ShareAction: Europe

Our financial system invests trillions on behalf of citizens across Europe. The way money is invested has an impact on the world we live in, however the financial system is regulated in a way that allows short-term and unsustainable thinking to flourish.

But things are beginning to change. We are making sure that the laws governing financial markets in Europe are in line with citizens’ interests and respect our planet.

We brief and educate policy-makers; we raise our voice in the media; and we collaborate with other civil society organisations to show that our money can change everything.

 

The latest news on our work in Europe

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2019

  • With the Disclosure and Taxonomy Regulations in their final stretch, we intensify our efforts to ensure a strong outcome.
  • We get together over 100 investors, policy-makers and, civil society representatives in Brussels to set our expectations for the future of sustainable finance.
  • We start conducting civil society and investor workshops across Europe on EU financial regulation and sustainability.
  • We push for a clarification of investors’ duties, feeding this into the ambitious work of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance
  • Through events and a letter-writing campaign, we start to bring attention to the role of human rights in sustainable finance.
  • We start work on the legislative process of the Disclosure and Taxonomy Regulations, advocating for transparency of investment impacts on the environment, and definitions of ‘sustainable’ which include human rights.
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2018

2017

  • ShareAction opens its office in Brussels in order to intensify engagement with financial policy-makers on sustainability.
  • We had a hand in integrating ESG and stewardship into the IORPs and SRD II Directives, which are passed into law, marking the first time sustainability is mentioned in financial regulations.
  • We work with NGOs, trade unions, European Parliament, the Commission, and regulators to set the stage for strong legislation on sustainable finance.
  • We drive up responsible investment standards across Europe by ranking the 40 largest asset managers.

We continue pushing for a legal framework to promote robust company engagement on issues like climate change, through the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II).

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2016

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2015

ShareAction starts to influence regulation covering occupational pension funds to account for ESG risks, called the IORPs Directive.

ShareAction begins work to reorient the laws governing European markets towards sustainable and long-term thinking.

2014

European Policy Resources

Civil Society Statement: Due Diligence & Corporate Accountability Legislative Report

14 April 2021

Last month, the European Parliament adopted a report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability, with recommendations for the European Commission on the necessary next steps to be taken. Along with other NGOs, ShareAction published a statement in which we emphasise our support for this report and the need for the Commission to build on this, in the upcoming legislation.

The report from the European Parliament sends a strong signal on the key elements it expects in the upcoming legislation, calling for mandatory corporate due diligence and civil liability regimes, among other initiatives. However, we outline seven key areas in which the Commission can go further to ensure the upcoming legislation truly protects people and the planet.

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Civil Society Statement: Recommendations for supply chain reporting requirements

1 April 2021

Historically, corporate sustainability transparency in the context of supply chains has seen a lack of agreement on the reporting requirements of human rights matters and non-climate related environmental issues.

Along with other civil society groups, ShareAction has published a statement in which it makes nine recommendations for standardisable supply chain data and indictors applicable across high-risk sectors.  Our recommendations include baseline requirements for the description of supply chains, mandatory disclosure of Tier 1 suppliers, as well as sector-specific requirements.

These recommendations will provide a standardised insight into companies exposure to risks and impacts and support the disclosure of corporate human rights and environmental due diligence.

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Feedback on EU proposal for a European single access point for corporate data

19 January 2021

ShareAction has provided feedback to the EU proposal for a European single access point for financial and non-financial information publicly disclosed by companies

ShareAction strongly supports the European Commission’s intention to present a legislative proposal to build a European single access point for corporate data. We see four key priorities for the single access points which will be essential for its success: 1) The single access point’s database must include small companies, non-listed companies, and the data provided must include sustainability data; 2) The public access point should put sustainability data on an equal footing with financial data and give non-financial information the same visibility; 3) The access point must be publicly accessible and free of charge for all citizens; 4) The platform should allow for sector-specific information.

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Alliance for Corporate Transparency Joint Position on NFRD Reform

15 December 2020

The Alliance for Corporate Transparency, of which ShareAction is a member, strongly welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to reform the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive and explore the development of future mandatory EU non-financial reporting standards.

These processes offer a unique opportunity to address the gaps and shortcomings of corporate sustainability reporting, which in turn will support smoother achievement of EU goals.

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Accelerating Progress & Reaching Scale: Proposals for the future of the Sustainable Finance Agenda

28 February 2019

This statement, prepared by ShareAction and eight other civil society organisations, lays out our shared vision for the future of the Sustainable Finance Agenda.

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Letter to EU policymakers on disclosure regulation

19 November 2018

ShareAction joins other NGOs and trade unions write to European policy-makers to ensure a speedy and positive progression of disclosure requirements for sustainable investments

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Amending sectoral legislation to integrate end-investors’ sustainability preferences

8 July 2020

ShareAction, the responsible investment advocacy group, welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the draft Delegated Acts presented by the European Commission on the obligation of investment firms, investment funds, mutual funds and insurance firms to advise clients on social and environmental aspects of financial products, amending UCITS, MiFID II and IDD.

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Accelerating Progress & Reaching Scale: Proposals for the future of the Sustainable Finance Agenda

28 February 2019

This statement, prepared by ShareAction and eight other civil society organisations, lays out our shared vision for the future of the Sustainable Finance Agenda.

