how-sustainable-taxonomies-are-going-global Corporate /esg/podcasts/how-sustainable-taxonomies-are-going-global content esgSubNav
In This List

How sustainable taxonomies are going global

Listen: How sustainable taxonomies are going global

Taxonomies: This is a topic that has dominated many conversations in the sustainability world in recent years. In this episode of the ESG Insider podcast, we explore the growing number of taxonomies around the world.

In simple terms, a taxonomy is a kind of dictionary of sustainable activities designed to provide clarity on which economic activities are sustainable and to support investment flows into those activities. A recently released report from international conservation organization WWF and German sustainable finance think tank Climate & Co. finds dozens of sustainable finance taxonomies have been introduced or are being developed across the globe.  

To learn more about the role of taxonomies, we speak to two of the report’s authors: Jochen Krimphoff, who is Data, Tools and Methodology Lead for WWF's Greening Financial Regulation Initiative, and Climate & Co. Analyst Daniel Scharwies. We also talk with Matthew Townsend, Co-Head of the International Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law Groups at law firm Allen & Overy.  

Read the report from WWF and Climate & Co. here.    

We'd love to hear from you. To give us feedback on this episode or share ideas for future episodes, please contact hosts Lindsey Hall ( and Esther Whieldon (  

Copyright ©2023 by S&P Global  


By accessing this Podcast, I acknowledge that S&P GLOBAL makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information featured in this Podcast. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this Podcast are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this Podcast is done at your own risk. This Podcast should not be considered professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, S&P GLOBAL does not endorse, approve, recommend, or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this Podcast, and information from this Podcast should not be referenced in any way to imply such approval or endorsement. The third party materials or content of any third party site referenced in this Podcast do not necessarily reflect the opinions, standards or policies of S&P GLOBAL. S&P GLOBAL assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of the content contained in third party materials or on third party sites referenced in this Podcast or the compliance with applicable laws of such materials and/or links referenced herein. Moreover, S&P GLOBAL makes no warranty that this Podcast, or the server that makes it available, is free of viruses, worms, or other elements or codes that manifest contaminating or destructive properties.  


Transcript by Kensho

Lindsey Hall: I'm Lindsey Hall, Head of thought leadership at S&P Global Sustainable1.  

Esther Whieldon: And I'm Esther Whieldon, a senior writer on the Sustainable1 Thought Leadership Team  

Lindsey Hall: Welcome to ESG Insider, a podcast hosted by S&P Global, where we explore environmental, social and governance issues that are shaping investor activity and company strategy.

In the world of sustainability, one word that’s dominated a lot of conversations is taxonomy. In simple terms, a taxonomy is a kind of dictionary of sustainable activities. And it’s designed to steer companies as they adapt their business strategies to climate change, as well as help investment funds judge sectors based on their environmental performance.

Esther Whieldon: The green taxonomy was a key component of the EU’s sustainable finance action plan and it was launched initially in 2018. China’s central bank issued the very first green bond catalogue in 2015, and that is also often referred to as China’s taxonomy

And since then, the number of taxonomies around the world has been expanding. Just recently, the  World Wide Fund for Nature, or WWF teamed up with German sustainable finance think tank Climate & Company to publish a report on this topic. They note that 29 sustainable finance taxonomies have been introduced or are being developed in countries ranging from Colombia, South Africa and Malaysia. By the way, the WWF is an influential international conservation organization that is known as the World Wildlife Fund in some parts of the world.

Lindsey Hall: Today we’re bringing back our colleague Jennifer Laidlaw, a senior writer on the Thought Leadership team with us at S&P Global Sustainable1 and a regulator contributor to this podcast. Jennnifer spoke to the authors of this new report to find out why there’s such a strong interest in taxonomies and what they aim to achieve. 

