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Sustainable finance and benchmarks: Low-carbon benchmarks and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Stefano Spinaci (2nd edition),

© Cherries / Fotolia

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a package of measures on the financing of sustainable growth. The package includes three proposals aimed at establishing an EU taxonomy on sustainable economic activities, improving disclosure requirements and creating a new category of financial benchmarks to help investors measure the carbon footprint of their investments.

Financial benchmarks have an important impact on investment flows. Many investors rely on them for creating investment products, measuring their performance and devising asset allocation strategies. The Commission proposes to create a new category of benchmarks comprising low-carbon and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks, by amending the Benchmark Regulation. As the regulation is directly applicable, amending it would restrict the possibility of divergent measures being taken by the competent authorities at national level.

Parliament voted in plenary on 26 March 2019 to approve the compromise text agreed in trilogue negotiations. Following approval of a corrigendum by Parliament in October, the Council adopted the text on 8 November 2019. The final act was signed on 27 November 2019, published in the Official Journal on 9 December and entered into force the following day.


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 on low carbon benchmarks and positive carbon impact benchmarks
Committee responsible: Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) COM(2018) 355, 24.5.2018.
Rapporteur: Neena Gill (S&D, United Kingdom) 2018/0180(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Anne Sander (EPP, France)
Kay Swinburne (ECR, United Kingdom)
Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium)
Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, Ireland)
Molly Scott Cato (Greens/EFA, UK)
Barbara Kappel (ENF, Austria)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Procedure completed. Regulation 2019/2089

OJ L 317, 9.12.2019, pp. 17–27.

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