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EU taxonomy for sustainable activities

What the EU is doing to create an EU-wide classification system for sustainable activities.

What the EU is doing and why

The EU taxonomy is a cornerstone of the EU’s sustainable finance framework and an important market transparency tool. It helps direct investments to the economic activities most needed for the transition, in line with the European Green Deal objectives. The taxonomy is a classification system that defines criteria for economic activities that are aligned with a net zero trajectory by 2050 and the broader environmental goals other than climate.

In order to meet the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2030 and reach the objectives of the European green deal, it is vital that we direct investments towards sustainable projects and activities. To achieve this, a common language and a clear definition of what is ‘sustainable’ is needed. This is why the action plan on financing sustainable growth called for the creation of a common classification system for sustainable economic activities, or an “EU taxonomy”. 

The EU taxonomy allows financial and non-financial companies to share a common definition of economic activities that can be considered environmentally sustainable.
In this way, it plays an important role in helping the EU scale up sustainable investment, by creating security for investors, protecting private investors from greenwashing, helping companies become more climate-friendly and mitigating market fragmentation.  

The Taxonomy Regulation entered into force on 12 July 2020. It establishes the basis for the EU taxonomy by setting out the 4 overarching conditions that an economic activity has to meet in order to qualify as environmentally sustainable. 

Under the Taxonomy Regulation, the Commission had to come up with the actual list of environmentally sustainable activities by defining technical screening criteria for each environmental objective through delegated and implementing acts

EU taxonomy explained

EU taxonomy navigator

The Commission created an educational and user-friendly website offering a series of online tools to help users better understand the EU taxonomy in a simple and practical manner, ultimately facilitating its implementation and supporting companies in their reporting obligations.

The EU taxonomy navigator offers four tools that will help you navigate the EU taxonomy:

  1. EU taxonomy compass: a visual representation of sectors, activities and criteria included in the EU Taxonomy delegated acts
  2. EU taxonomy calculator: a step-by-step guide on reporting obligations
  3. FAQs repository: an overview of questions and answers on the EU taxonomy and its delegated acts
  4. EU taxonomy user guide: a guidance document on the Taxonomy for non-experts

Find out more about the EU taxonomy navigator

Commission expert groups on sustainable finance

Policy making timeline

  1. 21 November 2023
    Delegated act - Environmental and climate

    Publication in the Official Journal of a Delegated Act for economic activities substantially contributing to the objectives of

    1. sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
    2. transition to a circular economy
    3. pollution prevention and control
    4. protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

    Amendments to add economic activities to the list of those substantially contributing to the objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to clarify the reporting obligations for the additional activities. The delegated acts were approved in principle on 13 June 2023 and adopted on 27 June 2023. They will apply as of January 2024.

  2. 17 October 2023
    Stakeholder request mechanism
  3. October 2022 - October 2024
    Expert group - Platform on Sustainable Finance

    Second mandate of the Platform on Sustainable Finance.

  4. 15 July 2022
    Delegated act - Climate

    Publication of a Complementary Climate Delegated Act in the Official Journal, including, under strict conditions, specific nuclear and gas energy activities in the list of economic activities covered by the EU taxonomy.

    The delegated act applies as of January 2023.

    The criteria for the specific gas and nuclear activities are in line with EU climate and environmental objectives and will help accelerate the shift from solid or liquid fossil fuels, including coal, towards a climate-neutral future.

  5. 10 December 2021
    Delegated act - Disclosures

    Publication of a Delegated Act supplementing Article 8 of the Taxonomy Regulation in the Official Journal.

    This Delegated Act specifies the content, methodology and presentation of information to be disclosed by financial and non-financial undertakings concerning the proportion of environmentally sustainable economic activities in their business, investments or lending activities.

  6. 9 December 2021
    Delegated act - Climate

    Publication of a Delegated Act on sustainable activities for climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives in the Official Journal.

    The delegated act applies as of January 2022.

    The publication of the first Delegated Act was accompanied by the adoption of a Commission Communication on ‘EU taxonomy, corporate sustainability reporting, sustainability preferences and fiduciary duties: Directing finance towards the European green deal’ that aimed at delivering key messages on how the sustainable finance toolbox facilitates access to finance for the transition. This Communication builds on the transition finance report adopted by the Platform on Sustainable Finance in March 2021.

  7. October 2020 - October 2022
    Expert group - Platform on Sustainable Finance

    First mandate of the Platform on Sustainable Finance.

  8. 12 July 2020
    Legislation - Taxonomy Regulation

    The Taxonomy Regulation enters into force.

  9. 22 June 2020
    Legislation - Taxonomy Regulation

    Publication of the Taxonomy Regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union.

  10. July 2018 - July 2020
    Expert group - Technical expert group

    In order to inform its work on the action plan, including on the EU taxonomy, the European Commission established a Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance.

  11. 2016 - 2018
    Expert group - High-level expert group

Relevant legislation

Frequently asked questions