First up, we’ll hear first from Matthew Townsend, co-head of the International Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law Groups at law firm Allen & Overy. He's going to give us a lay of the land. Jennifer started by asking Matthew what purpose taxonomies serve, and how they can contribute to making economies more sustainable. You’ll hear him mention COP — that’s the Conference of Parties, or the big annual United Nations climate conference. And he also mentions APAC — that stands for the Asia Pacific region. Here’s Jennifer’s interview with Matthew.

Matthew Townsend: I mean in principle, if they work properly, they should help facilitate the market in a more rapid way to basically redirect private and primarily in public capital towards green and sustainable activities, projects, financial products in a way, the market has confidence in. So I think a lot of this, as we go through this phase of a massive market infrastructure kind of build-out is about confidence and certainty. That's what investors need, what regulators want, and it's what businesses desire. And so as we see the kind of plethora of financial products emergence in the market, we need confidence in those. And we need confidence that they do what they say on the tin. And taxonomies are really an attempt to put some framework and veracity around all of that.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Okay. And do you think the taxonomies that are in place at the moment are actually doing that? Or are they giving the market that confidence?

Matthew Townsend: That's a very good question. I think it's early days, and it's probably a little bit premature to, to make any judgments on that at the moment. I mean on the one hand, yes, I think if I look at the EU taxonomy, which is probably the most detailed and extensive taxonomy we've seen so far. I mean on the one hand, that's been welcomed by market participants because it gives them something to hang that they kind of put corners to how they describe products and classify activities and safe forth. 

But anybody who's kind of sat down and think, tried to kind of start to draft how you actually define sustainable activities, and what does that mean against the environmental objectives to underpin the EU taxonomy, you realize it's a complicated exercise. And I think that's what the taxonomies are suffering from at the moment is the complexity of them. You've obviously got multiple tiers of multiple layers of kind of regulations. So you've got the taxonomy, but we're also seeing now the detailed technical standards being kind of built out the Tier 2 rules as it were. First of all, it's a very detailed exercise. 

Secondly, the model is being built as it's being deployed in the market. So — and this is one significant concern that we see — in the real details of significant aspects of taxonomy or taxonomies around the world are still being developed. So the market is trying to adapt, trying to apply taxonomies as intended, but the kind of detail that sits behind them is really still being rolled out, worked upon, adapted. And that I think is presenting its own challenges. 

So I think the way I would classify it, it's very early days. There have been teething problems, and we don't need to, in my view, overcomplicate this. This, as best we can, needs to be a simple framework that the market and participants can deploy in a way that's readily understood. 

They're all indeed, a plethora of taxonomies now being rolled out across the world. Each taxonomy will reflect the local regional priorities of the region. And crucially, the kind of energy transition that a particular country or region is on. So you couldn't simply cut and paste a taxonomy from the EU, for example, and deploy it word for word in many jurisdictions, in APAC, for example, because the kind of phase of development and decarbonization is different. The energy reliance of those economies is different. And each, as we well know, has been kind of manifest through the COP negotiations. -- each jurisdiction is a slightly different stage of decarbonization and sustainable development. So I think you're seeing differences in substance, difference in the priority of particular technologies. We've had a lot of focus in the EU on how far you include gas and nuclear. Obviously, you've got jurisdictions like Canada, which are very natural resource orientated, so you'll see some nuances, substantive nuances there about what is permissible and what is not. And ultimately, the taxonomies need to work for each country. Otherwise, there'll just be theoretical instruments that will never be applied in practice.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Okay. I mean do you have any examples of like how different, for example, the EU taxonomy is with a taxonomy in Asia?

Matthew Townsend: Yes. I mean I think the kind of -- the one that's talked about is if you take the EU taxonomy and the China's green industry guiding catalog. And there's been some work being done on this to try and identify some of the differences between the two. And that's all being done through the Platform on Sustainable Finance. And I won't get through the detail now, but we do see differences and that exercise is flagged as quite material differences in objectives, on the scope of the taxonomies, the disclosure obligations that go with it and the kind of approach is being taken to two particular types of activities. So that, I think, will be kind of -- that would be one example we would point to. But again, there are quite nuanced differences in other taxonomies that are springing up.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Exactly because you've seen them in places like Colombia and then the other countries in Latin America that are looking at it. And do you think that for developing countries, maybe this is something that's really important for helping them to transition?

