Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to take further steps to include climate change considerations in the Eurosystem’s monetary policy framework. It has decided to adjust corporate bond holdings in the monetary policy portfolios and its collateral framework, to introduce climate-related disclosure requirements and to enhance its risk management practices.
These measures are designed in full accordance with the Eurosystem’s primary objective of maintaining price stability. They aim to better consider climate-related financial risk in the Eurosystem balance sheet and, with reference to the secondary objective, support the green transition of the economy in line with the EU’s climate neutrality objectives. Moreover, the measures provide incentives to companies and financial institutions to be more transparent about their carbon emissions and to reduce them.
“With these decisions we are turning our commitment to fighting climate change into real action,” said ECB president Christine Lagarde. “Within our mandate, we are taking further concrete steps to incorporate climate change into our monetary policy operations. And, as part of our evolving climate agenda, there will be more steps to align our activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Governing Council of the ECB has decided to take further steps to include climate change considerations in the Eurosystem’s monetary policy framework. It decided to adjust corporate bond holdings in the monetary policy portfolios and its collateral framework, to introduce climate-related disclosure requirements and to enhance its risk management practices.
The ECB has decided to take some concrete measures.
Firstly, the Eurosystem aims to gradually decarbonise its corporate bond holdings, on a path aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. To that end, the Eurosystem will tilt these holdings towards issuers with better climate performance through the reinvestment of the sizeable redemptions expected over the coming years. Better climate performance will be measured with reference to lower greenhouse gas emissions, more ambitious carbon reduction targets and better climate-related disclosures. This aims to mitigate climate-related financial risks on the Eurosystem balance sheet. It also provides incentives to issuers to improve their disclosures and reduce their carbon emissions in the future.
The ECB expects the measures to apply from October 2022. It will start publishing climate-related information on corporate bond holdings regularly as of the first quarter of 2023.
Secondly, the Eurosystem will limit the share of assets issued by entities with a high carbon footprint that can be pledged as collateral by individual counterparties when borrowing from the Eurosystem. The new limits regime aims to reduce climate-related financial risks in Eurosystem credit operations. The measure is expected to apply before the end of 2024 provided that the necessary technical preconditions are in place. Additionally, the Eurosystem will consider climate change risks when reviewing haircuts applied to corporate bonds used as collateral. Haircuts are reductions applied to the value of collateral based on its riskiness.
Thirdly, the Eurosystem will only accept marketable assets and credit claims from companies and debtors that comply with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations (once the directive is fully implemented). As the implementation of the CSRD has been delayed, the new eligibility criteria are expected to apply as of 2026.
However, a significant proportion of the assets that can be pledged as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations, such as asset-backed securities and covered bonds, do not fall under the CSRD. To ensure a proper assessment of climate-related financial risks for those assets as well, the Eurosystem supports better and harmonised disclosures of climate-related data for them and, acting as a catalyst, engages closely with the relevant authorities to make this happen.
Fourthly, the Eurosystem will further enhance its risk assessment tools and capabilities to better include climate-related risks. For example, ECB analysis has shown that, despite the progress already achieved by the rating agencies, current disclosure standards are not yet satisfactory.
To improve the external assessment of climate-related risks, the Eurosystem will urge rating agencies to be more transparent about how they incorporate climate risks into their ratings and to be more ambitious in their disclosure requirements on climate risks. The Eurosystem is in close dialogue with the relevant authorities on this matter.
Additionally, the Eurosystem agreed on a set of common minimum standards for how national central banks’ in-house credit assessment systems should include climate-related risks in their ratings. These standards will enter into force by the end of 2024.
The decisions are part of the climate action plan announced in July 2021.
The ECB is also including climate change considerations in areas of its work besides monetary policy, including banking supervision, financial stability, economic analysis, statistical data and corporate sustainability.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KD)