Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a government decree setting out the directions of financing and criteria for the selection of “green” projects, as well as requirements for the verification of funding instruments and for the verifiers themselves. The nationally approved taxonomy distinguishes between green and transition projects. The next task of VEB.RF and regulators is the recognition of the taxonomy by the international community and the creation of a basis for launching internal transitional financing.
The developers of the national taxonomy of green projects published yesterday (VEB.RF and the Ministry of Economy) claim that it is 95% compliant with international standards (such as ICMA, Climate Bond Initiative, IDFC) and is consistent with the final report of experts on the updated EU taxonomy (note, however, unlike the last document, energy-based waste incineration in the Russian Federation will be considered an environmentally friendly way of handling them).
The resolution fixes the parameters, upon reaching which, for the implementation of a “green” or adaptation project, it is possible to attract concessional financing through special bonds or loans. “For a project to be recognized as” green “, it must improve the situation in one direction and not worsen the rest,” – this is how Aleksey Miroshnichenko, Deputy Head of VEB.RF, described the general logic of selection earlier (see Kommersant dated December 25, 2020 ).
Note that in comparison with the latest version of the draft resolution, the adopted document reveals an important change, which, according to Kommersant’s information, has been achieved by En +. The already built dam hydroelectric power plants (in the Russian Federation they were classified as “green” energy, and in developed countries only small stations are classified as it) will be freed from the need to prove and verify with a verifier their environmental friendliness and the absence of a negative impact on the climate.
“For the industry and expert community, the resulting document is not an easy compromise,” admits Elena Borisenko, deputy chairman of the board of Gazprombank JSC. The next steps, explained to Kommersant in VEB.RF, will be the launch of a verification system for financial instruments for sustainable development (the requirements for it are also approved by the government) and work on the recognition of Russian taxonomy by foreign exchanges, international environmental and economic associations, and foreign investors.
Note that the EU requirements for the certification of disclosed information are stricter than those for the Russian taxonomy. “Companies may face difficulties in verifying information disclosed in accordance with the requirements of the EU taxonomy. They may receive questions from investors about how the organizations’ activities contribute to achieving the goals of the EU taxonomy, which may require additional elaboration of the available materials of the verifier, ”PwC notes (see Kommersant of August 10).
The taxonomy also contains a list of adaptation projects that will be used to finance the greening of “dirty” industries and industries in general (there will most likely be more such projects in the Russian Federation than “green” ones). The main requirement for them is not to contradict the country’s environmental priorities. Although the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Sergei Shvetsov, recently announced that “in the near future there will be an opportunity to issue” transitional “bonds,” experts doubt this. Svetlana Bik, head of the INFRAGREEN expert and analytical platform, notes that the draft normative act regulating the prospectus for the emission and disclosure of information does not contain a division into “green” and adaptation projects.
A recent study by the OECD notes that there is still no common understanding in the world what commitments may be sufficient for transition projects – due to differences in the goals and structure of countries’ economies and it is proposed to consider financing as a risk management mechanism. “It is not yet very clear how to define goals for reducing CO2 for companies from different industries, how to ensure the comparability and materiality of such goals, how to assess their impact on carbon neutrality, how to ensure an independent verification of their achievement”, – characterizes the state of the international discussion of the topic Alexey Miroshnichenko …