Corporate Lobbying on the EU's Ecolabel

An InfluenceMap Briefing

April 20th 2020

Corporate Lobbying on the EU's Ecolabel

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New analysis from InfluenceMap has tracked significant lobbying on the EU Ecolabel since late 2018, as part of a wider ongoing research process covering the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan and how the corporate sector is influencing the process. Concern has been growing over financial sector lobbying to weaken the stringency of the label, illustrated by the lowering of the ambition of the Ecolabel criteria between the first (March 2019) and second (December 2019) technical reports after the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) stated “most of the stakeholders considered the criterion proposal to be 'strict' and therefore counterproductive to the uptake of the EU Ecolabel”.

The majority of lobbying on the Ecolabel appears to have come from EU financial trade associations, led by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), the European Banking Federation (EBF) and the European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB). However, some companies are engaging on an individual basis, including through the Ad-Hoc Working Group, with InfluenceMap finding a particularly weak proposal from BlackRock in December 2018, who proposed a threshold of 25% green activities at the company and portfolio level to qualify for the EU Ecolabel.

InfluenceMap has picked up three key trends concerning corporate lobbying around the EU Ecolabel.

  • Lobbying to weaken the green thresholds required to qualify for the Ecolabel. This concerns the proportion of investment that should be in green activities (defined via the taxonomy regulation) at both the company and portfolio level to qualify for the Ecolabel.

  • Lobbying to weaken the exclusion criteria for the Ecolabel. This concerns either total or partial exclusions for companies that derive their revenue from environmentally destructive activities. In the initial stakeholder questionnaire, many trade associations and companies pushed for partial exclusions over total bans.

  • Lobbying for a more flexible or less prescriptive approach. Some companies and trade associations have argued for a less prescriptive approach, relying on transparency over rigorous criteria and thresholds.

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