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European Commission - Press release

European Commission appoints members of the High-Level Expert Group on sustainable finance

Brussels, 22 December 2016

Today, the European Commission has announced the composition of the High-Level Expert Group on sustainable finance. The Group, which will start meeting as of January 2017, comprises 20 policy leaders from civil society, the finance sector and academia.

The establishment of this Group was announced in the Communication on accelerating implementation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) of 14 September 2016. The objective is that the Expert Group provides, by the end of 2017, recommendations for a comprehensive EU strategy on sustainable finance as part of the Capital Markets Union. The Commission will draw on these recommendations to determine how to integrate sustainability considerations into the EU's rules for the financial sector. This marks an important step in the follow-up to the EU's 2030 Agenda for sustainable development as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change.

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "We are committed to promoting sustainable finance in Europe. In appointing the members of our high level expert group, we have drawn on the best talent and expertise there is. They will ensure our approach to sustainable finance is ambitious and at the forefront of innovation. They will help us hardwire sustainability into EU financial policy."

Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen stated that: "The finance sector has a critical role to play in re-orienting capital towards more sustainable technologies and uses, and financing Europe's energy transition needs. Because of its longer-term horizons, the finance sector is also more exposed to environmental risk. On both counts, Europe needs to develop a proactive and coherent strategy to anchor sustainability in financial regulation and policy-making. This is crucial for jobs, growth and competitiveness. The Expert Group report has the potential to make a landmark contribution to shaping European policy".

In response to the call for applications published on 28 October 2016, the European Commission received 103 eligible applications from civil society, the business and finance community as well as other non-public sector institutions. The Commission selected 20 highly qualified candidates (members are listed in the table below) on the basis of their personal expertise, their contribution to work relevant to sustainable finance, as well as the prominence of their affiliation in this area. The Commission has also taken steps to ensure a geographical and gender balance in the Group's membership.

The European Commission has appointed as Chairperson Christian Thimann, Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight of AXA. Mr Thimann has recently served as Vice-Chair of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures. In addition to his international leadership role on policy issues in the field of sustainable finance, he has a long history of managing challenging European policy briefs in both the public (European Central Bank) and private (AXA) sector.


The EU is fully committed to mainstreaming sustainability in its policies and cross-cutting initiatives. Providing sustainable finance for investments that lead to a more sustainable economy is therefore essential.

Building on existing EU legislation and ongoing international work on sustainable, green and climate-related finance, as well as emerging initiatives in Member States or at EU level (whether institutional, industry- or civil society-based), an EU strategy on sustainable finance should identify, prioritise and sequence the ways in which EU financial policy reform can:

  1. Steer the flow of public and private capital towards sustainable investments;
  2. Explore effective and operational steps that financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the stability of the financial system from risks related to the environment;
  3. Deploy these policies on a pan-European scale.

Throughout its work, the Group will provide advice on how the EU should design appropriate and proportionate financial policies, incentives and signals for financial institutions, corporate capital-raisers and markets. It will also suggest how such reforms could complement public finance support most effectively.

The Group will meet on a regular basis throughout 2017. It will produce an interim report in the summer of 2017 which will frame the principal issues and approaches that could be put in place. It will finalise its final report in December 2017, containing a set of operational recommendations for integration of sustainability considerations in EU financial regulation. Both the interim and final reports will be made public. The Commission will then draw on the work of the Group in determining how make EU financial policy more sustainable.

A number of European and international institutions contributing to the development of sustainable finance have been invited as observers to the Group. Observers include multilateral development banks (such as the European Investment Bank and the Nordic Investment Bank), macro-prudential supervisors (European Systemic Risk Board), as well as the International Capital Market Association), the European Environment Agency and United Nations Environment Programme.


Composition of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance:




Stakeholder group


Member of Executive Committee

Luxembourg Stock Exchange


(stock exchange)





(pension fund)

CANFIN, Pascal


WWF France

Civil society



2° Investment Initiative

Civil society


Senior Associate

University of Cambridge


GROSZEK, Mieczyslaw

Vice President

Polish Bank Association

Finance (banks)


Head Sustainable Business and Director of ESG

London Stock Exchange Group

Finance (stock exchange)

HOLMES, Ingrid



Civil society

HUSSON-TRAORE, Anne-Catherine






Climate Bonds Initiative

Civil society


Deputy Managing Director

Federation of Finnish Financial Services


KRUSE, Claudia

Managing Director, Global Responsible Investment and Governance

APG Asset Management


(asset manager)



TRUCOST (S&P Global)

Finance (ratings/analytics)

McCarthy, Arlene

Special Advisor to the Chairman, Bloomberg

AMC Strategy

Finance (data/analytics)


Executive Director


Civil society

SCHMIDT, Michael

Board Member

DEKA Investment


(asset manager)

THIMANN, Christian (Chairperson)

Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight


Finance (insurance)


Senior Researcher


Civil society (Research)


Chief Responsible Investment Officer

AVIVA investors

Finance (insurance)

ZAOUATI, Philippe




(asset manager)



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