Ireland's European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness is overseeing the EU’s efforts to define ‘sustainable’ activities with a view to directing finance towards those sectors.
McGuinness was appointed to her role as European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union in October 2020.
Speaking to farmers at the Meath IFA AGM, McGuinness explained that much of her work is focused on sustainable finance and how investments are shifted towards activities that are sustainable.
Much of this work is driven by the EU green deal, which incorporates the Farm to Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy.
The green deal sets out the EU’s ambition to be a climate-neutral area by 2050.
Take a forensic look at your supply chain, so your inputs and your outputs, and to see what part of it is fragile
McGuinness warned that part of her role was defining economic activities that were sustainable. For farmers, the major focus will be on land use.
“Already we have defined in the land use area, the criteria which would meet sustainability and I’ve asked for feedback from Teagasc and other people on this. It is quite controversial because it’s quite severe,” McGuinness said.
She added that while it would require a lot of change, agriculture was not the only sector facing such shifts.
“What you will be asked to do, is what all industries and sectors have been asked to do, which is take a forensic look at your supply chain, so your inputs and your outputs, and to see what part of it is fragile, or vulnerable, and what parts you could even enhance to make more sustainable.
“Trying to make sure that we use what is necessary, not just use what's on the pack if you like, to use things in a sustainable way.
“Again, this is targeted not just at farming, but at all sectors, and to try and make sure that what we take from nature, we do in a way that doesn't do significant harm,” the Commissioner said.