EXPERT TALKS is a new initiative from BUILD UP. In the form of face-to-face interviews, experts coming from all around Europe and covering the field of Energy Efficiency in buildings from different perspectives will share their views, experience and expertise with BUILD UP audience. The interview addresses relevant topics linked to the Topic of the Month.
For the 9th edition of the Build Up Expert Talks, the invited interviewee was Ursula Hartenberg, member of a series of international sustainable-development and responsible-investment platforms and sustainable finance expert with a track record of initiating and managing research, capacity-building and awareness-raising projects at organisational as well as at the value chain stakeholder level.
Notable projects in which she has participated are the EU funded RenoValue – a capacity-building project aimed at skills and knowledge development amongst valuation professionals – and the EeMAP, the Energy-efficient Mortgage Action Plan which developed parameters and tools for green mortgage lending.
Most recently, she held the role of chair of the EU Taxonomy Buildings Sector group within the EU Commission’s Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance in which she oversaw the drafting of the technical criteria for construction and real estate. Upon this late experience, she develops in the interview the implication and opportunities for the building sector emerging form this novel and key classification and sustainability reference tool for the market.
She explains the context of this EU initiative, the participation process, and how the TEG was tasked with developing rules for corporate disclosure, a green bond standard and benchmarking. With these objectives, the Taxonomy marks out performance standards for economic activities which make a substantial contribution to at least one of the Six Environmental Objectives and do not do any significant harm to the other five.
During the interview, Ursula Hartenberg stresses how the Green Deal’s upcoming Renovation Wave would be covered by the provisions of the Taxonomy and the scale of projects and interventions that would be concerned. She also addresses the potential relationship of the buildings-related taxonomy with building performance and certification systems existing today in the market and with the practices of valuation and real estate appraisal.
She shares how change is tangible already, and further evolutions of the market are expected, where clients are creating an increased demand for Taxonomy-aligned assets and where multiple sustainable finance schemes would grow and develop.
With a Sustainable Finance Platform that is going to take over from the TEG, complete applicability of the EU Taxonomy is expected by the end of 2021 and the first company reports and investor disclosures as of the beginning of 2022.
The Taxonomy framework is already an important support for the economic recovery plans from the ongoing Covid-19 crisis – governments and the private sector must be attentive to the details of what a resilient, sustainable and fair recovery looks like to ensure greater resilience to further environmental and social crises ahead.
Considering the cross-cutting nature of the building sector and the sustainable development issues, Ursula Hartenberg prompts for a holistic view. She considers essential to count with capital adequacy and transparency, and better and systematic data capture and management as data underpins investment decisions and helps to build investor trust.