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WWF suspends role in EU green finance platform over bioenergy criteria

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WWF, alongside other non-governmental organisations, has suspended its role in the European Commission’s (EC) Platform on Sustainable Finance over the bioenergy and forestry criteria included in the EU Taxonomy.

With this step, WWF said it is protesting against the “greenwashing” of the forestry and bioenergy criteria in the climate taxonomy, and the process that led to these criteria.

As a member of the EC’s Platform on Sustainable Finance, WWF European Policy Office provided expertise on what science-based taxonomy criteria should look like, the organisation said in a statement. This work began prior to the creation of the Platform, with WWF’s participation in the EC’s previous Technical Expert Group.

Earlier this month, WWF and other civil society organisations and scientists sent an open letter to the EC raising concerns on the ‘unscientific criteria’ in the climate taxonomy draft, stating “should politics and lobbying prevail over science, it is our responsibility to inform you that we would not be forced to reconsider our contribution to the Platform”.

The letter stated: “In particular, criteria for forestry, bioenergy, and fossil gas are in clear contradiction to climate science. These criteria are not simply weak, they are counter-productive and label as ‘sustainable’ activities that may cause harm to the climate and the environment.”

WWF, along with other environmental experts on the Platform, has asked the EC to clarify the rules on the basis of which the Platform operates. The Chair of the Platform has made relevant suggestions to the EC to ensure that implementation of the EU Taxonomy follows scientific evidence, as required by article 19 of the regulation, but the EC has yet to respond, according to WWF.

“The science-based criteria shaped in a long, balanced consultative process led by the Commission’s previous Technical Expert Group were trashed today for several sectors,” said Sebastien Godinot, senior economist at WWF EU.

“This casts serious doubts over the Commission’s intention to respect and follow the forthcoming taxonomy recommendations by the new EU Platform on Sustainable Finance.

“As a result, WWF is suspending its participation in this Platform until the Commission addresses the concerns and proposals raised by the Platform’s chair. This is essential to strengthen the institutional process, increase transparency, and devise criteria that are actually based on science.”