Matthew Townsend: It's a very important instrument ultimately. I think particularly if we look at the capital markets, ultimately, where we're seeing a very, very significant intervention from regulators and governments to divert capital towards sustainable purposes. And then the providers of that capital, in the private sector at least, we'll then either be required to or we want to be able to kind of tag their investments in products and funds, et cetera, are sustainable and as green. And they are, generally speaking, very sensitive to accusations of greenwashing and so forth. And so to attract the capital and the investments across the world, both in developed and developing countries, there needs to be confidence in the jurisdiction in which the funds are directed. 

So I'll come back to my earlier point, I think this is -- a lot of this is about market confidence. And so if you have an investor from the U.S. or from Europe or U.K., wherever it may be, looking to develop and invest in projects in whether South America, Africa or elsewhere, they will want some confidence that there's a framework around how the funds are going to be deployed and what criteria are going to be applied in order to ensure that those moneys will be used in a sustainable manner. So as an instrument, actually, I think it is quite important that it's almost the kind of centerpiece of the web when you look at the regulation now coming out. 

One final point that I should just note on this, however, and it is however, there is no single global taxonomy. I don't think we'll see one anytime soon. And in fact, institutions are increasingly looking at having their own taxonomies. So you might be developing a product where you might say, actually, there are a number of reasons this is not going to be linked to EU taxonomy, w're not going to say this is taxonomy compliant, let's say. But actually, we will say to the market, we think this is sustainable for these reasons, and this is the framework we've applied and as per our own institutional taxonomy. So this is where what you'll see, not only will you see governments issuing different taxonomies on the but we're also starting to see certain institutions, I think, looking at developing the and framework to put some better definition around sustainable products and green products and so forth.

Jennifer Laidlaw: I also spoke to Jochen Krimphoff. He’s the data, tools and methodology lead for WWF's Greening Financial Regulation Initiative. He told me how the Chinese and EU taxonomies sparked a global taxonomy movement.

Jochen Krimphoff: Some of your listeners probably remember, COP15 in Paris and the climate deal, that was the time when China actually issued a green finance framework also called the green botanist project catalog, which basically spelled out in quite a significant level of detail what the Chinese government was considering a helpful investment when it comes to meeting their environmental objectives. And that triggered quite a significant market development in Chinese bonds labeled as green, moving from 0 in 2015 to about EUR 40 billion in the following year. I think that also triggered some thinking at the European level, which then you later. So I started off with an ambitious reform agenda on sustainable finance. And part of that is the European Taxonomy. So I think both of them and the truth is that they had been talking to each other even in the early days through their development banks. I think they deserve some credit for actually kicking off for what is now called by some the taxonomy mania, basically, everybody is getting crazy about taxonomies.

Jennifer Laidlaw: I just wanted to ask you a little bit about the differences you've seen maybe the Chinese taxonomy because obviously, that is something that was seen as one of the first taxonomies. I just wanted to know how much of that has been a base maybe for other tax ones started throughout the world?

Jochen Krimphoff: Yes. Let me start off. All this started when the development banks started to think about how they can sort of account for climate-related investments that come with other names that weren't necessarily called taxonomies, but and the climate bonds initiative as well as the U.K.-based charity as deserves a lot of credit for using taxonomies in their standards, I think they were among the first to really popularize that word, taxonomy. When it comes to the differences in the different ways of thinking about it, the European Commission on behalf of the European member states has invested most resources in developing a taxonomy. So that's certainly the most sophisticated and the most advanced thing. And you can see that reflected in the more than almost 30 taxanes that we have reviewed for our recent publication. I can't think of any single taxonomy that has not tried to learn from the learnings that the European Commission has taken on board when they started off through expert advice to develop a taxonomy.

