ESG and transparency – the road to a green transition of the economy?
A prerequisite for the reorientation of financial flows towards sustainable investment is increased access to data on sustainability-related risks. Our conclusion is that the main transparency systems that exists today, ESG-valuations, SBT and legal requirements on sustainability reporting have hardly had any major effect on the economy´s green transition.
How can the state contribute to financial flows leading to a green transition?
The green transition of the economy is a priority issue in the current government's program statement, as well as in the EU's action plan for financing for sustainable growth. Our conclusions demonstrate that one should not place too high hopes that the financial sector will be a driver for the green transition of business.
A prerequisite for the financial sector to be able to take such a role is access to information about companies' sustainability-related risks. The state should in various ways work for improved and increased access, for example by sharpening and developing the reporting requirements for increased transparency.
- Encourage the tightening of reporting requirements in the EU directive on non-financial reporting, in order to meet the needs of the financial sector and others for easily accessible and comparable sustainability information. Industry-specific but comparable indicators would suit the current structure of current ESG-valuations.
The state is also itself a large financial player and it should be clear how sustainability risks are weighed in at decisions on financing for companies.
- Consider giving government agencies that finance companies the task of preparing a transparent and public ESG measure that could be used as a benchmark by state and other actors to analyze financial assets. Appropriate authorities would be Vinnova, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the Swedish Energy Agency together with other state financiers such as Almi, Business Sweden.