One of the key pillars of the European Green Deal is a renewed sustainable finance strategy to finance sustainable growth and to channel private investments towards projects that support the transition to a climate-neutral economy. The aim of this policy is to make the private sector take into account sustainability-related non-financial factors when making financing and investment decisions. Within this framework the EU Taxonomy provides a uniform definition and classification system of environmentally sustainable economic activities. In addition, the EU Taxonomy itself provides the basis for further legislation and regulation. Banks as the main financiers of firms in Europe and therefore important players in directing capital flows towards sustainable projects are thus targeted with several requirements based on the Taxonomy. The question then is how banks’ lending to firms is affected by these regulatory changes and whether an impact on the greening of firms’ economic activities can be achieved. The existing literature provides evidence that firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, profiles and performance influence their loan conditions, but it is unclear whether better funding conditions lead to reduced carbon emissions or “greener” activities at the firm level.
Kirschenmann, Karolin (2022), The EU Taxonomy’s (potential) effects on the banking sector and bank lending to firms, The Economists’ Voice