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NGO Recommendations for the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan

8 March 2018

ShareAction and our European policy partners put together an updated anthology of our recommendations for the Commission’s work on sustainable finance, presented in March at the European Parliament.

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Letter to DG FISMA on IORPS

8 March 2017

This letter was sent to DG FISMA of the European Commission to make the case for guidance on how ESG relates to the fiduciary duties of investors in the context of the IORPs Directive.

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Institutions for Occupational Retirement (IORPs) Directive – Significant Progress on Responsible Investment

13 January 2017

A political agreement has been reached on the EU Institutions for Occupational Retirement Directive that includes important responsible investment measures on environmental, social and governance factors.

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Letter to EU Permanent Representation on IORPs

18 February 2016

This letter was sent to the Financial Services Attachés in each EU Member State’s Representation making the case for responsible investment criteria to be included in the IORPs Directive.

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Joint Briefing – Shareholder Rights Directive

8 November 2016

This briefing paper, produced with WWF and 4 other civil society groups, explains why the current update to the EU’s Shareholder Rights Directive should include more ambitious measures on responsible investment.

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Proposed Revisions to the EU Shareholder Rights Directive

1 April 2015

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Feedback to EU Taxonomy criteria on climate change adaptation & mitigation

18 December 2020

ShareAction has provided feedback to the EU Taxonomy draft Delegated Acts on the Technical Screening Criteria for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Please find our full response in the document attached.

The EU Taxonomy has been hailed globally as a milestone in creating the much-needed tools for financing the transition to a low-carbon economy. For this tool to effectively facilitate reaching the EU emission reduction targets and commitments under the European Climate Law to meet climate-neutrality by 2050, it needs to fully endorse the ambition of the Technical Expert Group’s (TEG) recommendations, if not going even further.

Our key recommendations concern the following areas:
– Maintain the proposed climate change mitigation criteria for electricity generation of 100g CO2/kWh to effectively exclude natural gas without abatement (CCSU)
– Exclude the burning of all forest biomass for energy as well as reverse the inclusion of all bioenergy feedstocks with higher lifecycle emissions compared to fossil-fuels
– Explicitly exclude hydrogen produced with non-renewable power
– Reconsider the inclusion of activities such as short-term forestry rotation, livestock and small hydropower
– The inclusion of sea and coastal water transport should be conditional on the examination by the Platform on Sustainable Finance
– Exclude the burning of refuse-derived fuel (RDF) in cement plants, as recommended by the TEG

We have also supported a civil society joint-statement on the draft Delegated Acts, which is available here.

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Civil Society Statement: Ten Priorities for the Climate Taxonomy Draft Delegated Act December 2020

15 December 2020

A couple sit in a park with London in the distance - front cover of the Responsible Investment Bill

Following the release of the European Commission’s draft Delegated Act (hereafter identified as ‘draft DA’) on the EU Sustainable Taxonomy, we, a coalition of NGOs, think-tanks, experts, scientists, shareholder associations, and sustainable investment associations representing millions of citizens in Europe and the global South, are writing to stress our strong support for an EU sustainable taxonomy rooted in climate and environmental science.

The global climate strikes have consistently made a simple demand: listen to the science. We agree. Just as experts and evidence have been key assets in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, so too must they, and not sectoral interests, determine our policies to fight the climate crisis. While we recognise that the draft DA has taken into account the recommendations of the Commission’s Technical Expert Group (TEG) on the climate taxonomy to a large extent, we would like to voice substantial concerns that the draft DA has ignored or weakened the TEG’s scientific advice for several activities. We outline the ten most important areas that need to be revised to produce a taxonomy that is based on scientific evidence, supports fully sustainable economic activities, accelerates the shift from unsustainable to sustainable activities, and truly reduces the risk of greenwashing. In addition to these ten priorities, we strongly support the development of an unsustainable taxonomy, which is crucial to reliably identify risky sectors and accelerate their transition.

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Open letter to MEPs on Taxonomy regulation

27 March 2019

NGOs signed an open letter urging MEPs to vote for strong social and environmental protections in investments.

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ShareAction’s team in Europe

Maria Van Der Heide

Maria Van Der Heide

Head of EU Policy
Maria Van Der Heide

Maria Van Der Heide

Head of EU Policy

Maria joined ShareAction in November 2020 to lead our advocacy work on sustainable finance in the EU. Prior to ShareAction she worked at the European Parliament on international trade and human rights and at ActionAid, where she led the Policy and Campaigns team advocating for just transition and corporate accountability. Outside the office, you can find her cycling in the city or reading a book in one of Brussels finest coffee bars.

Sunniva Gautvik

Sunniva Gautvik

ERIN Manager

Sunniva joined the team in 2017 to coordinate the European Responsible Investment Network. She spends a lot of her time chatting with organisations across Europe, helping members develop projects, events, and resources. When she's not working on building the movement, Sunniva can often be found with knitting needles or a pastry in her hand (honestly, this sometimes happens at the office too).

Eleni Choidas – Senior EU Affairs Officer
eleni.choidas@shareaction.org

Anna Irmisch – European Policy Officer
anna.irmisch@shareaction.org