Jennifer Laidlaw: I also had the opportunity of speaking to another of the report’s authors, Daniel Scharwies. Daniel is an analyst at German sustainable finance think tank Climate & Company. He explained to me some of the differences he saw in some of the taxonomies around the world.

Daniel Scharwies: This is a very interesting question because through our studies that we have done on the different taxonomies around the world and that we have published in the  report, we see that, first of all, we have differences in development approaches of the taxonomy. So on the one hand, we have a more prescriptive approach to the taxonomy, which basically is the case in the European Union again and other taxonomies that built upon the European Union that -- it's rather a prescriptive framework so that the taxonomy basically sets criteria that are described for the economic activities and that define what makes them sustainable and under which limits their metrics and thresholds they have to fall in order to be sustainable. 

Another important difference is that we see that the taxonomies around the world focus on different environmental objectives. Most of them focus on the climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation objective as these are a little bit more straightforward and easier to align with the Paris agreement. So we've seen that most of them have focused on the climate dimension, but only a handful of taxonomies have focused so far on the environmental objectives. So the ones that focus on water, on pollution, on biodiversity protection. And a few of these to give examples for these taxonomies, this would be, for example, the Colombian taxonomy, the European taxonomy, but also, for example, in Sri Lanka, they have also already focused on more the environmental objectives. 

So this is something very important to keep in mind because these are also different stages of development because most of them have first focused on climate and now some that are more advanced already focused on nature-related aspects such as biodiversity protection.

But we've also seen that there are many differences in the environmental performance criteria that are within the taxonomy, which in the end influenced the ambition levels of the taxonomy. So we can see, for example, that some of the jurisdictions have been more ambitious in their way of framing metrics and framing thresholds for, for the economic activities, whereas other jurisdictions have been a little bit more nuanced in general in their approaches. 

And lastly, a very important difference is also the sector prioritization. So most of them have focused on usually sectors that are important for the local economies and have included them. And some of them have had more of a general approach and focusing on high-impact sectors. And here, we have done another study on biodiversity, high biodiversity impacting sectors and how supply chains and deforestation are tackled in the technical screening criteria. So we have really much looked at the European taxonomy here and have analyzed how supply chains are embedded in the criteria for commodities for economic activities that contribute to deforestation.

Jennifer Laidlaw: And just for these differences in taxonomies in different countries. I'm just interested, do you see in the long term that there's going to be some need for convergence between these taxonomies? Or is it really the case that a taxonomy should be developed according to a local economy. 

Daniel Scharwies: This is a very important question because on the one hand, taxonomies are very local. They should take the local or regional context into consideration because they have to work in the local economies. And so first of all, we think it's very important that the development of taxonomies is specific to the conditions that are in the country. 

On the other hand, we do need interoperability and alignment between different taxonomies because we see that with so many different taxonomies being developed around the world, there is a bit of a risk of market fragmentation, which in the end would, of course, prevent efficient cross-border capital flows and it also with more and more taxonomies being developed, it also confuses the users of taxonomies, such as the investors. Because if you can imagine, if one taxonomy defines sustainability and the sustainability of one economic activity in one way and another taxonomy frames it completely different, this is not really helping with the usability of the taxonomies and the transparency around it. 

So we think that alignment is a very important part of the taxonomy development. And this can be done in order to look at the building blocks of the common -- or the common design features of taxonomies. So focusing, for example, or firstly, aligning that the same metrics are used in order to measure the impact of an economic activity on biodiversity, for example, because this would already enhance very much the interoperability between taxonomies. 

