All frills and no filling: EU sustainable investment plan falls far short | WWF
All frills and no filling: EU sustainable investment plan falls far short

Posted on 14 January 2020

New money is essential, yet the plan contains none
The European Commission’s plan for unlocking €1 trillion of sustainable investments over ten years, published today, is little more than pretty packaging of an empty box in WWF’s view.

New money is essential to help the EU get climate neutral, protect and restore its endangered nature, and move to a sustainable economy. Yet the Sustainable European Investment Plan only brings together funds which already exist. 

This is a far cry from what is needed to bring about the Commission’s European Green Deal, and lead the way to a truly sustainable Europe. 

“This investment plan shows the Commission to be all talk and no trousers,” commented Sébastien Godinot, Economist at WWF European Policy Office. “While claiming to raise green ambition, the Commission fails to offer any of the new public money that is crucial to turn such ambitions into reality. Both the amount spent today on climate and environment and future spending targets must be massively ramped up, to finance the way to a sustainable Europe.” 

The €1 trillion figure would be made up of public and private finance. The public part would come from three existing sources: 
  1. The EU multi-annual budget. This is still being negotiated - and has a 25% climate spending target. 
WWF is calling for a 50% climate and environment spending target.
  1. The InvestEU fund. This fund, already agreed, aims to trigger €650 billion for investment and innovation. Under the current rules, 30% must be spent on climate. 
WWF is calling for a review clause to be added for 2022 latest, to increase the sustainability, climate & environment spending of this fund.
  1. The European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB recently adopted a new target of 50% for climate and environment by 2025. 
WWF wants the European Commission to ask the EIB to create a massive green bonds programme. 

In the next few months, the European Commission will develop specific parts of the Plan. For example, it will consider how the EU taxonomy can be used in the context of the European Green Deal. It will also table a legislative proposal for a public sector loan facility with the EIB in March 2020, for concessional loans to the public sector.

The European Commission also published today a just transition mechanism proposal. While a positive move, the mechanism is not yet clear enough on the need to commit to a fossil fuel phase-out. See WWF’s reaction.

Sébastien Godinot
Economist, WWF European Policy Office
+32 489 46 13 14

Sarah Azau
Media Manager, WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 57 31 37
Renewable energy
© Global Warming Images / WWF