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HM Treasury steps up drive to green taxonomy

HM Treasury has announced the formation of a Green Technical Advisory Group (GTAG).   

The GTAG will give non-binding advice on the delivery of a green taxonomy – that is, the framework set by government for investments that can be defined as environmentally sustainable.   

Its remit includes “UK Taxonomy requirements which drive informed decision-making for investors whilst placing a proportionate burden on business”; and “the rationale, implications and recommendations for any deviations from existing international frameworks or taxonomies”.  

Government is keen that UK Green Taxonomy (a term we will much more in future) will “clamp down on greenwashing – unsubstantiated or exaggerated claims that an investment is environmentally friendly - and make it easier to understand how a firm is impacting the environment”. 

Membership of the GTAG is very heavily weighted to academics and public bodies.  Business is represented by the CBI and in part by the Aldersgate Group, which is made up of individuals and (mostly large) organisations that champion sustainability, including Siemens, Cemex and Lloyds Bank.   

In addition, government says it may form sub-groups to provide specific expertise, for example on energy. 

This appears to be an important announcement, both in terms of the GTAG itself and as an indication of progress in what is a key policy area for the government, as it develops policies for carbon reduction and Net Zero.  Policies will be controversial.  The will potentially include those impacting on energy costs, potential carbon leakage (firms moving abroad for lower energy costs), measures to take account of carbon costs of manufacturing abroad, variable incentives for research and development and other business incentives, and changes to rules relating to products and business operations.  EAMA will follow the work of the GTAG closely and seek to contribute to it.  Comments welcome. 

Links, including Terms of Reference and GTAG membership:  Independent expert group appointed to advise Government on standards for green investment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)