Some other factors that may not need to be aligned yet between taxonomies are environmental objectives, for example, because these environmental objectives should be determined based on the national priorities, the national regulations and the national environmental objectives. So these are rather something that can be very, very specific to the country, same as the sectors because this has to be specific to the economies of the countries where the taxonomies are developed. But we definitely think that it is important to push for alignment and interoperability, and this can be done, for example, through an approach to look at common design features or also an approach that we've seen in the development of a lot of taxonomies around the world which is called an adopt or adapt approach. We've seen this, for example, in the taxonomy development of the United Kingdom, which is basically using the European taxonomy as a template and is adopting out of this template the parts that it deems fit for the conditions and the context in the United Kingdom and adapt other parts of the taxonomies as it sees fit for the local conditions.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Yes. That's interesting when the U.K.'s example like basing on the EU tax running. I'm just wondering, are there other countries that are actually using the EU taxonomy as a base?

Daniel Scharwies: Yes, there are many other countries that have used the European taxonomy as a base as the developments for the taxonomy have started quite early in the European Union. So we see that, for example, in South Africa, they have used the European taxonomy a little bit as a template, but also in Colombia, for example, they have also used the taxonomy as a template for their own taxonomy. But as I said before, it's very important that -- or we've seen as well that these jurisdictions have also adopted it to their own local conditions, the local context, the local economy. And so we see that there are a lot of developments and the European Union, the taxonomy of the European Union can be used as a good example as a good starting point because we do not need to reinvent the wheel again and again and again with these taxonomies because this also, again, hinders the interoperability of them. So I think -- we think that the approaches that have been taken by different jurisdictions to use the European taxonomy as a template and adopt or adapt from this taxonomy is a very good approach.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Okay. Yes, it's really interesting actually because again, we were talking about the local conditions, but then you have the EU taxonomy as base. I'm just wondering in terms of Columbia, what specifically is different between Colombia and say the EU taxonomy even if they use the EU taxonomy as a base?

Daniel Scharwies: The Colombian taxonomy is very interesting because it has focused on the integration of nature-related aspects right from the start in the development of their taxonomy. So when we go a little bit back to the European taxonomy, we've seen that the development was first focused on the climate change mitigation and adaptation objective. In the case of Colombia, we've seen that they immediately focused also on biodiversity protection because it's a mega diverse country, a very -- it has a lot of biodiversity in the country, a wide range of ecosystems that need protection and that also need financing options. So Colombia has focused on this while also focusing on high-impact sectors that especially pose a risk to biodiversity and these are agriculture, the livestock industry and forestry. So they especially developed criteria for the economic activities that have a higher impact on biodiversity, which makes it a front runner and a very good example in the taxonomy sphere.

Lindsey Hall: So Jennifer, we heard Daniel speaking about convergence and alignment between taxonomies. And that's been a big theme that we're hearing in terms of sustainability standard setting. So what more did you learn about that?

Jennifer Laidlaw: Yes indeed, it is a big topic of conversation. There are global moves afoot to create some sense of alignment in sustainability standards across jurisdictions to reduce confusion for investors and to increase consistency in the market, notably by the newly created International Sustainability Standards Board, or ISSB. But as we discussed with Daniel, it’s tricky because the taxonomies have to take into account local conditions. So I asked Jochen from the WWF what impact things like the ISSB might have on alignment.

Jochen Krimphoff: I think there are many people would agree with a statement that says what would be better off if we had one single language and not a sort of a babel tower-type confusion where people use the same language, but don't understand the same things when they use the same words. So definitely, I think convergence is a critical issue. I think that's nothing new. I mean we live in a world where services and goods travel over and cross-border. So common standards are, I think something very, very useful to facilitate cross-border trade and services and goods -- and it's not the first time that the world facing with an issue like this, let's think about accounting standards. How do you account for profits in a financial statement. You can do it the international way with the IFRS. So you can do it in the U.S. way using U.S. GAAP and those type of principal-based standards. It's nothing new. What's new in this space is that we are sort of drilling it down to the next level of granularity where we're trying to define what's actually helping government meeting its environmental objectives. And I mean we all face a common issue, a common challenge. That's how can we combat a cover change. So I think it's -- the world would be better if we had a common language for sustain finance.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Right. And how do we take account for that? We've got this common interest. But obviously, taxonomies have to be developed according to local situations, maybe. So how do we accommodate for these differences?

