In its response to the EU Commission’s public consultation on the renewed EU sustainable finance strategy, Energy Cities raised the following demands for the strategy’s upgrade:
The EU should both push and support companies in adopting more sustainable business models and financing priorities. It should increase regulation for financial products, by especially discouraging the promotion of products linked to environmentally harmful companies. Furthermore, it should also increase taxation on these products, and introduce a climate label to classify the greenness for financial products. This label should be easy to understand and use the same approach as e.g. the label for the buildings sector (i.e. A-G classification).
As more than half of public investment is driven by the local level, the EU should drastically reduce the administrative burden for these key financial actors. It should decrease the requirements needed from the financial sector, as well as from the EIB and national promotional banks, to apply for technical assistance (e.g. through the ELENA program). Through this approach, technical assistance would not only become more accessible for small- to medium-sized cities across Europe, but this would also contribute to bridging the gap between the realities at the local level and the financial sector. Finally, the EU should also increase its efforts to mainstream technical assistance for both the public and private sectors.
The success of the EU Green Deal in triggering investments will not only depend on stronger collaboration between the public and private sector, but also in encouraging citizens to invest more sustainably. For this purpose, the EU should ensure that financial literacy and sustainable finance become mainstreamed into education for schools, students, and as part of lifelong learning programs for adults. In addition to this, technicians in municipalities should receive better access to training options to improve their financial skills, literacy, and knowledge of sustainable finance, in order to be better informed in their investment decision-making and be better equipped in interacting with banks and the private sector. In this regard, the Commission should propose specific opportunities for technicians from local authorities, such as through the future URBACT, LIFE, and Erasmus programs.
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