Sustainable financing taxonomies, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, and nuclear energy

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With accelerating momentum for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned investment over the past several years, more and more investors are looking to integrate sustainable infrastructure projects into their overall investment strategies. This growing emphasis on sustainability has generated interested in green bonds and climate bonds, as well as in national or regional sustainable financing taxonomies.

In partnership with the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), the NEA held a webinar on 19 July 2021 to understand how various national and regional taxonomies and sustainable finance metrics, such as ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance – metrics apply to nuclear energy projects.  The event was organised as part of a collaboration launched earlier this year to explore issues related to nuclear financing.

During her introductory remarks, Diane Cameron, Head of the NEA Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics, underlined that post-COVID-19 economic recovery plans create an opportunity to align investments with long-term economic, social and environmental objectives.

“As countries are seeking to build back better following the pandemic with a renewed focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, there is a growing recognition that nuclear is already playing an important role and could play an even larger role,” said Cameron. “But also we have to face the policy challenges, including the financial policy challenges.”

Policy briefs: The role of nuclear energy during COVID‑19 and beyond

Panellists agreed that economic efficiency is best achieved when policies and metrics are technology-neutral and based on desired outcomes. They emphasised that metrics for sustainable financing should be applied consistently with similar levels of scrutiny across technology options.

The joint NEA-IFNEC webinar series on nuclear financing will continue in September 2021 with discussions on contractual structures and incentives for nuclear new build, as well as on development and climate finance and risk management for nuclear energy projects. These events will culminate with a high-level conference  in Warsaw in collaboration with Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment and IFNEC. Detailed information will be available on the NEA and IFNEC websites in the coming months.

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