How an EU social taxonomy could bring clarity to "S" in ESG


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The coronavirus pandemic and a growing awareness of social risks have thrust the ‘S’ in ESG into sharper focus for many sustainability-minded companies and investors.

Issuance of social bonds — debt instruments that raise money for things like affordable housing, health and education — surged nine-fold to $165 billion dollars in 2020 from the previous year, according to data from Environmental Finance, a global sustainable finance news and analysis provider. And as that market expands, investors are seeking clear guidance on social investment definitions.

The European Union has already developed a green taxonomy, or a classification system of sustainable businesses and sectors. In this episode of ESG Insider, we look at the potential social taxonomy the EU has proposed to help define the ‘S.’

“We've got a good understanding of the E,” says Victor van Hoorn, executive director at Eurosif, a European forum that promotes sustainable investment. “We're more or less starting with a blank sheet of paper when we're talking about the ‘S.’”

Check out our episode on the green taxonomy here:

Photo credit: Getty Images

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