4 or 5 physical or virtual meetings in total, to be completed by e-mail and phone exchanges.
UNEP FI will organise a one-hour webinar for all interested UNEP FI members, to answer any questions you might have on this process, on Wednesday 9 January 2019 at 3:30 – 4:30 PM.
If you would like to participate in this webinar, please contact Martin Schoenberg – Energy Efficiency Project Coordinator, martin.schoenberg (at) un.org
How to apply to the working group
Your expression of interest should indicate your name and the organization you represent,and should contain a short summary of your experience in the field of taxonomy, green tagging, financing energy efficiency, developing technical criteria for defining sustainable investments for buildings and/or industry, use of NZEB definitions and/or EPC across EU Member States, and the use of NZEB and EPCs by financial institutions. It should also include a short paragraph explaining your reasons for wanting to join the group, and your expectations.
The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is Friday 11 January 2019, at 16.00 CET.
UNEP FI members please contact Martin Schoenberg, Energy Efficiency Project Coordinator, in case of any additional questions (martin.schoenberg (at) un.org).