Jochen Krimphoff: I think that's a job for the governments to do. They're well-recognized processes to do that. I mean look at products, take your iPhone, which was probably not produced in the place where you are, which was produced someplace else in the world, and governments have agreed on common procedures for recognition or sometimes mutual recognition of product standards, technical norms and so forth. The same is true to a certain extent for financial services information, accounting standards and so forth. 

So there are always for governments to agree in common ways to basically communicate with each other. And the same principles can be applied for this new thing, which is the taxonomy. And in our report, we sort of outlined a couple of ways how that can be structured. Of course, I mean, the first thing is that you need governments to agree on the need for alignment and interoperability of those common languages. And then I start talking and figuring out how to solve that. And that comes under the theme of recognitions, so one country can recognize that the other countries way of doing things is perhaps not exactly the same, but can deliver a similar level with protection of the environment, for example. That's well-known territory for international banks, for example, we agreed on common principles on that the equator principles, mostly in the sustainable finance project finance space, where common standards are applied, and most of the international plans have agreed to use them.

Jennifer Laidlaw: Matthew told me that alignment, however, might take some time.

Matthew Townsend: Ultimately, major institutions, investors, corporates will adapt. The painful piece will be if you are developing products which are destined for multiple markets with multiple taxonomies, you're going to have to find commonality to make sure you can sell those in the different markets where different taxonomies may apply. 

So it's a kind of impediment to proper market functioning ultimately. And I think that's the kind of headache. So the institutions will navigate that. It just adds time and cost, I think, complexity at a time when we're seeing an unprecedented rollout of regulation, policy. Regulators are steadily but very clearly issuing more regulatory statements and expectation statements to firm so it will represent, I think, a headache initially. And I think eventually, we will see much greater alignment, even though it may not be in the kind of minutia of taxonomy A compared to taxonomy B the core principles will and should be very similar. But as I say, I think that is some way off, unfortunately. And the debate that we saw in Europe but the inclusion of nuclear energy and natural gas, it was a good example of that of the kind of internal tussle as it was to how do we prioritize this? What's the role of nuclear and natural gas in the transition, to some, it shouldn't be in there to others, they would say, actually, these are important transition technologies for us and we need it. So you just take that example and apply it to multiple jurisdictions, each of which is on a very different stage of the decarbonization journey, and you see the kind of challenge. So yes, but I think there will be greater alignment in the future for sure.

Jennifer Laidlaw: All right. Okay. Yes, because I guess we could see further arguments because that actually dominated things in the EU for quite a long time, the nuclear and gas discussion. I mean, could you see in terms of like discussions in any particular countries, for example, in China or in Canada, are there any particular issues that you see in those countries that might lead to discussions about taxonomies?

Matthew Townsend: Yes. I mean I think it's clearly been a debate in Canada over what their taxonomy should look like, recognizing that it's a resource-intensive economy. And I think it was the chair of Canada's Taxonomy Committee is quoted as saying that they will have quite a different definition of transition in Canada than Europeans or perhaps other groups, you're focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gases. So I think that is one -- I think, is one good example. And I think there's also you've obviously got some major Canadian pension funds there that may be reported to be looking at their own bespoke taxonomies. So I think that's one example. 

And you cannot simply, for some of those jurisdictions perhaps that are more resource-intensive than others, simply apply a model that works in Europe to their economies. China, I think, will have kind of similar challenges for sure. And indeed, many countries may say, well, it's indeed not for Europe or the U.S. or the U.K. to dictate what we would regard in APAC as sustainable or is green quite frankly, that has to reflect the local realities. I mean, and you've seen that debate play out very much in the COP negotiation. So taxonomies are as much about the kind of politics and energy transition as they are about actual regulation that they are a politically charged instrument in many different ways, and that's why they've proved, I think, quite thorny.

Jennifer Laidlaw: The WWF said in its report that nature loss was a major gap in sustainable finance taxonomies. And I ask Jochen what improvements needed to be made in taxonomies?

Jochen Krimphoff: I can think of 3 or 4 of them, I think you mentioned the first one, nature, or let's put it differently, environmental issues other than climate have not been as prominently featured in those taxonomies as a climate change and climate adaptation. The WWF as an environmental organization, we think that -- that's probably not the best way of doing things, because I mean, if we want to save the planet from catastrophic climate change, ecosystems are truly important. 

So if we address these channels at the same time, we're probably faster and better off. So that's why we argued at COP15 in Montreal last year that as governments are pushing ahead, thinking about COPS they should also and at the same time, think about the other environmental objectives. It's now sure that the European Commission has on its agenda for this year, also crafting criteria for 4 other interim objectives, including biodiversity, ecosystems, pollution prevention and so forth. So it's really about embracing the world in its complexity and trying to tackle those challenges at the same time. 

The second thing I think is that you can see there's probably a difference between some of these other taxonomies that are currently being developed. The European approach to taxonomies was -- let's get started with a green-only approach. Basically, the European taxonomy is defining what's green and what is not. And whatever is somewhere in between or on the way towards green, it's not fully reflected in the taxonomy yet. There's a very solid proposal from the Commission's Expert Advisory Group ib how to tackle that. And that's the other point that the commission has on its agenda for this year to sort of correct the initial design failures of the taxonomy to make it more comprehensive and have it cover not only green activities, but also to cover those that are transitioning to greener performance level, for example. 

And then the third one is that I think you've probably seen in the press that several people are very unhappy about the -- some of the criteria that came out of that process. So I think there are some chapters, including such, for example, claiming that gas is sustainable or nuclear power is sustainable. That created a lot of controversy in the space, which is probably counterproductive for the greater growth. And last but not least, I think, yes, the issue of convergence, making sure that we really reach this common understanding of what is sustainable and what is not is probably making sure that there is a due process for recognition and convergence of these criteria. So that's a Chinese investor can attract investment from Europe without having necessary to report against 2 or 3 or even 4 different sets of KPIs each being slightly differently defined. I think that will do a great service to the greater good.

Lindsey Hall: So Jennifer, what sense did you get about developments we might see going forward in taxonomies?

Jennifer Laidlaw: Well, the big thing the WWF mentioned in its report is nature, noting that over half the world’s GDP – $44 trillion – is dependent on nature. And taxonomies can provide frameworks on how to address nature loss. So we may see nature incorporated into existing taxonomies or even new nature-specific taxonomies. The EU has also been looking at the idea of a social taxonomy tied to social goals so that’s something we might see in the future. 

Esther Whieldon: Well, thanks for coming in Jennifer. We’ll continue to look at the theme of green taxonomies in future episodes and we'll dig into what specific countries and regions are doing on that front.

Lindsey Hall: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of ESG Insider and a special thanks to our producer, Kyle Cangialosi. Please be sure to subscribe to our podcast and sign up for our weekly newsletter, ESG Insider. See you next time.  

Copyright ©2023 by S&P Global  


By accessing this Podcast, I acknowledge that S&P GLOBAL makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information featured in this Podcast. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this Podcast are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this Podcast is done at your own risk. This Podcast should not be considered professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, S&P GLOBAL does not endorse, approve, recommend, or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this Podcast, and information from this Podcast should not be referenced in any way to imply such approval or endorsement. The third party materials or content of any third party site referenced in this Podcast do not necessarily reflect the opinions, standards or policies of S&P GLOBAL. S&P GLOBAL assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of the content contained in third party materials or on third party sites referenced in this Podcast or the compliance with applicable laws of such materials and/or links referenced herein. Moreover, S&P GLOBAL makes no warranty that this Podcast, or the server that makes it available, is free of viruses, worms, or other elements or codes that manifest contaminating or destructive properties.